Mediation and Positive Thinking/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on March 13, 2014


There is an apocryphal story about a minister’s son who was likewise planned to enter the clerical life. The son asked his father what quality he needed to be a successful clergyman. The father answered that one needed a gift of imagination. The son was confused and asked for clarification. The answer: “When you get up and preach, you need to imagine that people are really listening to what you are saying.”

In a recent blog post at, Attorney Roger Ley discusses “Compassionate or Benevolent Divorce”. He cites the role of imagination (i.e. creativity) in the divorce mediation process. Indeed, the divorce process would be quite civil if more people bought into the following guiding principles:

1. People in divorce have more desire to be kind to their spouse than to harm them.

2. Parties benefit their children when they look out for each other’s interest.

3. Attorneys in divorce actions should rely not on their law books but rather on their capability to envision (i.e. imagine) new and creative options.

The mediator’s role in the above is clear-cut. The mediator needs to facilitate a look at what is possible. If s/he can bring people in touch with their “better angels”, the process of divorce will be dominated by more civility and creativity, rather than focusing on rancor and division.