Saturday, November 17, 2012

Certified!

I've just been certified as a Mediator Practitioner by the Dispute Resolution Center of my county after 140 hours of training and practice. I started this program in June of 2011 with a 40-hour basic mediation class. I took a 24-hour family mediation class. I observed eight four-hour mediations, then did a mock mediation for my Professional Standards Evaluation. Then I co-mediated twelve three- or four-hour sessions. I observed five mornings in small claims court, one morning in family court, spent the day in a women's prison, and took five workshops. As a certified mediator, I can now finish up the requirements to join the Washington Mediation Association, which is my personal goal.

Why did I do this and what am I getting from it?

1. I wanted to be useful after I left the workforce, but

  • I found out I don't have the stamina to build all day for Habitat for Humanity. 
  • I found out I don't want to teach English as a second language. 
  • I already knew I don't want to be a volunteer who crochets baby blankets for the hospital or reads stories to kids at the elementary school - I'm not crafty and reading stories to my grandchildren is sufficient.
  • Neither did I want to work with computers as a volunteer when I already did that for 20 years as a professional.

2. I am a good listener, and mediation requires it.

3. I've wanted to be less judgmental and critical and more open minded. In mediation I've learned that everyone has a valid perspective, and that understanding has carried over into my life. What a gift!

4. We travel and have other activities, and I need a volunteer interest that can accommodate that. I get an email a couple of times a week listing upcoming mediations, and I can choose which ones I want to volunteer for. I don't have to skip my morning exercise or meetings of my writers group or classes I sign up for, and I don't have to drive at night unless I feel like it.

5. I am greatly appreciated for the mediations I sign up for, and greatly valued for the outcomes achieved at those mediations.

6. When clients walk into the room they don't know what is going to happen, and neither do I. When they walk out, usually they've made agreements they can live with - whether it's for a marriage dissolution, a parenting plan, a workplace dispute, neighbor disagreement or something else. They almost always give credit to the mediators. But always, always, the accomplishments belong to the clients. All we've done is facilitate their work.

7. I am learning to be flexible. Most mediations at the Dispute Resolution Center are done by a team of two mediators. Sometimes when I walk in I have never met the person I'm going to be working with for the next few hours. It's a give-and-take process throughout the mediation. By the end, we mediators appreciate each other and have learned something new.

8. I use my mediation skills outside of the Dispute Resolution Center. I've been helpful to family members and friends - usually in unplanned situations that just come up in the course of a conversation. It amazes me how much can happen when a person is listened to.

9. I'm grateful for the aptitude for mediation, for the woman who first told me about this field five years ago when I was still working, for the excellent training provided to me. And, especially, for the continuing support of the mediation community - they are good people.

10. Someday, sometime, someone may pay me to do this work, but I would do it for free. And I do. I'm grateful that I can.


26 comments:

Terra said...

You have found volunteer work that is ideal for you, and that helps people. How nice it is flexible so you sign up for when and which sessions you want.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Linda, I think this is wonderful work whether or not you ever get paid for it. You have successfully created a new pursuit that enriches your life and doesn't interfere with all your other passions. Not everyone is smart enough to do that!

Ms Sparrow said...

I admire your commitment and all the training you went through to achieve this position. It sounds like you find it quite rewarding. That sounds like a big win!

Bebedores do Gondufo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJan said...

Having benefited from your skills myself, I am in awe of the good work you do, and I know that your clients will be better for having you as a mediator. Congratulations on your accomplishments!

Deere Driver said...

Congrats! Its been a lot of work.
Rose

MerCyn said...

What a wonderful goal to achieve and you are doing great work. Congratulations!

turquoisemoon said...

Wow...that's been a lot of work. Congratulations!!! Good for you..

Judy and Emma said...

Congratulations! You are an asset to your community and our country. Pat yourself on the back! :)

Retired English Teacher said...

Linda, I am so happy for you. First of all, let me just offer you congratulations for completing this training and all that goes with it. Then, I just like to say that you never cease to amaze me with your drive, you commitment, your wisdom, and your insight. I think you have found what you were meant to do in this life.

Linda Reeder said...

That is an impressive list of rewards for the mediation training and work you do. No wonder it is so satisfying! What a learning opportunity you have given yourself.

Galen Pearl said...

How wonderful! As a lawyer, I am a great believer in mediation. Helping people reach a mutually agreeable solution is so much better than the win/lose model in court.

Lynilu said...

It is good to find something you can feel that way about. That is how I feel about Healing Touch, and while the next year or year and a half will be very busy and challenging, I love the work. Like you, I hope to actually make some money eventually, but I just want to help people have a better quality of life.

Olga said...

I am in awe of your goal directed life style. Congratulations on your certification--no small feat. I have been involved in a few mediation sessions over the years. It is very hard work and the ability to steer parties towards mutually satisfying agreements is a gift. I am glad for you that you recognizd this gift and went about nurturing it.

June said...

Barb at Live and Learn has some good thoughts on balance. I had read this post earlier and came back to say that you must have an excellent ability to cast aside your personal reactions to the participants, to step outside yourself, in order to hear what the people are saying.
I don't know that I could do that, no matter how much training.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, congratulations on your certification. It's quite an accomplishment to have done all that work. But what is truly impressive is that your volunteering has also truly affected your own life and the way you relate and respond to others.

Your list clearly shows us just what this has meant to you and to those whom you meet in your work. How blessed they are to have you sit down with them and how blessed your are to listen to the inner struggles and worry and concerns of others. These sessions are holy. Peace.

Perpetua said...

Many congratulations.Linda. It is a great achievement to have acquired such a worthwhile qualification in retirement and one which you can combine with your love for travel and your other interests and responsibilities.

Tom Sightings said...

Good for you! My ex and I mediated our divorce, and it was a very positive experience. As a result, we are still friends and still keep up with each other, for the benefit of our kids and for our own benefit as well.

Now . . . maybe you should volunteer to go to Washington, DC!

Friko said...

How very brave and kind of you to do this work. I am sure it is not as easy as you make it sound here and that there are situations which are hard to cope with.

My respect and admiration go to you.

Grandmother said...

You have my congratulations and my admiration. To do as much as you have done to accomplish this worthwhile goal is quite a feat. Good for you and good for your clients. How wonderful that it enriches your "other" life as well!

Madeline Hill,Astrologer,Tarot Counselor,Intuitive said...

What a wonderful skill and service--I like how you mention that mediation helped you in your own life too..very interesting post!

#1Nana said...

Congratulations! I got to see you in action in Vashon. They are lucky to have you in the mediator community.

Malcolm and Suzanne said...

Linda,

How significant were the costs associated with your certification? I have often thought that my husband would be great at mediation and would like to encourage him, but he will not want to spend a lot of money to prepare himself for a volunteer position. Any advice?

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

I hope your new works proves most rewarding for all concerned.

MyMaracas said...

Wow. And congratulations! What a wonderful way to share your amazing gifts.

Deb Shucka said...

I am so proud of you and excited for you! I look forward to reading about your mediation adventures in the future. Congratulations on a huge accomplishment!