Some time ago, two young boys sat in my office each with their concerned parent. The conflict between the boys involved some stolen property which one boy stole from the other boy. While the property had been returned and an apology was offered and received, there was still some tension between the boys. The source of the tension was a lack of a clear view of their future relationship. Could they trust each other? When they saw each other at school or around town, they tried to ignore each other. This, of course, led to more confusion and tension between them. I asked the boys if they wanted to make some promises about how their relationship could be better in the future. One boy, who owned the property that was stolen, readily said that he still wanted to be friends with the other boy. He also said that he missed him and that he had forgiven him. The other boy, who stole the property, said that he missed being with the other boy and wanted him to come over to his house to play. They agreed to call each other with invitations to play. They also agreed to go to camp together. The mediation ended on a good note because of their willingness to make some promises to each other. What can we learn from the boys? Redeeming a relationship requires trust building. Trust building requires making and keeping promises. If there is no trust between individuals either they are not making any promises or they are making promises and not keeping them.
“When agreements are made and kept, trust grows.” – Dr. Ron Claassen