The first workshop in the healthy communication series was full of useful
information and received rave evaluations, but it was just the background
to the next two that contain the truly life-changing skills and techniques.
You did not have to attend the first one to gain the full benefit of
I explain below why we need this information in our families, workplaces,
organizations and town, but first, here are the details: the workshops are
Saturdays the 21st and 28th, 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM in the United Church of
Strafford Parish Hall, and the $10/session fee can be waived at your
request, no questions asked. You can register by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the dates you will
attend. Advance registration will help us prepare enough snacks, lunch and
handouts (all covered by the fee), but you can also register at the door.
For more details including the agenda for each workshop see our website at
I have taken these workshops and been part of communities that used the
skills and techniques. The handouts alone are invaluable. I review them
whenever a difficult issue or conflict arises.
The training can make a huge difference. Imagine the board meeting of a
village organization. It could be a family, and in fact many of the people
are related. The older generation has retired and handed a treasured
tradition to the younger generation to run. The younger generation is
struggling–times have changed, volunteers and interest have waned. They
are suggesting a major departure from “the way it ‘s always been done.”
The old guard is alarmed–they feel a mix of strong emotions including
grief at the threatened loss of what they loved and carried forward from
their elders, but what comes out is anger. The tension in the room
escalates. This is a town that still has not completely healed some bitter
divisions from past conflicts. As the stress level increases a collective
PTSD does, too–an added layer of fear that more wounds are coming, a
certainty that this is not going to go well.
But a few board members have been trained in healthy communication and they
know what to do. They ask the group to pause and take a breath, and they
acknowledge what is happening. They propose a set of guidelines for how to
talk and listen and they suggest a formal structure for the conversation.
The board agrees.
An hour later the meeting ends with the two generations hugging–laughing
and crying with relief. They have not reached a resolution, but they have
discovered that they share the same values and hopes. They have shown
mutual respect and found common ground and come up with a way to move
forward that they believe could succeed.
You will learn how to work this magic in the next two workshops. It can be
applied in any setting where you need to talk about difficult things. For
example, it could help the town discuss the options for the Middle School
if that turns out to be controversial, or it could be used to talk about a
possible Climate Emergency Resolution in Strafford. You can probably think
of a past family or organization or community discussion where improved
communication could have saved much pain.
This is why I am urging you to come to these workshops if you possibly can.
They can change our lives. See our website for more information:
Pastor Tom Kinder
Here are some photos from the first workshop on September 14th.