Monday, 2 July 2012

Mentoring young people (2)

You don’t normally expect to agree with everything a person writes. But when you find yourself holding no views in common with a person it is rather disconcerting.

This week I have had a series of emails from the Grand Parent of a student I am mentoring. He has been in dispute with my “client” for some months now and both parties were keen to seek help from outside the family. The only reason that I agreed to get involved was that the vast majority of the facts were not in dispute. The conflict between them seemed to revolve around why things had happened rather than what things had happened. Give me a “why” rather than a “what” dispute every time!

The Grand Parent was articulate, educated and wealthy – and most unpleasant to work with! Common sense and compassion didn’t seem to have been included in his character: neither did even the smallest fragment of empathy with either his grand daughter or with me as the mediator. His starting (and finishing) point seemed to be that both she and I had to accept everything he had said or done was 100% reasonable. If we dared to venture any opinion that differed from his we were either being “unprofessional” (me) or “disrespectful” (her).

He didn’t give any ground on any issue and it was hard to understand why he had signed up for mediation. Only once before have I ever had to work with a person so totally uncommitted to the process and in the end I had to share this opinion with him.

Sadly, I now think the matter will have to go to Court. I think the facts speak for themselves and that he has diverted substantial sums of money from his daughter’s estate into his own pocket to the substantial detriment of his grand daughter.

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