Bugs and Wishes

You know, sometimes education just gets in the way of figurin’ things out and in working out problems.

In many circles, “working things out” gets called something else – like mediation, negotiation, arbitration or conflict resolution. These terms are often used in law, social work, education, real estate, human resources, counseling, religion or other fields.

I’ve taken courses in negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution. I’m even “certified” in International Commercial Arbitration.

But there are some elementary students who make the process a whole lot easier. They use a method called “a bug and a wish.” It’s a simple procedure but it takes a bit of explaining.

Do you remember being in elementary school and telling the teacher that somebody hit you, or that someone pulled your pigtails, or that a classmate laughed at you, or that someone looked at your paper?

Now, there’s a new way to handle these squabbles, as well as others. It’s a practice being used in places by the youngest of students.

If a classmate pulls a child’s hair, the child has the opportunity to announce “a bug and a wish.” The child may say, “It really bugs me when somebody pulls my hair. I wish this would stop because it makes my head hurt and it embarrasses me.”

Or how about this scenario: “It bugs me when we play ‘Red Rover’ at recess because I never get picked until last. I wish that someone would pick me before the end so that I will be happy and feel better about playing.”

The students are introduced to the bug-and-wish practice at the beginning of the school year. All realize that there is an invisible safety net around them as they mention their bugs and wishes. Children are allowed to express themselves, to reveal what hurts them or angers them and to ask for help in stopping the hurtful behaviors.

The reports are that bugs and wishes are working wonders in the classrooms.

I tend to believe this practice might work in families, in the workplace, in churches and in all kinds of situations involving conflicts.

No, I doubt bugs and wishes will end wars but they certainly might help in daily personal relationship battles and in workplace conflicts.

It’s certainly worth a try, don’t you think?

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Syd said...

Great stuff to think about. I'm going to do a bug and wish thing on my blog.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I've never heard of this technique, and I LOVE it! I might even introduce it at home. I wonder if it works with 11, 17, and 47 year olds?

The Retired One said...

I love this concept!

Iris Silk said...

Excellent post and a great idea! Really can teach childred how to properly voice their feelings. I love it,

Tarheel Rambler said...

This is a great way to teach kids to use "I" statements too. It helps them learn to communicate effectively how their interactions with others makes them feel in a way that doesn't put the other person on the defensive.

OLLIE MCKAY'S ~ A Chic Boutique said...

Wonderful idea! Anything that helps is a good idea! When your young, a seemingly innocent remark can be very hurtful and stick with you for a long time! Good post!

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