Friday, August 23, 2013

Some things are Better Left Unsaid

     I lost an Uncle this week unexpectedly.  My father's youngest brother was a figure larger than life.  He was our family Accountant, bon vivant, treasured confidante and friend.  Through the years, he held the position of the "go to" consultant for most important decisions relating to business, finance, vacations and celebrations.  He was the guy who referred the family to virtually all professionals needed throughout my life:  bankers, lawyers (for adoptions, estate planning or litigation), investment counselors, even wine merchants, caterers and home decorators.  His loss will be felt deeply by all who knew and admired him. 
      He had an opinion on everything and was willing to offer it.  But here is what I learned last night from my older sister:  he was also willing to offer up that not all disagreements were meant to be fully vetted, discourse engaged in, transparency revealed and happy conclusions derived through consensus.  Indeed, it was his belief that some things were better left un-resolved, for the sake of peace in the family, or mutual respect or deference.  Essentially, he was willing to proffer that we might not accept his opinion or view of things, and that he would never accept ours, and that it was okay to disagree.
     I never had this conversation with my Uncle before his passing:  yet another position that remained unsaid.  Yet, I can see great wisdom and applicability in mediation.  Indeed, not every dispute ends in agreement.  Most disputes end in a rough resolution of the case that does not concede that the adversary was right or that one side or the other has been convinced they were wrong.  Most disputes end in a tacit agreement that the parties prefer to resolve the dispute quietly and confidentially rather than air the dirty laundry in court and expect that a Judge or jury will decide who is right and who is wrong and what damage has been caused.
     My Uncle was right, of course.  Some things are better left unstated.