When We Say Family, We Mean It.

Ian North

We got into an argument last week.

I saw the first notification on my phone on Thursday night, when one of our staff confronted another about something that someone said. Over the next few hours, as I was trying to wind down and get some sleep, the conflict escalated.

My phone lit up with new messages as our staff argued about what went wrong, who was to blame, and how to deal with the problem. Finally, late into the night, they called for a staff meeting as soon as possible.

Initially, the conflict bothered me. We’re a team of neighbors who love each other, and we have good work to do. Why do we have to turn on each other like this?

But I began to recognize the hopeful things about the situation. When we started this work, we all looked out for ourselves and worked according to our own rules. But now, our staff openly discusses conflict rather than storing it or gossiping about it. And they proactively ask for help in resolving the situation. Both of these things are the result of years of community building!

By the time we met to work through the situation, I was filled with gratitude and ready to walk through this crisis together.

Ruthie and I sat in a circle with our team. We looked together at the sequence of events that led to the conflict, writing down the facts. We sorted them into things we could control and things we couldn’t. Each person owned their part in the conflict. Then we each talked about things we could do differently to improve the situation and our relationships.

Our staff were little kids when we started this work. Now, all these years later, we’re navigating conflict together and working as a team to make things better. 

When we call ourselves the “Presencia family,” we mean it. We love each other, do good work together, navigate conflict, and grow together over the years. And as we do this, we share what we learn with the next generation!

Thank you for being part of this transformative and healing work.



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