It’s been pretty dreary here in Chicago, this winter. Which, in our family, means movie season!

So, I dragged the kids to see “Into the Woods,” and it didn’t disappoint (but, that’s besides the point!). In the movie, the adult characters repeat the same mantra to “Little Red Riding Hood,” which is “nice doesn’t always mean good.”

I’m sure the screenwriters didn’t expect the mediator in the audience (me) to ponder what he meant for the next hour and a half. But, that’s exactly what happened.untitled (20)

See, I think, as people–and as conflict resolution experts–we often mistake the two. I know I’m  guilty of it. If I encounter someone who’s nice, I immediately assume he has good intentions. However, I think we can all agree that some of the most notorious criminals who ever lived were “nice!”

In the mediation room, it can be hard to separate the two. Since we have limited time with the parties, we may believe that the “nicest” party is the one who is “good.” But, sometimes, that’s just not true. Perhaps the more reserved, serious, less-friendly party is more willing to bend.

And, during a conflict, isn’t it tempting to believe someone who’s “nice” about it? Perhaps, we should look deeper to ensure that person is indeed “good.”

For kids, this is especially important–just think about the “nice” stranger who is really a predator. I’m gonna talk to my kids ASAP about it!

In the end, we are all “Little Red Riding Hood” trying to figure out the wolf’s intentions. But, now, I’ll be a little more careful about being charmed by him in the first place!


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