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Being Chameleons

from LeDayne McLeese Polaski

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April 26, 2016

Being Chameleons

On Saturday, April 23, BPFNA Executive Director LeDayne McLeese Polaski and former Board Member Chakravarthy Zadda led a Conflict Transformation training for the Asian Church leaders of ABC Metro Chicago. The training was sponsored by BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz and hosted at North Shore Baptist Church.

The following is a reflection from LeDayne about the training. Click here for more photos.


One of the excitements and joys and terrors (!) of leading trainings is that you NEVER really know what's going to happen.

I walked in with a version of the standard "lesson plan" I have used for the past several years to teach about transforming conflict. I tweak it and update it, but I use the same basic tools and concepts over and over.

There were about 20 of us. Of that, 18 were born outside the United States and are either here as students or as immigrants. The discussion of conflict types (the first big tool we get to) fell apart (or broke open!) almost immediately.

We use a tool that uses animals to talk about different styles -- the avoiding turtle, the compromising fox, the assertive rhino, etc. As I tried to get the group to identify their own style and get into small groups, they began instead to talk of their shared experience of not being able to operate in their own, personal, preferred style because these styles are not what the dominant culture expects or accepts.

One participant said, "We never get to be foxes or rhinos, we all have to be chameleons." It was clear his perception was deeply shared.

We never made it into our small groups, but we had one of the deepest, richest conversations I've ever been part of. Maybe even a transforming one! Wow.

THANKS to everyone who was a part of the day! It was amazing!



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