The 10 Roles Applied

Stories are powerful tools to bring to life the experience of the Third Side. Stories can transform one’s understanding and even at times provide guidance and inspiration to those in conflict. These stories are a few of the many 3S stories that are being shared around the world. The stories here are grouped into general stories, and stories emphasizing each of the nine thirdside roles.

Persuasion: The Third Side Way

In the midst of a firefight in the rice paddies between American soldiers and the Viet Cong early in the Vietnam War, six monks walked toward the line of fire. "They didn't look right, they didn't look left. They walked straight through," remembers David Busch, one of the American soldiers. "It was really strange, because nobody shot at 'em. And after they walked over the berm, suddenly all the fight was out of me. It just didn't feel like I wanted to do this anymore, at least not that day. It must have been that way for everybody, because everybody quit. We just ...

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The Epitome of the Third Side: The Village of Le Chambon

In the heart of Nazi-dominated Europe, when millions of Jews were being torn from their communities and dispatched to the death camps, one community of three thousand farmers took it upon themselves to offer sanctuary to Jewish refugees until they could be spirited to safety. For four years, the villagers of Le Chambon risked their lives defending innocent people against the Nazis and their hirelings. The number of refugees protected was not small. Twenty-five hundred Jews, mostly children, were estimated to have been rescued. Le Chambon's efforts did not escape the ...

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The Third Side United: The Not in Our Town Movement

NOT IN OUR TOWN is a movement inspired by the residents of Billings, Montana who responded to an upsurge in hate violence by standing together for a hate-free community. In 1993, hate activities in Billings reached a crescendo. KKK fliers were distributed, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated, the home of a Native American family was painted with swastikas, and a brick was thrown through the window of a six-year-old boy who displayed a Menorah for Hanukkah. Rather than resigning itself to the growing climate of hate, the community took a stand. The police chief urged ...

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The Third Side: Collaborating to Deal with an Escalating School Problem

Eleven-year-old James had bullied his classmate Mark for a long time, ragging him over his poor English and foreign origins. In chemistry class one day, James spilled a test-tube full of water on Mark's head; Mark retaliated with a test-tube full of water mixed with chemicals. The dispute threatened to escalate. When conflict breaks out, the ten roles work in reverse sequence, beginning with containment and looping back to resolution and prevention. In this case, the teacher, acting first as Witness and then as Peacekeeper, intervened to stop the fight. He emphasized ...

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Prevent, Resolve, Contain: A Story of Three Brothers

Lately, I have come to believe that we in the field have been thinking way too small. We've been thinking that it was enough to resolve disputes, particularly if it is done in whatever is our way of doing that. I am now coming to see mediation as part of a broad spectrum of collaborative processes. It is now easier to appreciate that just mediating and thinking of ourselves as mediators may be limiting of the opportunities and realizations of those with whom we work. And it may also be limiting of our career opportunities. Perhaps with a slight shift in orientation, we can ...

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Gang Warfare: Mothers as Thirdsiders

We are living in the midst of a raging storm of violence. This storm takes many forms: economic injustice, violence against women, street violence, violence in the home. Violence at work and between differing groups. Violence between nations and against the earth. And that mysterious, undeflected rage we sometimes experience within, aimed simultaneously at the world and at ourselves. What are we to do, faced with this hurricane of injustice and violation? We can try to pretend this storm does not exist, huddling in our tiny boats and hoping against hope that gale-f...

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