Conflict Resolution · 13 October 2013

When it comes to conflict resolution, we ought to take to heart the story of Ritz and Ditz.

Ritz and Ditz were typical brothers. They played hard and they fought hard. They mostly enjoyed each other’s company and played nicely together, but there were times when they could not get along.

One day, Ritz and Ditz went out to play their favorite game, football. The boys grabbed their brand new ball and off to the field they went. All their friends were there waiting to play. They “oohed” and “aahed” as they admired the shiny new ball. Then, they chose sides (naturally, Ritz and Ditz were the captains) and the game began.

The game was going well. There were scores on both sides and everybody was having a great time. The competition was fierce, and it was great fun. Then, came the conflict.

Ditz’s team had just scored, but Ritz said the score was nullified because of an offside penalty. A calm verbal sparring ensued.

“We were not offsides.”
“Yes, you were.”
“Were not.”
“Were too.”
“Were not.”

Despite the pleading of the other kids to just get on with the game, Ritz and Ditz decided to fight over this one play. The others reminded the brothers that sand lot games meant you called your own fouls. That they were ruled by honor. But the pleas fell on deaf ears. The brothers continued their fruitless debate.

Eventually, the brothers tired of words and decided that they would progress to the logical next step in conflict resolution. They both sat down in the middle of the field and started sucking their thumbs.

This behavior would normally not have been tolerated by the others. In fact, their friends had always been able to persuade the two brothers to get back to the game when conflicts arose. But that was before they got their shiny new ball. It was the first time it was being used and each of the brothers wanted to win the inaugural game.

Despite the pleas and shouts from the other kids, Ritz and Ditz continued to sit and suck their thumbs and hold the ball.

Eventually, the others got tired of waiting around. Somebody went home to get a different ball and the game resumed. Even though the brothers were in the middle of the field still sucking their thumbs.

As in the story of Ritz and Ditz, we can argue and not solve anything. We can sit down and suck our thumbs and not accomplish anything. Or we can realize that eventually, the game must go on. Eventually, the others will figure out that they can just get another ball. And other players.

I know it is just a fable, but when it comes to conflict resolution, we all ought to take to heart the story of Ritz and Ditz.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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