ET has an article covering the Gaekwads of Baroda settling their long pending conflict. it is instructive to read about the foresight demonstrated by the cousins Samarjitsinh and Pratapsinh to settle a Rs. 20,000 crore battle.
Key learnings were: the family became at peace and looked forward to a brighter, more constructive future for all the family members. And that they first decided that the settlement had to be made at any cost, and then the compromises made, were easy to implement.
I think that this insight is key, for settling conflicts in families. Often, I have seen cases originating from issues which may not seem relevant over time, but are the root of conflict, (like ill treatment, unjust or depriving of rights, actions regarded as unfair, etc.)
While this may be held as precious by the family members who may have been subject to this, the subsequent generations may not see this with the same degree of emotion. This could be used as a stepping stone to resolve a family conflict. I remember working with two families at conflict, where the reason for the conflict was not clear but everyone vaguely remembered that it was something that their great grandfathers had been involved in !
But i think that the point that most families miss, in all this highly charged up emotional states, is the amount of time and energies that they spend in keeping the conflict alive. additionally, they seem to forget that this same energy and effort if channelled into something more productive, would yield results which would enhance the status of the family more than winning any brownie points in any conflict.
Furthermore, this also becomes a part of the family legacy which perpetuates down the generations, and this adds negativity to the family lore. Think about it. Why add a negative thought to the family stories? ( eg. your granduncle deprived your grandfather from all the right wealth and hence we are not speaking to them since then…)
Thus, if we were to summarise the key points to think about….
- Is continuing the conflict worth the effort, time and resources ?
- What is the key issue? are we addressing that or is it something more personal to an individual?
- Is this something which would be relevant for the future generations?