21st Century Leaders

Conflict Resolution Performances

Designed for grades K-5, 6-8, & 9-12
21st Century Leaders is a program that is inspired by the writings of William Glasser. He posits that there are four basic human needs: BELONGING, CHOICE, FUN & RESPECT. The approach of studying the four needs is used widely in peer mediation programs.

List of Performance Pieces

During a typical assembly there is enough time to present 6 to 8 stories. By substituting age-appropriate stories, this program is highly adaptable to fit different age groupings and different program time requirements.

  • The Earth Story: The story of the Earth and the human being. We are one family. Also conflict is natural in a world that is always changing.

  • Strength: An African tale about the cost of violent response to conflict.

  • Win/Win: The positive response to conflict: understanding and fulfilling The 4 Human Needs: 
    BELONGING - Feeling welcome in the group
    CHOICE – Benefiting from other points of view
    FUN - Enjoying play, discovery, and innovation
    RESPECT – Empowering yourself and the community

  • The Bully's Secret: The secret that eludes all bullies:  BELONGING

  • Prisoner: A convict and a pro ballplayer reveal the "tools" of BELONGING.

  • The Stolen Horse An Islamic tale of when BELONGING was taken away.  

  • Tiger and Holy Man: A "stupid" monkey saves a Holy Man. CHOICE

  • 300,000 Years of Human Inventions in 4 minutes: Play, discovery and invention come out of FUN.

  • Most Powerful Being: An Asian tale about RESPECT for yourself and your gifts

  • Rosa: The story of Rosa Parks and how she won RESPECT by being herself.

Win/Win Conflict Resolution:

  1. Each person states the problem from their point of view using "I statements". No blaming, no name-calling, no interrupting. Yes: EXCELLENT LISTENING.
  2. Each person states the problem from the other person's point of view.
  3. Brainstorm for possible solutions.
  4. Pick the best solution for everyone.
  5. Each person states his or her responsibility in the new solution.
  6. Each person affirms the other person.

Piece Descriptions 

This is a comedic, high energy, mime and storytelling piece about the universe and our planet. It is also a story of every human being — each one of us is unique and offers a point of view. It is a story of how we are all connected to one another and to the earth. It also presents us with one of our biggest challenges: how to figure out the best way to handle conflict, which is ever present in a world that continues to evolve and change.

The animals decide to have a strength contest and Man is one of the contestants. This story builds a compelling case against weapons, as the animals, all but man, realize the difference between strength and death.
We all want to feel important and to be thought of as a winner, however, all around us we face win/lose situations, sports and other games are primary examples. Arguments often have winners and losers too. Many disagreements and conflicts start off as joking around and teasing. Inevitably someone’s feelings are hurt, and sometimes to save face or not to be considered a loser, retaliation results.
The Peer Mediation literature addresses the four human needs: Belonging, Choice, Fun, and Respect. When conflict erupts a positive reaction is to understand which of these four needs is depleted in each of the participants. Brainstorming for Win/Win solutions to the conflict centers on seeing that each person's needs are fulfilled. The following stories give us more understanding about each of these four human needs:

The Bully's Secret BELONGING
When we think of bullies we tend to think about one or two individuals who are "trouble makers". From time to time we are all bullies. The bully's secret reveals what we all desire most – to fit in. The bully fears that he/she has neither friends nor respect, so he/she resorts to name calling, or pushing to gain respect. Of course it is counter-productive, but it is an attempt to belong.

A prisoner and a professional ball player discover that they each have become the name that their fathers called them: a "bum" and a "champion". 
On the TV news program 20/20 (aired 2/09/00) they interviewed a high school student who was planning a similar attack to the one that occurred at Columbine High School. The student talked about the rage within, being picked on, left out, teased, and bullied. The event was prevented because another person reached out and made a connection...unknowingly at the right time. 
Often it is easier to turn an event or situation around for another person than it is for them to do it themselves.

300,000 Years of Human Inventions in 4 Minutes FUN
A montage of inventions to celebrate human creativity and imagination: fun and play lead to discovery, which leads to invention. This piece moves so quickly that no individual can recall all the inventions. We play a game with the audience that shows only by collaborating with others can we see the "whole picture." Each of us brings a piece of the picture by sharing our own unique interpretation. Our creativity is most evident in the midst of fun.
When we are angry or troubled our minds tend to shut down and we tend to see things as either/or, win/lose, right/wrong. Contrary to this, when we are having fun our minds are open and engaged; ideas and thoughts are easier to generate and we tend to be more creative and inclusive of others.

The Stolen Horse  BELONGING                                                                 A story set in a village in Morocco. One neighbor steals the other's beautiful black stallion but then realizes that he has really stolen Trust & Belonging from his village.  The stallion is returned and the owner realizes he has just been thinking of himself and not building Belonging in his community.  He offers to lend the horse when the neighbor would like to ride and the two men become brothers.

The Tiger and the Holy Man CHOICE                                                       A tiger tricks a holy man and proposes to eat him. The holy man is saved by another animal and discovers that even he, a lofty and learned holy man can learn from a "stupid" monkey.   Like the previous piece (300,000 Years of Human Invention) none of us have all the answers. When there are other points of view, no matter how strange, alien, or “stupid” they often broaden our perspective and offer us additional choice.

The Most Powerful Being RESPECT
A stonecutter wishes to be a rich man, then in turn: an emperor, the sun, the wind, and the mountain, finding each one more powerful than the one before. In the end he sees that the stonecutter is more powerful than the mountain, so he is at last satisfied to be The Most Powerful Being in the World in his chosen role.
It is easy to think others are better off than we are, whether better-looking, stronger, smarter, more popular, having more influence. Sometimes as a result we might not think of ourselves as very powerful. In this story, the stonecutter ultimately decides that he is most powerful when he is being himself. Part of our wisdom lies in knowing what we have to offer and what our gifts are. Notice this theme is developed further in many of the other stories.

This is a story about Rosa Parks and the incident when she refused to move from her bus seat in the "whites only section" to the back of the bus (the area designated for blacks). This particular incident is often attributed to launching the Civil Rights Movement. There are two specific points we wanted to make with this story: first, the individual can make a significant difference and second, that there is immeasurable power in acting congruently with your beliefs.