Let’s start with the children, right from early childhood!

Maggio 2021


A little over a year ago, while wandering among the teaching material of that goldmine of precious resources which is the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, I came across "Trouble at the Watering Hole” and the accompanying “Parent/teacher Manual for Trouble at the Watering Hole Children’s Book.” The fact that the most prestigious center for negotiation in the world had thought it worthy to dedicate space on its shelves to a book geared to teaching negotiation skills to children sparked my curiosity. I ordered both immediately and upon reading them, it was clear to me why these books are on those shelves, not just at one of the world’s leading universities, but specifically at its top-notch institution of interest-based negotiation. It was no surprise to discover that behind the genius idea of writing a children’s book which instructs children how to negotiate rather than squabble, through the adventures of Emo, a bear cub, and Chickie, a robin redbreast, as well as its parent/teacher guide, was the penmanship of two famous experts on negotiation, Gregg Relyea e Joshua N. Weiss. The book and parent/teacher guide, which in 2019 were combined to include both the storybook and the parent/teacher guide, go well beyond precociously giving children a general education in interest-based negotiation, a subject which at best some of us become familiar with only in adulthood, and usually it’s just limited to professionals who intend to use the method in conflict resolution cases. Getting parents and teachers engaged by giving them the guide with suggestions to use the story, and supplying lots of exercises to get the children involved, the book also creates a context in which the teacher learns from a mutual learning experience that involves dialogue, play, games and experimentation. In a nutshell, such a jewel of a book, that I immediately felt the need to make it available in Italy as well. That’s why I lost no time in contacting the Authors, suggesting an Italian edition which I offered to translate myself. That’s how “Piccoli negoziatori crescono” came about. It’s time, now more than ever, for all adults to take back ownership of their roles as educators, without which it would be quite difficult for our youth to dream of and hope for a future in which they are better than the generations that preceded them. This is a goal, that should represent their hopes and dreams, as well as the commitment of those of us who have greater life experience. It’s the only way to hope for a better world to live in, while contributing to make it happen. For all of the above reasons I strongly suggest that everyone who cares about the future of children read and use this book - now available in English, Italian, Spanish, Hindi and Braille – as a tool to educate young people about peace, respect, responsibility and a sense of community.