Lawrie's Last Class in LTU

On Friday I went to my SV, Lawrie’s last class in La Trobe. The Mediating Family Conflict paper will no longer be offered next semester. Such a loss. Lawrie had served the university for more than 15 years. He has since moved on to working with the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) but will retain his adjunct position with LTU.

Interestingly, he designed the content of the paper to be slightly different every semester. If he’d come out with new findings or a new video or new ways of mediating conflict in family matters, which he always does with his colleague from outside the university, usually with Dr Jennifer Mcintosh or the AIFS, then he’ll include them in his class. You never get bored, even though he’s soft spoken, because aside from the interesting videos he showed in class, all the students participating in the class shared all their daily experience in dealing with conflict (most are psychology based, of course). It was a breath of fresh air compared to ‘most’ of the law papers I’m used to in my first 2 degrees. You don’t get that disapproving look and judgmental evaluations of every other statements you made during discussion time. I believe I was more at ease in his class.

The phasing out of the course started with the closing of the Conflict Resolution postgraduate programs in the Law Faculty, mostly due to staff movements to greener pasture and with all the budgets cut, the situation have gotten even worst. The postgraduate program, initially managed by Lawrie’s good friend Tom Fisher was a joint program with the public health sciences program. But since Tom’s ‘semi’ retirement along with more and more staff leaving the law faculty, it’s only ‘logical’ for the law faculty and the public health department to phase out the program.

Conflict resolution ‘people’ are not ‘typical law’ kind of people. I guess there’s a lot of ‘creative’ differences arising from such collaboration. Throw in the money problem…it’ll get even more complicated. So people tend to move on…or move along…if you know what I mean L. As Lawrie mentioned on Friday, lawyers tend to throw in all their latin jargons at parties in family conflict, but at the end of the day it meant nothing to them (parties). What matters is how are we supposed to help those families go through their phase of conflict with the least amount of disruptions as possible. Some may not agree with him, because in legal ‘nature’, the question of ‘my rights’ will always be the prevalent point raised and that’s what the lawyers thought they should be fighting for. But in family conflict post separation, that is secondary especially when the parties have children. The main issue should always be the children and helping them adjust to the situation post separation.

All this remind me of my research problem and the solution I am suggesting…seems so far away from being implemented. But this is only the beginning to a better condition in Malaysia, Insya Allah.

P/S: News…I got a call from someone doing a similar topic with mine on Thursday. Feel like jumping over the moon. Will keep on praying for better outcomes for both us then 🙂

E.g. of video demonstration for the last few classes…

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