A Passion for Community Service

The family law attorneys at Ward Potter LLC, share a passion for community service. Each attorney spends time outside of the office serving individuals and organizations in and around the Wichita community. Previous community service projects include leading a mentorship project with Hamilton Middle School. In 2012, Ward Potter (previously Ward Law Offices, LLC), was honored with the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education Good Apple Award for excellence in service to students. In addition to their collective community service work, each attorney at Ward Potter serves in various ways individually in Wichita and across Kansas.
Below is a sampling of some of the organizations our attorneys and staff work with to improve our community and help the people in our community in need of not only legal services but help in other areas of life.

Junior League of Wichita

Lynn Ward is not only the Managing Partner of Ward Potter LLC. She is a Past President of the Junior League of Wichita. Lynn and the staff of Ward Potter were pleased to support the Junior League of Wichita in their fight against child abuse by supporting the Junior League of Wichita’s 16th Annual Holiday Galleria, a shopping experience for the whole family October 3-6, 2019 at Century II in downtown Wichita.

The 3rd Annual Show Pride in Your Ride Car Show was an unforgettable evening! With the support of our guests and donors we raised over $2400 for OK Elementary School and Black Traditional Elementary! Special thanks to the following businesses who donated wonderful items for the raffle or provided support of our event: Hereford House, Plastic Surgery Center, Hall’s Culligan, South Central Kansas Mustang Club, Joe’s Car Wash, USD 259, Big Tool Store, and Janet Evans.

On Friday, March 29th Ward Potter LLC and the Wichita Thunder joined forces to support the Guadalupe Clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.

The 2018 Show Pride in Your Ride event was held on Friday, September 7. All proceeds from the 2018 event benefited Pando. The Pando Initiative has been successfully connecting with more than 200,000 students in area schools since 1990. Their core model focuses on individual students who are struggling with school and life. They position a dedicated staff member inside partner schools in Wichita, Derby and Haysville public schools.

On September 15, 2017 Ward Law Offices hosted the first annual Show Pride In Your Ride car show. Show Pride In Your Ride was an informal, non-judged car show for friends, neighbors and colleagues of Ward Law Offices, LLC. During the event, Ward Law partnered with officials from United Methodist Open Door who held a raffle. Car Show attendees were able to purchase tickets for a chance to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. All proceeds from the evening’s raffle benefited Open Door. The focus of Open Door is to meet the basic needs of people in poverty. Their Homeless Resource Center, at 402 E. 2nd Street, is a daytime assistance center for the homeless, where individuals receive case management, a daily meal, access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and mail service.

Passion Projects – Two Lives at a Time & The Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team

Lynn Ward, Board of Directors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Stephen Blaylock, fellow of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers present a check to Laura Roddy, President of Junior League of Wichita; and Jessica Williams, Junior League of Wichita grant writing  chair. Ward was presenting to Roddy a check for $5000 from the AAML Foundation for the JLW Two Lives at a Time project. The Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Children’s Home will help teen moms develop crucial life skills, including how to build healthy relationships and effective parenting practices.

The Five Tenets: Tenet One

 

Last time we addressed five tenets and how they can improve communication. The idea is using the tenets to shape how you communicate with someone and help focus the issue, and possibly avoid confrontation. To recap, the tenets are:

  • Speaking/listening with kindness
  • Holding your boundaries
  • Being positive
  • Being honest
  • Showing grace

I am not sure the tenets can be prioritized because every situation and every person is different. But if we are looking for a first among equals, speaking and listening with kindness would win. So, I want to address those issues first as I think they will be useful in implementing the other tenets.

To be clear: I am not advocating practicing the tenets at all costs. Most of us have dealt with a person that, for whatever reason, refuses to be civil and reasonable. When dealing with that person, the best advice is to disengage, at least for a time. Odds are you are not arguing about whatever started the conversation, and old wounds that still have not healed are opened again. Sometimes, when faced with that situation, the toxicity of the conversation bleeds over to the person trying to be civil and reasonable, and then everyone is yelling. Do not fall into that trap. As kindly as you can end the conversation, with an agreement to communicate again when everyone has a chance to calm down.

How do we avoid those situations from becoming a situation? I think the first thing is to be kind, and let our actions and words demonstrate kindness. We are living in stressful times, but just because there is a global pandemic changing life as we know it on a daily basis it does not mean there will be no arguments as to who has parenting time this year for Memorial Day. If anything, the stress increases the chance of an argument, so it is imperative that you start out with kindness.

Speaking with kindness, at first glance, should be the easier of the two but I argue it isn’t. First, we have to get past the hurdle that the person you are communicating with is actually listening to you in the first place. Secondly, we have to be sure the person believes or at least is willing to consider, what you are saying. Lastly, we have to remember the first part of communication is usually the easiest. We have considered what to say, maybe even practiced what to say, but when we start talking and they start responding, most of our speech falls by the wayside. And that is when habits start to creep in.

Habits are the worst. They are a subliminal cue our brains have that causes us to behave in ways we may not even be aware of until it is too late. Damnit.

But habits can be broken. When we are trying to speak with kindness, we develop new habits. Some suggestions:

  • Breathe (and continuing breathing).
  • Smile (not creepily or like you just won, but pleasantly like you are posing with your mother for a picture).
  • Get rid of absolutes (always, never, etc.).
  • Try not to judge (even when they are clearly wrong).
  • Try not to rephrase what was said and repeat it back (so, what you really mean is…).

These ideas will take time to master, and they will be uncomfortable while you are working on them. My guess is you may not feel like giving the other person any kindness. But even if that is warranted, what is your goal? If the goal is to “win”, say what you want, don’t solve the problem, and maybe you will get to repeat what you said to a judge. But if the goal is to solve the problem, and communication is the issue, maybe it is time to try something different.

Listening with kindness should be easier, but it can be just as difficult. First, we have to break the habit of not “really” listening, and instead just waiting for our turn to talk. I know, what I have to say is super important, and what they are saying is just the same thing as last time, and if I don’t say this now, I might forget…. I get it. It’s hard. But the truth is unless you listen and hear what the other person is saying you cannot communicate effectively. Odds are they are doing the same thing back to you. So, there are two people talking, and no one listening. Think this problem is getting solved?

What is listening with kindness? There are different definitions: active listening, mindful listening, etc. I think it breaks down into two pieces: engaging with the person speaking, and then making sure you understand what they said before you respond. The first part can be difficult, but it really means you make eye contact, you keep breathing, you keep that smile on your face, and you try to convey you are invested in what they are saying. I know, tough right?

The second part is not difficult if you start off with: I understood you to say X. Is that right? Because either you understood what X was and now can respond. Or you did not understand X and it gives them a chance to restate or rephrase. What might be even more helpful is to ask for help. Can you explain this to me because I know it is important to you and I want to be sure I understand before I give you my response? Because in the end, most of the time, we all just want to be heard.

This tenet takes practice, and you should expect to fail. Habits do not break overnight, especially when faced with a stressful situation. But know working on this tenet will make communication better next time, and the next and the next until it becomes a habit. But the good kind, not the one that makes you want to bang your head against the wall. Thanks again for reading.


Tony A. Potter is a Member of Ward Potter LLC, where he uses his experiences in general civil, trial, and appellate practice to represent clients. Tony received his Juris Doctorate from Washburn School of Law in 1994 and has been continually licensed to practice law in Kansas since 1995. Tony is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the Wichita Bar Association, the Northwest Kansas Bar Association, and Chair of the Wichita Bar Association Family Law Committee. His commitment to his clients was also recognized in 2018 when he was acknowledged as a “AV” attorney, peer rated for high professional achievement by Martindale-Hubbell, and he enjoys a 10.0 rating from the Avvo attorney website. Contact Tony

Ward Potter LLC is a family law firm located in Wichita, Kansas. Ward Potter handles divorce, child custody, parenting time, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, visitation by grandparents, and paternity cases. The firm also provides litigation alternatives such as collaborative family law, mediation and arbitration. The mission of Ward Potter LLC is to guide clients through changes in their families with empathy, excellence and expertise. We strive to calm chaos and focus on the resolution, not the battle.

345 N. Riverview Ste 120 | Wichita, KS 67203
©2020 Ward Potter LLC
Design & Development by Sperra Studios

A Passion for Community Service

The family law attorneys at Ward Potter LLC, share a passion for community service. Each attorney spends time outside of the office serving individuals and organizations in and around the Wichita community. Previous community service projects include leading a mentorship project with Hamilton Middle School. In 2012, Ward Potter (previously Ward Law Offices, LLC), was honored with the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education Good Apple Award for excellence in service to students. In addition to their collective community service work, each attorney at Ward Potter serves in various ways individually in Wichita and across Kansas.
Below is a sampling of some of the organizations our attorneys and staff work with to improve our community and help the people in our community in need of not only legal services but help in other areas of life.

Junior League of Wichita

Lynn Ward is not only the Managing Partner of Ward Potter LLC. She is a Past President of the Junior League of Wichita. Lynn and the staff of Ward Potter were pleased to support the Junior League of Wichita in their fight against child abuse by supporting the Junior League of Wichita’s 16th Annual Holiday Galleria, a shopping experience for the whole family October 3-6, 2019 at Century II in downtown Wichita.

The 3rd Annual Show Pride in Your Ride Car Show was an unforgettable evening! With the support of our guests and donors we raised over $2400 for OK Elementary School and Black Traditional Elementary! Special thanks to the following businesses who donated wonderful items for the raffle or provided support of our event: Hereford House, Plastic Surgery Center, Hall’s Culligan, South Central Kansas Mustang Club, Joe’s Car Wash, USD 259, Big Tool Store, and Janet Evans.

On Friday, March 29th Ward Potter LLC and the Wichita Thunder joined forces to support the Guadalupe Clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.

The 2018 Show Pride in Your Ride event was held on Friday, September 7. All proceeds from the 2018 event benefited Pando. The Pando Initiative has been successfully connecting with more than 200,000 students in area schools since 1990. Their core model focuses on individual students who are struggling with school and life. They position a dedicated staff member inside partner schools in Wichita, Derby and Haysville public schools.

On September 15, 2017 Ward Law Offices hosted the first annual Show Pride In Your Ride car show. Show Pride In Your Ride was an informal, non-judged car show for friends, neighbors and colleagues of Ward Law Offices, LLC. During the event, Ward Law partnered with officials from United Methodist Open Door who held a raffle. Car Show attendees were able to purchase tickets for a chance to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. All proceeds from the evening’s raffle benefited Open Door. The focus of Open Door is to meet the basic needs of people in poverty. Their Homeless Resource Center, at 402 E. 2nd Street, is a daytime assistance center for the homeless, where individuals receive case management, a daily meal, access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and mail service.

Passion Projects – Two Lives at a Time & The Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team

Lynn Ward, Board of Directors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Stephen Blaylock, fellow of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers present a check to Laura Roddy, President of Junior League of Wichita; and Jessica Williams, Junior League of Wichita grant writing  chair. Ward was presenting to Roddy a check for $5000 from the AAML Foundation for the JLW Two Lives at a Time project. The Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Children’s Home will help teen moms develop crucial life skills, including how to build healthy relationships and effective parenting practices.

twitter-squarefacebook-squarelinkedin-squareyoutube-playinstagram linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram