Learning never stops and we are all beginners right?
The job not done and often the “aha moments” come from the least expected places. I talked to a past local Maine town council chairman who said back in the 1980’s he was gung ho to cure the ills in local government. To tighten it up and straighten it out.
He said he was so sure of the obvious that he would say “that is stupid that we do blah blah blah”.
Confident that another way would be so much better. Why the delay. Come on people. Folks don’t you, others see this or that? Until he got knee deep into the process, the eye opening meat of the matter.
Taking the time to visit a small Maine town department head. Asking a veteran councilor of present or past service for the background details. And learns “we tried it the way you suggest and this is what happened. Why we went back to the old way for now.”
The why it would work or not then, maybe now either. Is a mystery to the brand new looking in from the outside perspective. What seems so obvious. Is a little more complicated than the surface skim take away provides.
This same local resident admits now freely, the only thing “stupid” was his early shoot from the hip remarks.
But he did not know the history of where we were, how we got here. Was not well versed in the more complicated issues surrounding the decision making. Why what at first glance he thought would work better did not in the final group decisions needed that would shape life in the small Maine town of tomorrow.
The eventual council chairman needed to do his homework. To keep an open mind, stay positive and objective. To log some hours asking the hard danced around questions. Truly listening with both ears. Parked pie hole. Not talking to envision the best course of action as a group. Decision and policy making that is hammered out, fashioned by a collection of public servants. During lots of long meetings with heated dialogue. Seasoned hot and juicy in the served up spirited discussion.
But guided always with respect, leadership, easy does it on the rhetoric. No spin. And the loud and clear sincere desire to work together to succeed not fail. For the best possible solution set selection.
No back biting, stabbing from behind or taking anything too personal in late night differences in opinions.
No hair crossed and up in arms for the I’ll show them a thing or two. That has zip to do with the proceedings. Causing the Johnny get your gun.
The need for retaliation that steals time away from seeking the shared destination every property taxpayer is watching. No thank you said to any personal attacks that just makes everyone in the room cringe, wilt, fade.
To feel like they are slumped over in the saddle. Circling aimlessly round and round on a horse in the desert with no name. The all track of time lost and lacking any real concrete resolution. Making the room thirst with sun parched, blistered lips. For just a simple cup, swig of refreshing peace. In the white flag, regrouping, retreating to begin again and again.
The sit up, drink, rinse, swish, spit (repeat) to remove the bitterness the taste of personal attacks leaves. The lash the other to a stake, their feet surrounded by tinder dry kindling and smile. Saying “there, anyone have a wooden match?” debate that ensues. Getting your way by warning don’t cross me. Yikes.
Distracted from what is actually for the greater good happens when pettiness is allowed. That robs the peace, sets the destructive tone. De-railing the calm that is the required petri dish atmosphere for cultivating positive reasoned results. Brainstorming, batting around what if we try this, would that work toward the end goal?
The progress that needs to happen because we are wasting daylight. Burning way way too much midnight oil inching forward. Making it harder than it needs to be and highly unproductive. Attacking people, not problems is never pretty. Why do people do it?
Maybe adults have too much on their minds that makes us miss the obvious.
Or don’t want to keep an open one. Or are chasing the wrong butterflies, focused on the ends of the ill picked rainbow agendas. To rewrite their history that went sideways. Long gone water over the dam, under the bridges burned one by one to light the path ahead.
When we make it more complicated than we need to because of all the rabbit trails we can side track, get lost on during the discussion. You have to start and end with why that happens in the soul searching. What makes you tick? What is the combination and inside that little black box flight recorder blinking signal. Parked next to that soul.
A child does not have all that fanfare in their decision making.
Not a lot of history when you are only flying at three or four feet off the ground. Their filtering involves just eight crayons. Tucked inside a small flapped box of simple choices. To reach for a blend as their paint by number experience grows. They don’t like confrontation, dissension and don’t understand conflict argument resolution.
Kids don’t have all the history of past experiences to color their perceptions good or bad. They operate more with trust, faith, their gut of what feels good or bad. They also want to see the good, only the pure in others. Because they operate on that receptor premise. They keep it simple because they are. Until life black and blue sucker punches happen. Bruised purple spots one by one are added to their tender hearts. Hurt people hurt people.
Reduce it all down and think about what does it take to get along to make changes in a small Maine town that can not afford to bicker.
People don’t like change. It scares them.
The unknown always does. But if it has to happen wouldn’t it be better to shape it than be out of the loop for where it ends up with no input? If you and I are lost in the process it is a ship heading for rocks in the darkness.
Or if we one by one don’t strike a match. Light, shield, hold high and protect the candle in the wind as Elton sang about with harmony and tinkling ivories. Promoting love, peace, sometimes a truce, just taking a deep breath in relationships around us. If we don’t realize how we help or hurt the process of making it at least as good as or over the top better than it was for all concerned.