I recently attended a meeting where I got the impression that roughly 90% of the
people did not understand the point of the meeting. There was one item on the
agenda for discussion. I could see that the decision we made about that item would
directly affect the long-term identity and purpose of the group.
It seemed to me that people were discussing the item as if a simple yea or nay would
settle the matter. It was a “but we’ve always done it this way,” moment.
It reminded me of times I saw a family in therapy when there was a specific event a
child/adolescent wanted to go to and the arguments pro and con were in nearly
perfect balance. As a therapist, I was much less interested in deciding about the
single event than in developing way to resolve such question that would apply to the
event and be useful for other resolving other issues when they came up. Often in
those circumstances some family members thought that deciding whether or not the
child should go was the only goal.
I also remember once trying to help my son with his math problems. He wanted
only to get answers for the homework problems. He wanted them done as quickly
as possible. One of his strategies was to guess several numbers in a row. He was not
happy that I did not simply tell him the answer. My goal was to teach him a method
of solving the problems that could be useful with similar problems. Our opposing
goals frustrated both of us.
I will share my observations with the group because I care about what happens to it.
Wish me luck.
Have you ever had a similar experience?