We moved a lot from when I was in kindergarten until I was in 4th grade. I hated being the “new kid” breaking into friendships that were already formed. It’s an awkwardness that made a dramatic disappearance as I progressed through my twenties. Now, when I look back then and look at now and how adults act around each other, it’s as if we still just want to be accepted and not be that new kid.
One of the books that helped the spiral move faster was Safe People by Cloud & Townsend. I’ve blogged about this book before and its boundaries, but I was in a few meetings recently and reminded of how fragile we are as adults. Have you ever been in a meeting where you are asked to explain your opinion and not by secret ballot? Not if you liked the color red over green (but sometimes that’s trying too!) but you’re opinion on a policy when the creators may have invested a lot of time into it. Do you know the sort of looking-look I’m talking about? When people sort of shirk to their left and right seeing what their neighbors are doing. The look to see, “Am I the only one who said, ‘No’?”
What happens next? What happens when you have to explain your opinion? What does the group do? Do they guffaw at your views? Are they supportive? Do they breathe a sigh of relief in understanding that they too “aren’t the only one”?
A group I’m involved in seems to be full of Safe People. People who care passionately about the organization, but are also considerate of other’s feelings and desires. That passion and caring coupled with a desire to ensure the organization does the right thing seems to create a mix of Safe People and Safe Attitudes.
I guess the biggest thing I wanted to express tonight is my surprise that adults are still fragile, that we’re all working on boundaries, and how nice it is to be involved with safe people.