Would you like to share?
It’s a simple enough question . . . but maybe not.
Let’s start with a tangible item.
You are throwing a tennis ball against the wall at your local playground. A friend comes over, gives a smile, and seamlessly joins your game. The question is implicit in your friend’s actions. The answer is clear by your willingness and enjoyment of this new experience. Another friend arrives and asks to join the fun. The first friend looks to you with encouragement and soon three of you are taking turns throwing the ball against the wall.
The game shifts slightly. It is no longer a game of catch. A new objective is agreed upon. You have been included in the process and boundaries for a new game have been established. The goal is now to throw the ball in such a way so that your opponents try and catch the tennis ball but drop it instead. The game is fun. There are just three of you and plenty of opportunity to engage in the activity.
You throw the ball at an angle off the wall and it goes past both your friends. Another child has been watching from the side and takes the opportunity to fetch the ball and start playing. The new child knows one of your friends but this is the first time you have met. Perhaps you were asked again if you would like to share but more as a gesture rather than truly offering you a choice.
The game continues to be fun and draws a crowd of more participants. The experience has evolved but to a point in which you no longer have control. New rules are suggested and the game proceeds. There is no order to who throws and who catches the ball. You continue to participate but now you catch and throw the ball about one out of every ten times. It is fun being part of the group. At some point do you want to have your ball back? Is it possible? What choices do you have?
I started this story with a tennis ball because there is a pile of them outside my window. Some of the balls have been chewed by dogs, others have been mashed by lawn mowers, and most have been discolored by time. It is after all just a tennis ball.
In this story, you can keep playing until the game ends, or you can take your ball and leave, or you can even walk away and leave the tennis ball behind. But what if the item has more significance? Would the new bouncy ball that you were given for your birthday last week have changed the progression of the story above? At what point would you have asserted your ownership and kept control? Would you have established an exit plan at the beginning? Would you be as flexible a participant? Can the game still evolve to your benefit as well as the whole? I think it can.
Can you think about a similar scenario with something less tangible and therefore more opportunity to change? You are asked to do this each time you take part in conversation, meet new people, network within a community, and dare to speak your mind. Sometimes your contributions are like the tennis ball; you can excuse yourself at any time. But more often your contributions are like the new bouncy ball you got for your birthday. You are committed to the company you have joined. What are the challenges? What emotions are unveiled? What are the benefits to you and to others?
Would you like to share your experiences?
Would you like to share your ideas?
Would you like to share your song?
In 2009, I first became a CMN Member and have been sharing my experiences, ideas and songs ever since. Each time I go to a workshop, step on stage, or participate in the forum, I do so with varying degrees of confidence, expectation, and purpose. Collectively my interactions with our community have been an invaluable part of my growth as a teacher, as a parent, as a performer and as a human being.
This new chapter as editor of the CMN Blog is exciting. With great fortune, I lean on the success of past editors, Jessica Hebron, Alina Celeste and Liz Buchanan. This first blog is my new ball put into play. It is humbly offered in the hopes that we will evolve together. Some friends will join me to contribute their diverse perspectives for and with our community. An email campaign asking CMN members to share their “Most Sung Song” is in the works. For now I look forward to the holiday season sharing the joys of our collective selves with family, friends and community.
All the best on this Network Wednesday