Christina M. Currie: Meeting responsibilities
October 12, 2007
Craig — I was not quite 22 when I got my first taste of the role meetings play in how society functions. I can’t imagine sitting down and trying to calculate just how much of my time since then has been spent in meetings.
I have to admit – and I will be just as quick to deny it – that I actually enjoy most meetings. I love watching the process. Participating in it. Watching something transform from and offhand comment to a successful event.
As tedious as some meetings may be, they’re also a catalyst to action.
At least, that’s what I tell myself.
I hope my daughters someday will have the same respect for the process that I do. It’s certainly being ingrained in them. They will absorb Robert’s Rules of Order through osmosis (although I don’t expect that to be demonstrated on the home front).
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I was recently sharing a story of a stellar customer service experience I had, when I realized that it occurred during a workshop held in Virginia to which I was accompanied by my then 7-month-old daughter.
It was a shock to realize my now 7-year-old daughter has been attending meetings, workshops and behind-the-scenes event preparation almost since she was born. She’s been to planning meetings, service club meetings, city council meetings, advisory board meetings. You name it, she’s attended in some capacity.
I can’t decide what that will mean to her and her sister when they grow. Will they learn the values of volunteerism and participation that I hold so dear? Will they resent the time spent in often-dull meetings where mom demanded quiet so she could focus and the group could function?
I generally attend one meeting a month at a domestic violence shelter that boasts a colorful children’s play room. They beg to go to that meeting.
That’s a good sign, right?
Right now, my girls seem too young to understand the nature of what they’re experiencing. They play. They color. They work their way through their Happy Meals oblivious to the activity around them. Right now, they are able to take joy in the opportunity of doing those things in a new place.
Will that someday translate to a more mature satisfaction in showing up and participating in a way that incites change, launches something new or spawns discussion?
This week, the girls are spending their evenings at the Moffat County Fairgrounds as I work with a group to decorate for tonight’s Crabfest. They are loving this new venue. Not only does decorating for a party appeal to them, but the fact that the room, originally devoid of any furnishing or decorations, echoes when they talk.
Six-year-old Nikki asked me, “If I burp in here will myself burp back?”
That’s her way of defining echo.
She and her sister spend the evenings pretending they’re kittens and they kneel on the stage meowing for the audience.
When it’s time to go home, they smoothly transition to bath kitties (I’ve told them about cats and water. They really don’t care.)
The verdict now is that we’re all happy. I’m fulfilling a responsibility, and they’re having fun at the same time.
I’m not sure when, or even if, the bottom is going to fall out of this arrangement, but I’m going to milk while the milking’s good (yet another mixed metaphor).
You should model good behavior for your kids to emulate. Here’s to meeting a standard. Or maybe the standard is meetings?
Either way, I’m late for the next one.