Thursday, April 15, 2010

Relationships and Interdependence

Since our culture does not yet put as high a premium on relationships and interdependence as it does on the gross national product and the bottom line, the importance of relationships tends to be transparent against the backdrop of the larger culture and socioeconomic imperatives that dominate modern life. It is usually in times of crisis that the importance of this extended web of relationship is brought to the fore of our minds, only to sink down, fade, or be replaced with cynicism when life returns to a semblance of "profane normalcy."
- Karen Berggren,
Circle of Shaman

At a support group meeting, we discussed the value of building a support network, that provided reassurance through a living network between brothers and sisters. Another model I have seen included a star network, where one person is the support contact. The problem I have seen with this model is the point of contact, usually the president, gets overwhelmed as the organization grows larger and has no one to turn to for support but herself.

The solution to that has usually been to create a support committee. While the committee can provide support to one another, eventually they too get overwhelmed and wind up just growing a larger committee.

A third solution has been to develop a hierarchy of support, so that growth needs can be met, but unfortunately the support is unidirectional. If the support link farther up the chain is unavailable, then support is unavailable because there is no backup.

The solution I proposed views everyone as an equal and requires that we take responsibility for each other. There is no delegation of care. While none of us can be expected to handle the emotional needs of a larger number of sisters and brothers, we can provide for and get sustenance from a small set of connections. Alcoholics Anonymous provides a buddy system. We are engendering a web. A living, supportive web of support that can help keep those in it from falling. And it takes a minimum of each person in the web being responsible for two others, both of whom are responsible for the original person.

Naturally, I was nominated to be part of a 3-person ad hoc committee to implement this idea. There are challenges to overcome, like the physical separation of the members, the availability and the modes of communication available. As much as I would have loved to do this through internet chat, it just wasn't feasible, so we are working through the tried-and-true email, which requires more of a proposal feedback mechanism. Drew had already drafted a questionnaire to be used and I gave some feedback on that. I had been doing a lot of thinking and proposed my idea for how to get people hooked up from scratch. Being Derby weekend coming up this month, the number of people attending will be much smaller, so we will probably postpone the "match-up," to create the web until June, when I hope we will have a sizable crowd to launch our support web.

At work, I confirmed that my supervisor has every intention of extending my contract. My hiring manager slapped my hand (figuratively) for approaching him about conversion. She advises I wait until she can confirm for sure whether I will be converted or extended. Having nothing else to do, I drew up a draft of my letter to my coworkers.

I'm leaving in about 30 minutes for Charleston lesson 3. Since I haven't fixed my face or brushed my hair yet, I better get on it.

Hugs and God Bless,


  1. Enjoy the Chraleston.
    Dancing is something I want to do in the future. It looks such fun.

  2. I'm sorry I have been useless as a committee member. I'm not sure what I have to offer, frankly. Your proposal makes a lot of sense, and your arguments hold water. I can't imagine any other ways to organize it.

    Looking forward to your first day at work almost as much as you are!

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