You’re Only Old Once

—-by Dr. Seuss,  A book for obsolete children.

One of the great experiences of having
a visiting six-year-old is that books come flying off the shelves,
books that you haven’t thought about since the last grandkid visited. 
I’d never seen this one before.  The back has these four lines:

Is this a children’s book?

Well. . . not immediately.

You buy a copy for your child now

and you give it to him on his 70th birthday.

This description of a physical exam brought the most giggles:

Your escape plans have melted!

You haven’t a chance,

for the next thing you know,

both your socks and your pants

and your drawers and your shoes

have been lost for the day.

The Oglers have blossomed

like roses in May!

And silently, grimly, they ogle away.

My granddaughter and I were both laughing at
the picture of being “ogled.”.  But the other meanings in the text were
different for us.  She was transfixed by the rhyming of words, words
that she repeated over and over as she read.  I was transfixed by the
hilarious perspective on medical experiences.

There’s an important relationship and communication lesson here.  What one person sees in an experience is often quite different than another’s insight. 

A few days ago I conversed with a client
who told me, in some frustration, about ongoing team experiences on the
job.  Even though there had initially been agreement about process,
time had changed that agreement between the members.  New process
understanding was surfacing and he realized that there would be far
more to facilitate than he thought.

I commented on the fact that context and the
spacing of time nearly always create different meanings between two or
more people.  Since this was his first facilitation experience,
he wanted to understand whether this was normal and to be expected. 
Yes, and the more people in the team and the more time space between
meetings, the more meaning will change.  We also know, I commented,
that once a team gets to 12 or 13 people, productivity starts to slide
and decisions take far longer. 

I couldn’t resist pointing out the very
difficult example of health care decision-making faced by the US senate
with 100 members. 

What one sees and reads in one experience is different for another.

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