One of the ways researchers have found to combat prejudice and aggression between differing groups of people is to give both groups a common goal that is higher than individual goals and is a benefit to both groups. A common goal should take cooperative efforts on both sides to obtain, put both groups on an equal basis and give equal benefits to both sides. This is known as applying Super Ordinate Goals.
I came across this term while studying for my state licensing board exams that I will be taking in two weeks and felt like I finally had language for why my closest relationships have been a result of working toward a shared goal. In my late teens and early twenties I worked alongside Brett and Emily supporting a Jr. High Youth Group. This was after I had spent a number of years working with Shauna in the Sr. High Youth Group. Then, I managed our church’s coffee shop with Colleen. After I had Lucy, Sarah and I worked in children’s ministry together. In graduate school, I did all my group projects with Hope, Melissa, Courtney and Stacie. And most recently, I have worked alongside Kristin at a chemical dependency treatment center for 3 years. These names don’t just represent co-workers. They are my best of friends.
Working toward a shared goal always gives you something to talk about. It also gives you a lot to do together. And when things go awry, which they inevitably do on any project, you have peers who are there to support one another. And all of that talking, doing and supporting rolls over into non-work life. Though I no longer work directly with many of these friends, we are still talking, doing and supporting each other regularly.
However, if I had to pick one other reason for how I got to be such good friends with everyone I’ve mentioned, I would say there has been an element of play. Because there are many people who I have not listed that I have worked with. We certainly shared a same goal and were working toward the same end. And yet, when the project or job was finished, the relationship was as well.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded how play is essential in my relationships when Shauna, Sarah and I had this exchange. Since we live in different time zones, often we have to catch up on schedules and decisions for this shared endeavor through group text messages. And while business is the priority, there has never been a time where we have engaged in a conversation that is about our shared goal, which is higher than our individual goals, where there has not also been the element of individual and shared play. Super Ordinate Goals + Play = Super Extraordinary life.
*Sunday Specials are a weekly round-up of what has been trending around the web. So enjoy your coffee while checking out what’s caught our attention.
A Thought Provoking Special
The Ban Bossy campaign by Sheryl Sandberg has been generating a huge buzz around the internet-osphere. I actually appreciate the controversial energy around the subject because it has inspired people to engage the question, “Do we as a society maintain a gender-bias that fuels the misattribution of a term to shame girls and women into silence?” And if so, what do we do about it? Although there is no indication of the research behind this campaign’s assertion that shaming girls for being assertive and exemplifying strong leadership potential can lead to self-doubt and diminished self-esteem, I personally intuitively lean towards agreeing. In part, this is likely because I too was called “bossy” as a young girl and still cringe when I think about how that made me feel. I also understand that there are times when behavior is justifiably characterized as bossy, but when a term becomes a catch-all for ANY form of assertive behavior and leans heavily towards one gender, then we need to reconsider its use. Literally banning the word is not the point. But questioning its use seems immensely valuable.
A Ridiculously Funny Special
Jon Stewart at The Daily Show inspired MANY people to join him in some #McConnelling fun. I dare you to search twitter and pick your favorites.
A Wake-Up Call Special
Rachel Held Evans has a wake-up call for all who call themselves followers of Christ…please read her post before you leave the internet this morning.
My evangelical brothers and sisters, we have an abuse problem and we need to talk about it. Talking about it does far less damage to Christ’s reputation in the world than covering it up. Now obviously, abuse is a result of sin and no denomination or community is immune to sin’s effects, but we do see a trend in which most of the organizations facing scrutiny over abuse and sexual misconduct charges of late are characterized by authoritarian, patriarchal leadership and by cultures that routinely silence the voices of women. So the point I want to make today is not that all who subscribe to patriarchy are abusive, but that patriarchy in a religious environment, just as in any environment, has a negative effect on the whole community and creates a cultural climate more susceptible to abuse than one characterized by mutuality and shared leadership between men and women. ~Rachel Held Evans
A Celebratory Special
Phyllis Tickle turned 80 this week. If you don’t yet know who she is, now is a great day to meet her. I think she’s kind of awesome.
What caught your attention this week?
I am not one of those people that watches the same movie over and over again, but strangely enough I have watched We Bought a Zoo about six or so times since it was released in 2011. Don’t worry – there is no need for a spoiler alert. I won’t even give you a summary of the movie because that isn’t even the point of this post. What I will tell you, however, is that there are a couple of scenes in the film where Matt Damon’s character reflects on how an individual typically only needs 20 seconds of insane courage to do something outrageous. For whatever reason, I am mustering up the 20 seconds of insane courage necessary today to begin to type the first words for this blog.
Why the need for insane courage? Because to hope can be terrifying. To unleash desire can be overwhelmingly vulnerable. To enter into our own story or to engage the stories of others is risky business. In my experience, taking the first steps (or typing the first words) are the most difficult, but once we begin to move forward momentum can carry us into a new chapter. So here I am. Here we are. Three therapists are walking into a new blog.
Feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear about when you’ve had to muster 20 seconds of insane courage.