After a talk we gave recently, we had a brief chat with Marion Adamson, a facilitator here in Cape Town. A few days later, after having checked out the Organization Unbound website, she sent us the following email:
I read the blog post of the Giving Field – and immediately my son’s preschool came to mind. It’s the place I find myself being drawn to when I’m most struggling with issues, stress and life’s challenges. I go and sit on the ottoman, watching the children, listening, observing, and being, before the end of the day’s programme. On reflection, and in the context of the Giving Field, this school has a core value of respect and learning. This is how it delivers an environment that encourages natural learning to emerge in the children. When I sit there, I feel accepted; my experience is of complete acceptance, of all that I am, the good, bad, ugly, and very cool stuff. And it’s ok. I feel seen, heard and valued – I walk away with this sense of worth. This is what is provided to all those that enter and to the children that go to this school. They encounter the experience of what it is to be seen, valued, and heard, with authentic respect. The learning continues for parents and children, and no doubt teachers too.
Marion’s experience is a keen example of why we continue to find the Giving Field such a powerful paradigm, both in theory and in practice. As always, what is most striking to us is how specifically Marion is receiving the very thing thing that the preschool was created for. She feels uplifted not simply because she is observing or even contributing to something of value. She is feeling the exact same kind of acceptance, affirmation, respect, and growth that the children are meant to feel. The experiential values of the school are radiating to everyone who comes into contact with it. And of course far from diminishing the school’s primary purpose of nurturing children, this radiance feeds that purpose.
It is such a little shift – reminding ourselves as we go about our work that we can both give and receive our organizational purpose no matter what we are doing and who we are talking to. It requires no particular skill or preparation, just a gentle intention. And since there is no possibility that we can control it or manage it, rather than feeling overwhelming, it feels liberating. The Giving Field offers a kind freedom and simplicity that our narrower more targeted sorts of organizational missions cannot match.