Re: When world(view)s collide
From: S. Fradenburgh & J. Taylor (
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 15:50:02 -0700 (MST)
Concerning your problems reaching consensus on a place for your bigger kids
to play - Can your group take a couple of steps back in the process
(agreeing to put on hold any sense of urgency in "solving the problem" for
a specified period of time)?  

1.  I would suggest that you find out whether you have consensus on what
the problem is.  If you can clearly define the problem and keep that
definition in the forefront of all discussions, you have a better chance of
solving it.  If, for example, the problem is, "We need a safe place for all
the pre-teens to play," then you will likely come up more than just 2
options - build a playset or go to the park.  

2.  The second step I would suggest before going back to problem-solving
discussions is to get out on the table all the needs (or wants) people have
around the issue.  This can take any of several forms - speaking one at a
time without rebuttal or interruption, writing anonymously on notecards and
mixing them up and reading each outloud, etc.  Ideally, you would agree
beforehand that no decisions will be made at that meeting (or meetings).
You may choose to use an outside facilitator.  I would guess that, besides
kids' safety and supervision, you'll hear issues around money, time, noise,
common space for use by adults without being overrun with kids, and several
surprise issues.  You may not be able to come up with a solution that meets
everyone's needs, but you certainly can't address needs that you don't know

Once you've agreed on the definition of the problem and everyone feels
heard (not the same as agreed with), you can go back to decision-making
discussions with a new perspective.  You may even reach consensus, rather
than win-lose or half-hearted compromise!


Shari Fradenburgh and Joe Taylor
Lake Claire Cohousing
Atlanta, GA

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