A Make-You-Smile Tale of Consensus for the Holidays
From: Diana Leafe Christian (dianaic.org)
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 08:41:06 -0800 (PST)
A Make-You-Smile Tale of Consensus for the Holidays

This is a story told by cohouser and consensus facilitator Evan Richardson, who lives at Westwood Cohousing in Asheville, North Carolina. Evan coordinates Laird Schaub and Ma'ikwe Ludwig's IFP- Southeast, their two-year facilitation training held quarterly at various cohousing communities and other intentional communities in the Southeastern states, (IFP trainings are held in the Mid-Atlantic states and other regions too.) Evan shared this story with trainees in the IFP-Southeast program.

Evan's daughter Lila and other 8, 9, and 10-year-olds at Westwood Cohousing began gathering in May, 2008, for a twice-monthly meeting to solve problems, share appreciations, and discuss plans for fun things to do. Generally Even or two other adults facilitate the circle, with the kids setting the agenda.

In early November, 2009, Evan arrived at the meeting a couple of minutes late. She assumed that what was happening there had been discussed by the group before she got there. As it turned out though, the adult in charge that week had been waiting for Evan to arrive. So, since no one had taken charge yet, Evan's daughter Lila just jumped in and started facilitating, with Evan and the other adult present just watching, amazed.

First Lila offered a summary of the two agenda items which had been introduced at previous meetings, asked the kids where they wanted to start, and started calling on kids with raised hands. After a while Lila asked two kids who hadn't spoken yet what they thought. Then, as time was running out, Lila actually said, "Well, it seems that we need to bring this conversation to a close for tonight. We've heard a lot about Raminta's idea; is this the solution we want to live with?"

"I was so stunned to see them all in action on their own," Evan wriites. "Wow! It makes me feel so great about living in community!"

Much appreciation to Evan for sharing this great story.


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