Today was complete chaos in the studio; Lord of the Flies; a lack of intentionality.
It was cold and wet Eagles couldn’t burn off energy outside. We were coming off the difficult American Revolution experience; Colonists had lost and there was lots of “bad energy” in the classroom. Even worse, a group had earned the right to another “roll of the Revolutionary Die” by doing extra work, and had lost a second time. Emotions were high, the Eagles on edge.
On Eagle failed to turn in an assignment on time and a Council member intervened on her behalf, pleading for leniency because of a computer glitch. Several Eagles protested that an exception would be lowering the standards; the vote was close to protect the standards.
The Intentionality Champion tried to reign in the Eagles but was ignored, partly because he equivocated and rambled. The studio become noisier and more chaotic. One Guide stepped over the line by refusing to show a visitor around the studio, because the chaos was embarrassing.
Then something miraculous happened. The Eagles began to self-reorganize. A new curtain was used to separate the room (one Eagle compared it to the Berlin wall.) Eagles, having found during the Revolutionary War that desks separated from each other seemed to lead to more intentionality. Individuals began moving desks into private clusters.
Eagles got back to work; the noise level dropped to a whisper. One group later requested to be allowed to leave for the High School to establish an even more intentional space.
The lessons? Almost too many to count:
- Hard cases make for bad law. An unfair case, especially one that makes you want to bend the rules as a leader, can lead to a conflict between Justice (treat everyone the same) and Virtue (do what is right). A real world example of the Moral Frameworks we discussed last week.
- Leaders must be clear, tough and uncompromising; but this is hard to do when you have to make rulings about your friends.
- State’s Rights versus Federal Rights. Exactly what we have saw in the Civil War. Having small groups experiment leads to new discoveries, but risks fraying the principles that hold our Eagles together.
- Above all, self rule by the Eagles may be the most important learning experience of all, if a Guide can ask the questions that lead to deeper lessons.
What should a Guide do? This is where being a Guide becomes an art.
- Praise in private. Praise the leaders who took tough stands. Applaud their courage in holding the line. Encourage them to step up even more.
- Constructively criticize to unveil the principles at stake in private. The Eagle who wanted to bend the rules for a friend needs to understand where this could head. The Eagle Champion who equivocated and rambled needs to understand how this affects his power.
- Encourage Eagles to return to their frameworks and contracts when in doubt. Appeal to identity.
- Set forth the historical examples above, and ask Eagles to describe the parallels in the studio. But don’t push too hard. Ask questions that demand difficult choices; don’t give answers.
- Point out the power – and the danger – of separate communities. Encourage Eagles to protect the individual rights of the group without diluting the principles that make them a powerful learning community.
Tomorrow should be a day of deep discovery. Because being willing to endure chaos led to even more self rule, which will lead to more powerful revelations that a Hero can use. The Eagles earned their lessons.