Lenten Reflections: Forty Things I Really Like And… (Day 27)–Highly deadly black tarantula

Collaboration. Beware if you ask for input: you may just get put into a difficult position. But, what fun it is to have no idea and then see how others’ ideas can be melded into a lovely looking tapestry.

I asked ‘And me, of course’ for suggestions this morning. I should have guessed: “Well, you can write about me…,” came the original-not-offer. I asked how it would be if I just wrote ‘me’ a thousand times. “That wouldn’t be very interesting!” she pounced back. I asked her why she did not write about herself, if she thought she was such a good subject. “Well, that would be boring: it would be just writing about myself. I know about me, already,” she added, logically. I got where she was going.

We jumped, naturally, to the song she’d been singing in the car yesterday. “Day-Oh!” came from the back seat. I thought back to Stan Greberg’s version of the ‘Banana Boat Song’, always good for a rib-rubbing laugh. We sat in the car, outside school, for a few minutes, and went over the song lyrics. The third grade classes are doing a Calypso walk, with some lovely Caribbean standards.

“Come, Missa Tallyman, tally me banana…” I added. I explained what tally meant–no teaching moment wasted. “Highly deadly black tarantula…” I chimed on. Muwhaaaaaa! I remembered how children often shivered when they realised that this song also embodied some of the real risks of getting some lovely bananas onto a boat. Time to deal with workers’ compensation issues will be another day.

On my drive back home, I remembered Harry Belafonte, of course, and how his version of the song seems like THE one. Ok, it got better once he did it with Fozzy Bear.

I remembered a conversation I had earlier this week with another parent, who lamented having to go to meetings. I shared my distaste for such things. ‘Too many hidden agendas…Not really there to share ideas…Too much time wasting…” Adult game-playing like this puts people off sharing ideas or working together. Fishing for ideas may be fun, but not everyone likes to go on fishing trips. If you cast your line, with seeming innocence, there may be many who will avoid being snared, or hooked, seeing dangers not fun. But, watch children doing activities and playing, and see how they try to work with each other, or even themselves.

I thought about the rich source of ideas and more that we all are. The modern version of that is online ‘crowdsourcing’, but it does not have to be so sophisticated or widespread. It’s just another facet of real collaboration.

Try pooling ideas at random in a group and see what happens. I remember a recent dinner, where I asked some friends to list just one thing they could take if they had to leave their home and go to live in some a barren place. The first answer was “My son”. That quickly got everyone stretching for one of their loved ones, then being caught having to choose which one. I suggested that we assume that immediate family would be with us. The ideas then became quite interesting, not least because no one wanted to take anything inanimate, but sought to add something living. Pets are popular for a very good reason 🙂 But, beyond the listing was the animated conversation that it generated and the reading to probe into what and why we each went with our choices.

We do this more readily when we do not feel under threat from the process.

My thoughts just got broken by the NPR radio commentary just flowing into the air: Conservative Political Action Conference is meeting and I heard again a broadcast I listened to yesterday.democrat-vs-republican1  I still like collaboration, I really do :-).


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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