Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Growing Gardens

This photo is by vgm8383.

My husband and I are having the HARDEST time figuring out what to do with our backyard.
First of all you have to understand that we have a BIG backyard. The story goes that our house was built on a lot that was supposed to be turned into a cul-de-sac. But somewhere along the way Montgomery County forgot to extend our street and we landed on a double-sized yard.

I'm not complaining. A big yard is a good thing. Especially because both Dan and I LOVE entertaining. The problem is we can't agree on how to fill the space.

My garden woes, while clearly minor, are a good reminder for me of the fact that in all groups there are sensible folks (who mostly like each other) and don't agree! It doesn't matter if it's a garden plan, a capital campaign or the launch of a new program. There will ALWAYS be folks who are engaged - deeply engaged with your cause or issue - who have very different points of view and very different definitions of "success."

When you find yourself confronted with a situation like this, it's best to STOP STATING YOUR CASE and instead spend more time listening to the "other side." Sometimes the simple act of listening helps to iron things out.

It's also important to determine what you can and cannot live without. My mama calls this defining your "non-negotiables." Of course on really BIG issues like poverty and universal health care and genocide this is EXTREMELY hard to do. It seems like heresy to eliminate or chip away at any part of your plan. But all great work requires compromise.

I REALLY LIKE my azalea bushes. But I also know that in the end of the day a rock garden could work well too. (Did I just say that?)

Take the time to stop making your case and REALLY engage other options. This may lead you to a more perfect solution after all.


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