The season for family gatherings is not without its stress. I have eight siblings, and while it’s evident to the eyes that we are from the same gene pool, we, and our various partners, all have our own strongly-held views on a variety of topics. I am fortunate that my family loves me, because I’m sure I am not always easy to like. At a recent gathering, I agreed to play my sister’s (dreaded) bingo game for gag gifts if she would play my game first (playground negotiation skills 101).
The motive for my game was to dispose of some of the stress we might be feeling about underlying differences we have. To play, we simply passed around a bag of questions, taking turns so that each person pulled a different question to answer. At times others weighed in with their own response to someone else’s question, or a question prompted a whole group discussion. It was good conversation, and we went back to the circle of passing the bag around until everyone had their turn. Here are the questions we used:
- What is one thing you are most grateful for this past year?
- What is something funny that happened to you this past year?
- What is one thing that the rest of us might not know about you?
- Who is someone outside of this family who has had a big impact on your life?
- Where is one place you have always wanted to go?
- Who was your best friend in high school, and how has that friendship changed?
- What is one thing you have on your “bucket list?”
- If you could spend a day with someone who is no longer living, who would it be and how would you spend it?
- If you were deserted on an island for a year, what 3 things would you want to make sure you had plenty of?
- If you could pick one year of your life to live again (either to re-do, or because it was so good), what year would it be and why?
- What is one thing that you thought about adulthood when you were a kid that turned out to be not true?
- Share a compassionate/encouraging statement for the last of us alive to remember.
- What is one thing you want to have happen at your funeral?
- What is something you are most proud of?
The conversation was meaningful, blessedly non-political, with laughter, a few tears, and lots of reflection. Bottom line, we made a connection to the people behind the differences. The game just needs a little facilitation to make sure everyone gets a turn, and certainly the questions can be edited. It was clear the game was interesting since most of the cell phones were not in view while we played, though no one specifically mentioned that we should put them away.
These game questions support leadership as much as family. In a recent article in WisPolitics, the last line related to silver linings of the pandemic from RWHC’s Executive Director, Tim Size, is “We have to rediscover another lost art, and that’s finding common ground.” Common ground starts with each of us being curious, willing to listen, and being vulnerable. We can’t get ourselves out of our great divide without each other, so go get this started. Ask some questions.
Link to article: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/covid-pandemic-presented-silver-linings-for-health-care-regulation-wha-head-says
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
||In Jo Anne's current role as Organizational and Workforce Development Senior Manager at the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) her aim is to offer to leaders straightforward tools and inspire the courage to use them.
Lead the Way in Five Minutes A Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team, by Jo Anne Preston is currently available for purchase.