The powers and pitfalls of "We"


"We" is a force that is often used for tremendous good. "We", when working together in unity, can encourage one another to heights of achievement that alone we'd never consider. The sense of community that "We" brings can be God's healing touch for the brokenhearted. Yep, "We" can often get things done that no "I" could ever do.

At K-Colorado (soon to be Camp Kivu) - we work hard to provide a place where young men and women can be part of a global community of world changers. That's because we believe strongly in the creative power of "We".

Yes, I believe "We" is perhaps the most powerful human force in the world - both for good, and unfortunately, for "not so good".

Huh - what was that? How could "We" be a bad thing?

Well, we all know about the really nasty instances where "We" went badly astray. Hitler's Germany and the more recent Rwandan genocide both come to mind. The rampant and oft-reported problem of gang violence is another example.

But there is a more subtle and I'd say more difficult problem with "We". That is, "We" can make change impossible.

Family Systems Theory uses the term "homeostasis" to describe this "We" pressure to remain the same - to stay stuck together even though saying "I" would be more beneficial to everyone involved.

For example - have you ever made a decision against your better judgment just to "keep the peace" - perhaps in your family or in your group of friends? Have you ever seen a "leader" knuckle under to the demands of the group rather than take a stand for her own life-goals?

And perhaps nastiest of all - have you ever seen members of a church, a business team or even members of your own family "sabotage" the leader who attempts to say "I" in the face of the homeostasis - when he tries to define his goals apart from those of the group?

I've seen all of this junk - and sad to say - I've been involved in some of it myself. But years ago I made a concerted effort to just say "no" to this kind of behavior - and I still strive to rid my life of it.

Good leaders must learn to continually define themselves and their life-goals over against the surrounding togetherness pressures. But they must do this while remaining connected to the groups and families to which they belong and of which they lead.

Otherwise - there's no way the group or family will make any progress. Such a team will remain "stuck" - never achieving anywhere near what they could with a properly differentiated leader.

So let's continue to work on clarifying our own life-goals while teaching others to do the same. This may mean that you end up leading your group or family to a totally new place.

Would that be so bad? :)

Father, help me to help others clarify the gifts and goals you have placed in them. Help all of us to value progress over "peace at any cost" in the groups you've given us to lead - so that we may fully complete our part of your Great Project to renew and rebuild the world.


Dustin said...

I very much appreciate this type of thinking. There are some things that a group should not centralize their decision making for. I for one find it pretty easy, in most things, to be different and not really care about what others think. For me, the most challenging thing is to stay connected.

Mike Aleckson said...

Yep, Dustin - staying connected is the trick for me too...

BTW - one more congrats to Heather on her new job!

Fighting for Narnia said...

Then where does staying connected come in?

Mike Aleckson said...

Excellent Caleb! How do we stay connected while still clarifying, and ultimately pursuing, our own life goals? And what will the result be? If I clarify and pursue my life goals, won't those following me just leave me altogether?

Stay tuned - we'll discuss this in our get-together tonight, and I'll write on the subject here later this week.