The other day in gym Cheyenne’s class split into groups to compete Winter Olympic style. Each group had to pick a country that they would represent. Cheyenne suggested Puerto Rico and her group thought that was as good a country as any other. The kids went through a series of events that simulated variations of winter sports (in a gym). Well, wouldn’t you know it – Puerto Rico took the gold!
Cheyenne was so excited to tell me this story. It is quite exhilirating to be in a competition and win, but even a little better to be part of a group in a competition that wins. The shared victory somehow seems much sweeter than the solo acknowledgement. In truth, at least in my mind, it seems that winning or succeeding as a group is potentially a more difficult task. The need for a common goal, collaboration, a sharing of strengths and a shoring up of weaknesses – those are tasks not always easily accomplished with group work.
Group work is big in my field of emergency management. Most times it is not as easy as competing collectively against other teams…most times it is a balancing of interests, agendas, egos and costs. It is rarely easy, but quite gratifying when a "win" can be attributed to the effort. It is even more gratifying when you can pull out a "win" against seemingly all odds – like a gold medal in the Winter Olympics for Puerto Rico.
Long live Puerto Rico! May we all learn from its success in the elementary Winter Olympics.
After I heard the story about Puerto Rico taking the gold medal I felt compelled to sing aloud a verse from the song America in West Side Story, "Puerto Rico, you lovely island, island of tropical breezes, always the pineapples growing, always the coffee blossoms blowing." Alas, I was summarily cut off before I could get to the second verse by my medal-holding offspring who wasn’t all that thrilled with my patriotic support of her newfound country. I am not sure, but I think I was voted off the island.
Day two hundred and twenty of the new forty – obla di obla da