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Low Ropes 005

Thunderstruck

We sat down in what was left of a shady spot on the back side of the Spider’s Web. The Spider’s Web is an initiative almost as old as challenge courses. Nylon ropes are strung between two trees or poles with distinct gaps for participants to climb through, careful not to touch the sensitive threads of the radiating orb web.

“I think we did really well on that challenge!” Mark spoke up first. He always seemed to speak up first. “We worked together and only touched the web that one time right at the beginning.”

“I agree, “ said the peppy blonde girl who tended to parrot everything that came out of Mark’s mouth.  “Everyone had such a positive attitude and we all, you know, teamwork.” Her head was bobbing side to side with each syllable.

“What did the rest of you think about the experience?” I prodded. Most of the eyes went toward the ground and suddenly weeding the lawn around their knees became a huge priority for the group. The seconds ticked by. Tasha looked up, “I’m not so sure what I think yet.” She glanced down again and quickly muttered, “I’m not sure if it counted.”

“What do you mean you’re not sure it counted?” retorted Mark.

“Didn’t we agree that we were not going to touch the ropes at all?”

“So, that was only because Tyler brushed it trying to help hold Brianna when we were passing her through, so it doesn’t count.” Mark’s voice was getting an edge to it.

Tasha thought for a moment, “What kind of challenge is it if we don’t follow all of the rules? Most of the fun comes from finding a solution to something that seems almost impossible.”

“But we worked so hard, that has to count for something, right?” the pep was bobbing a bit slower.

“Does it?” My question hung in the air. Everyone looked around at each other glancing a bit uneasily.

Then the dam broke loose:

“I don’t think that we should be content with our performance if we didn’t do it right.”

“Isn’t honesty more important than success?”

“But working together is important too, right ya’all?”

“We spent a lot of time on getting that done, don’t you guys want to try something else?”

“I think we could do this again and do it right this time!”

My head was whipping back and forth like a puppy’s at a ping pong tournament.  “What do you think we should do?” It took me a few seconds to realize all those eyes were staring at me, waiting expectantly. “Well, which is more important to you, honesty or success?” I asked.

“I say let’s put it to a vote.” Mark was making good use to of the opportunity.  “No, no,” I interjected, “remember this group makes decisions by consensus not by majority.”

The group looked at each other, then put their heads together. I waited patiently. The clouds rolled across the blue sky. “We’ve decided that we want to try again.”

I looked up, thunderstruck.

“We want to try again because we want to do it right.”

As we moved back over toward the Spider’s Web I reveled again in the power of the process where ideas are valued, voices are heard, and success is defined by doing a job right.

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