We really do need to talk!
Folks who attended our first meeting came with a lot of "steam in our engines" that we each needed to let out.
Those who returned for the second meeting still had plenty of steam, but the newcomers were the ones most in need of having their say.
This makes sense. When someone chooses to attend they're motivated by a need to do something about the "dis-ease" they've been feeling.
Have you noticed that quite a few of us brought examples of the what's gone wrong in our culture, as well as resources for getting it right?
We do well to give that energy a chance for expression.
Naturally, this takes up meeting time, and it doesn't scale. The more people we have, the more time it will take. Giving every heart a chance to unburden can eclipse the other work we've come to do, if we do it one by one.
And yet -- Doh! -- we are about Civil Dialogue, right?
If we are to grow, we'll need harness this urge by giving it a forum in small groups for some part or parts of each gathering.
I envision two or three small group sessions per meeting, with groups of three to five participants:
• The first one is a "Howdi." We break into threes, introduce ourselves to each other, and say what brought us to the meeting. Five minutes?
• We may want a second small group break-out to discuss a current issue, or to seek input about personal exchanges we've had in the last month that we feel we could have done better.
• And when we take up a main topic, we'll want to give participants a chance to talk it over. The larger we are, the more it makes sense to use a small group for that purpose too.
All this energy shows up to do something, so let's put it to work in real dialogue!