This week our grade one classes engaged in an activity called “circle painting.” The students stood around a large sheet of paper, paint brushes in hand, and then added their own contributions to create a giant masterpiece. Throughout the process, they moved from place to place: “let’s trade spots.” They were considerate and complementary to those around them: “I like what you did there, Olivia.” They made suggestions to each other: “we need some yellow on this side of the paper.” And though the final project is beautiful, the process itself was more important. The idea was to add to what someone else had already created: to create something that couldn’t be done on one’s own.
Our grade one teachers used the word collaboration to describe the process to those six year olds who were quick to announce, “that’s like synergy!”
It’s exactly like synergy.
I feel blessed to be on a staff where staff meetings are not the drudgery of tedious agenda items. Our Thursday staff meetings echo the concept of circle painting: one person begins by sharing an idea and from there wonderful things emerge. An original idea becomes more effective and exciting when the entire team contributes. What emerges wouldn’t have the same depth or scope if it came from one mind.
Ultimately, we are better together.