I’ve found myself referring to generosity a lot lately. Here and here. Patti Digh also talks about being generous here. Patti says:
Chapter Four in Life is a Verb is about being generous. Not in terms of money, but in terms of opening the space for others to be who they are, about reaching out to them, about providing them the same level of specificity as you provide yourself. About allowing for their deeply textured humanity rather than seeing them as a “what” or a “category.”
My copy of Life is a Verb hasn’t arrived yet – despite checking my mail box every day with great anticipation, so I haven’t yet read that chapter. I’m looking forward to it.
I think generosity is a key attribute for facilitators. It’s easy to make assumptions – and even necessary. Making and testing assumptions allows us to learn. And there’s the rub. A lot of the time we make assumptions about people without an opportunity to test them. Sometimes we don’t want to test our deeply held beliefs about other people either. Might make us have to consider some uncomfortable truths about ourselves.
Facilitators try to give everyone a voice – using processes that provide a generous amount of space for all types. And the one skill that would make this so easy – mind reading – is not that easy to acquire (smile).
So the only tried and true way I’ve discovered to test assumptions is to be generous – by suspending judgement and allowing space for different needs I know will be in the group.
The picture below is of my friends Lenny & BJ Diamond who epitomise generosity. They are both involved in the Global Facilitators Service Corps Disaster & Crisis Intervention training for facilitators.