Monday, April 13, 2015

#BlogBOmer: Chesed B'Gevurah

Still belated, but hoping to get back on track at some point. This post, based on Acts of Loving Kindness in the realm of Discipline/Restraint goes out to my 2013-2014/2014-2015 Oregon Hillel Student Leadership Boards (including Laura! --who was in Mexico!).

Last night, at our Board meeting we discussed this topic: I asked the board to describe a time were they had to put a restraint on their kindness. At first there was some opposition, it seemed strange that you would randomly stop yourself from being kind. Slowly, though we explored the idea and each board member came up with a time that they chose to stop being kind.

Generally speaking, when we put a restriction on acts of loving-kindness or increased our discipline towards loved ones, it's because something isn't working anymore. What you'd like to see happening in your mind's eye isn't quite equal to what's in front of you. Sometimes it's a matter of asking for help. Sometimes it's a matter of getting an outside perspective (ask your students' advice sometime--their insights are incredible!). Sometimes it's a matter of having the hard conversations and getting down to business.

I struggle with finding the balance between kindness and discipline: often feeling that when I err on one side or the other, I face a consequence I'm not really happy with. Too much kindness and you might take on too much work on your own. Too much discipline and the event may not happen to begin with. Finding the middle ground is key, but how?

I find that the balance (albeit a new challenge to myself) lies in having the difficult conversations. The discussions about expectations and whether they've been met (or more importantly, understood). The debates over good ideas, great ideas, bad ideas, and questioning why some ideas never made it to the conversation to begin with. When working with any board, you're dealing with varying perspectives and personalities. While it's impossible to please everyone all the time, it's imperative that everyone at the table has the potential to participate, to speak up, to put down their own discipline, to set up their own accountability. Working in a team involves patience and partnership, but also a decent amount of communication and cooperation.

Luckily, with each group I work with, I learn a little bit more about how to find that balance between discipline and acts of loving-kindness. I thank my two boards for teaching me every day. Strong work, team. Thanks for the memories!

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