We primarily heat our 4 level Alberta Back Split with wood up to 5 cord. Those of you who heat with wood know there is not a better heat on the planet. You will also know it is a lot of dirty work. For us, the pay off is worth it in multiple ways. We are comforted by the heat, the magical sound, smells and dance of the fire. When a winter storm takes out the power, we have heat and a cooking implement. The exercise it provides and the time working together with my partner to achieve a goal is very satisfying.
I often hear individuals in leadership roles ask about teams (sports teams) employees may have been a part of. The purpose of the question, do individuals have an awareness of team dynamics? It is an important question but we need to realize that teams can be found in multiple contexts. Family, neighborhood, community and volunteering events all provide an opportunity to experience team dynamics, sharing of beliefs and values as well as working towards a goal.
Bringing in wood is a fond memory.
Every event in Guysborough, NS was a team event, survival and fun was the goal. No matter your age or ability you were given a job. My first experiences with wood heated homes were Grandmother and Grandfathers. Their heating and cooking source was a big steel wood stove, old school. Side bread baker, hooks on the back wall to dry or warm clothes, a stove door that was often open in the winter with kids warming their feet, a pot of tea bubbling, potatoes in some form or other, 1-2 black cast iron skillets and pots always at the ready, a box full of kindling and larger logs close at hand. Grandmother regularly added wood and was able to adjust the temperature of the stove to cook and heat the home.
My Grandparents raised 15 kids in a 3 plus landing bedroom home. I remember every room bursting with people, kids on laps, on the floor, on the steps, in and out the door. Grandfather had the matriarch seat in front of the cellar door, which also sat beside the stove. He could easily reach out and grab each child that walked by him and give them a bit of his attention.
To gather wood Grandfather would cross the river with the older boys, cut down trees, chop it, bring it back and the younger individuals would pile wood into the cellar through a side window with a wood slide. We often found fun in our tasks climbing in and out of the cellar via this slide ourselves. We planted, harvested and stored potatoes in the cellar as well. We brought hey in or learned how to keep oneself safe during the practice. Hunting, fishing, preparing meals and eating in a family that size everything was a team event.
Bringing in wood as a team also occurred in my neighborhood. Mr. Landry would gather community kids together every fall in Lower Sackville, NS and we would help him bring his firewood into the basement. We looked forward to the team event and treats.
Enrollment in organized sports activities was not an option for me as we went to Guysborough every weekend possible and spent our summers there. I participated in swimming, horseback riding, highland fling, drawing lessons and played with kids in the neighborhood when home.
Teams were a natural part of my day. Organized team sports were not.
What teams do you remember being a part of, that weren’t organized sports, and taught you the power of working together towards a common goal? How can you use these natural teams to educate your self and others, on team dynamics, and being effective in attaining a goal? There are so many teachable moments that happen naturally in our lives that we often take for granted. The next time a group gets together to achieve a goal observe what behaviors are effective and what behaviors challenge team dynamics. Can you identify your role in the team or the roles of others, are you comfortable alternating roles?
Expanding your self and other awareness can assist you to engage with enhanced effectiveness in whatever team context you participate in.
Remember to have fun no matter the goal, laugh, push yourself out of your comfort zone even if it means failing and respect, appreciate and acknowledge those who assist you reach your goal.
“Imperfect Perspectives" will consist of written and video format. The writing and videos will be imperfect as I am the composer and director and I am perfectly imperfect! Be genuine, have the hard conversations and be compassionate to self and other. Be empowered!