I went to a kibbutz committee meeting recently for the purpose of partaking in a particular discussion that would ultimately end in a vote the same evening.
The meeting was set for 9 PM at a friend’s house.
And scheduled to end promptly at 10 PM (out of respect to the tireless volunteers that donate endless hours of their time for the benefit of the kibbutz).
For one hour, eight of us sat around in a very orderly and respectful way, discussed the topic (of which the details aren’t necessarily pertinent to this post), listened mindfully, and spoke respectfully until the head of the committee told us it was time to make a decision.
Minutes before the vote, a non-member of the committee shows up to the meeting. (The meeting was considered “open” and so anyone from the kibbutz was welcomed to join the discussion.)
Yet, having showed up at 10 PM, she didn’t partake in the discussion.
She didn’t know what was discussed.
She didn’t even know the reason why this discussion was arising (since we already had a similar “study group”) about it last year.
She just came to give her opinion.
Which I guess would have been fine had she done it in a respectful way.
But, she didn’t.
Racing against the clock, she burst into the house, grabbed a seat, first gave her opinion on the topic (with lots of huffing and puffing and rolling of the eyes), and then started to rudely criticize the committee for mismanagement (that is, for having this discussion when it was already discussed last year).
And frankly, as a member of this committee and believer that our work is being done honorably, I just wanted to scream.
In my mind, this person had absolutely no right to burst in the way she did and she had no right to criticize the committee (specifically because she wasn’t present for the entire meeting and therefore missed the reasoning of why this topic was being raised again).
I actually just calmly filled her in and caught her up on the last hour’s discussion.
Which actually seemed to have calmed her down a bit (after having heard more of the big picture).
Stuck on “I’m not done. I’ve got a few more words for you, my dear!”
And so, automatically, I started to gather all that was in my head and put it down on paper. (G-d forbid I’d forget anything.)
I wrote down things like:
How wrong was her behavior and….
She will not speak to me or the group in that way ever again and…
That, we as volunteers, are acting out of our best intentions to make this community the best community we possibly can and she should acknowledge that, and…
We are community members, family friends, and neighbors and that it would be the wise thing to treat others with a minimal amount of respect and …
That she, of all people, should be acting as a role model in our community and …
SHOW UP ON TIME next time!
But, when I processed this with S.T.U.C.K. and arrived at “C”, I recognized my choice:
That I didn’t really have to say anything…
Even though my ego really wanted to.
And, that’s exactly what I did.
I did not approach her after the meeting.
I did not reprimand or parent her.
What I did do was respond appropriately to her at the meeting.
And that’s all that’s really needed.
Certainly there’s not need on staying stuck on having to be heard every time I think I’ve got something important or urgent to say.
Because the truth is, most people aren’t ready to listen anyway.