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By Ron Baker

‘Tis the season for landscaping!

That’s been our theme for the last few weeks. We started with a clean slate – or should I say a dirt yard. The need was to organize and systematize the area. The final product was to be a thing of beauty.

We planned and graphed a chart of elements that would make up the yard. We got materials – free rocks and paid-for gravel, landscaping fabric, some plants and even pulled out some weeds that were mysteriously taking over our yard as we worked. Physical assistance was provided by free labour from a youth who was bored with the pandemic and school. The tools had been gathered over the years, some inherited from parents and grandparents.

When all was said and done in Phase One, we had created a thing of beauty with a system that worked!

Having served over the years in an administrative role, my greatest frustrations were when policy and procedure, as re-interpreted by supervisors, became inflexible and the good work of the system ground to a halt. This was often not the fault of the system – or “systemic”.

A system is wielded by people. Having served as a moderator at a number of gatherings of people, my greatest frustrations were when people became inflexible and were no longer able to accept that they were, as Robert’s Rules of Order states, a “deliberative assembly.” This was often not the fault of the writing of motions or discussion that ensued.

People tended to be selfish. Yes, we do create some systems that are selfish. These need to be abolished!

But, when a good and wise system – one that regards others as equals – is put in place, some will loop back and forth within the rules until they find a hole that suits them. If they cannot find a loophole, they will twist wordings until the spirit of the rule is no longer the lettering of the law. When an opportunity is given to right a wrong “ruling”, they selfishly listen and then vote to go back to what they like, or they decide to disregard the “new” ruling of the majority who wish to change the “old” ruling. And nothing changes.

Is the system wrong? If so, right it. But I wonder if more often than not, it is people who are twisted and wrong, not the system? Perhaps our efforts should be on seeing people change more than on merely changing the system?

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