In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

At 4:16 a.m., the radio seemed the best idea as I wasn’t getting any sleep.  On came a talk show host soon interrupted by news from Europe – on the spot news. People talking and worried news. From along side the bed, I reached for the black patterned clipboard and from the drawer in the nightstand, I grabbed a pencil. Somehow, old friends do not go away. During the day, it’s the computer. But, night is special. My pillows and bed sheets welcomed a clipboard and pencil as more like themselves – not as new technology, but from a long ago time. The friends that fit with the night.

Three pages of pencil writing poured out over the next two hours. Pencil erasings were carefully dumped over the edge of the bed for later vacuuming. Ideas flew.  Why were the Chinese loaning us so much money?  What was with the terror in Europe, and why was our government taking so little interest?  My yellow pencil wore down as it happily recorded my thoughts.

For me, a laptop would have demanded that my writing connect with the world. My pencil connected me only to my thoughts.  My pencil is my forever friend, indeed.

News connects me to everywhere. A pencil connects to my thoughts.

Computers connect me to everywhere. A pencil connects only to my thoughts.


Majority Rule – the Inherent Flaw

Bringing together a team to make a plan can produce excellent results – or the process may lead to disagreements and a patched project that goes nowhere.

Perhaps success is not in majority rule.

Perhaps success is not in majority rule.

The following is a description of a group that took a different tack – one that honored each member’s contribution.

It was a contest – a science project at the university level. Three teams were competing and, although this seems unimportant to tell you now, two teams were Caucasian and one Native American.

On the Monday morning of the contest, the teams were given the challenge and told to take as long as they needed to create their plans. At that point, the contest to execute the plan would begin.

By Tuesday afternoon, the two Caucasian teams had checked in and were ready to begin the contest. The Native American group was still consulting among themselves. By Wednesday morning, the two earlier teams were commenting on the perceived inability of the last team to come up with a plan.  A few derisive remarks were heard.  Late Wednesday afternoon, the last team appeared with their project plan in hand.  Asked by a few puzzled and slightly disgruntled members of the other two teams, they explained their seeming lateness.  “Your team plans were put together with the underlying belief that the majority should always rule. As a result you finished the plan faster, but unique ideas that didn’t’ agree with the majority were set aside or just plain ignored. Our culture does not work like that.  We work through the plan until every member has contributed and adjustments are made to create a workable plan that has been thoroughly analyzed and laid out.”

It was true. The plan based on a thorough analysis and a fully involved and supportive team won.

Perhaps it is time to learn that the majority rule should be set aside for well thought out plans based on the intelligence of the entire group.  If I may state analogy, it is like taking the lowest bid. It does not mean the best materials or the highest workmanship will be used, it just means that the job is done more cheaply.