Thursday, January 21, 2021

One Giant Group Project

One of the things I do miss about working is the energy of the students who served as our interns and paid students. I was thinking about this, about the world we are leaving to the generations behind us and the words of one young woman, a student working in my department, came to mind.


One night, after a screening, I drove her back to her dorm, as it was late and pouring rain. We were talking school and projects, the frustration of group projects and then she said, "But then, life is one big group project." 


One big group project. True enough, isn't it?

We may do our world solo, appreciating the autonomy that comes with making our own decisions and operating on our own schedules. But sometimes we all need a little help -- whether it comes in the form of actual assistance or through the support of others who are on our side, urging us on to achieve our goals.


The group project concept crosses a number of areas. Take your creative soul, for example. I speak only for myself, but I find that when I can work and create as part of a group, I tend to discover new things more quickly, fall back less on old (and sometimes poor) habits and take chances I might not do on my own.


I love a class situation when a bunch of people who may or may not start out knowing one another end up encouraging and suggesting or asking for your constructive advice. There is something organic about how, during the course of creativity, conversation and ideas flow -- sometimes related to the project at hand, sometimes completely off topic -- but valuable.

It is almost as though by the very act of creating in company, something in the brain opens up to be receptive to all around us, whether it is the seasoned advice of an expert instructor or the casual comment of the person beside you -- "What if you moved that a little to the right?"


And while I have to say that while my creative work is my own, every piece, every photo, every word owes a debt to someone, someplace in time. Someone who encouraged, guided, taught, praised, questioned or listened.


The same holds true of just about everything in life. If you have a walking buddy, you might be more likely to get out and walk each day. If you're taking a class that's difficult, having a study partner can help clear some of the fog. I know I never would have come through my two semesters of statistics in grad school without my study group pal, Tom. The bonds forged through those cold winter days of trying desperately to get my brain around something so alien forged a lifelong friendship.


Group projects were a factor of my everyday life when I was still working. With every television show you watch, every event you attend, there are far more people at work than you can imagine -- far more than are "seen" by the general public. You see the television show. But it is the product of not only on-screen talent, but the director, audio and video crews, the graphics specialist, the writer, the editors and more. And the fact one knows about the program it at all may be related to what I did, with communication and promotion.

Rick is dealing with a giant group project right now. His partners in this will be his four brothers and no doubt me, their wives, his mom's medical team, his mom and her friends. All will need to work together, sharing tasks and ideas to determine how to handle the living situation after she is released from rehabilitation. This "project" will be taking place from five households thousands of miles away, as his four brothers are spread out over four states, none in which is where she lives. It will not be easy, not everyone will agree and there will probably be tears. But ultimately, everyone must come together for a common purpose -- the best care and situation for this dear woman whose life was turned upside down with one fall.


l look at our world and domestic situation and as usual, my mind goes to Covid. Can you think of any greater group project than that of developing a vaccine for a virus that has affected millions worldwide? And they pulled together, doing this in record time.


Now it is up to us to get our vaccinations, wear our masks, keep our distance and stop the spread. It's our giant group project and together we may not be able to make it disappear -- no miracles there -- but we may be able to get a handle on it so we can go out to dinner -- inside -- or hug each other and those little munchkins who are growing up so fast in front of our eyes. Or rather, on Zoom or Facetime. 


This is our collective group project -- probably one of many, including healing our country. What are some of yours?

51 comments:

William Kendall said...

Very well said!

crackercrumblife said...

Life is one big group project. So very very true.

My dad got his first vaccine! My mom is still waiting. I can't wait until the day we can all hopefully be together again. This is all so hard.

Laurie said...

What an inspirational post, Jeannie you are always such a positive person, it’s a joy to visit you. Your Mum raised all those sons , what a handsome family, I hope she makes out well and I hope you all have a gentle journey,,

DUTA said...

The picture of the mother and her sons is priceless!
Pity none of them lives close to her.
Distance, in my life experience - is a great 'killer' of relationships, even within the family.

Martha said...

Another very beautiful and thoughtful post. You sure do have a way with words Jeanie. I hope all works out well for Rick's mom. That a very difficult situation.

Prims By The Water said...

What a great inspiring post! Janice

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

A well written, thoughtful, positive post, Jeanie! My heart goes out to Rick's mom and the whole family. Elder care can be complicated, rewarding, exhausting, thankless... the whole gambit. Is she well otherwise? I'm beginning to understand what goes into communication and promotion, as that is the route my daughter has undertaken and is currently working on. Have a good weekend, Jeanie! -Jenn

My name is Erika. said...

This is a thoughtful post. And makes such a good point too. None of us are really on our own, are we? My next partner project is working on painting my living room and redoing my stairs. Getting rid of much needed to be replaced carpeting. I couldn't do that alone, but maybe I need to get the hubby to read this post first. About the group work part that is. Smile. Have a great end of your week Jeanie. Hugs-Erika

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

We need each other so much in all that we do. You have pointed that out so beautifully in your post. Many hugs to you and Rick's family as you all decide how to best take care of his mother's recovery.

Anonymous said...

You've had so many rich and interesting life experiences it would be fun to be on any group project with you. Although I don't envy Rick's project with his brothers. My husband was in the same situation with his mom's care except for only one of his four brothers lived far away. Not an easy time of life!

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Jeanie,
Interesting point of view.... I have never taken a class or done a group craft. Never had the time to do something like that. I am good with working alone and I do my best work alone...I have also found that as a nurse, it is best to take care of your own patients and not rely on others because you know the job is done and it is done right. Even now, Joe asks if I need help with anything and I tell him no because i would rather do it myself....I do agree that the group project for this country is everyone doing their part to fight Co Vid. I guess I am just used to being on my own..Thanks so much for stopping by!!
Hugs,
Deb

Mae Travels said...

Intriguing idea... the one flaw is that the assigned projects in school classes are often far removed in spirit and in organization from the real-life projects that involve collective effort. I guess in every project there's the potential for a participant to be cynical and take advantage of the others, as well as for the idealistic way of acting. It's just more painful when it's an assignment.

It all boils down to the philosophic conundrum known as "The Prisoner's Dilemma."

be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

Well said, you are an inspiration! I wish Rick's Mom a speedy recovery and I am sending prayers and good wishes you and Rick's family. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy weekend!

mel said...

So true -- you've captured this idea so well. I miss the energy of people working together, especially creatively. Oh, how I'd LOVE to attend a group art class....*sigh*

I must admit, I used to hate group work in school...but that was only because of the one person who would slack off and leave the rest of us doing all the work, which would offend my sense of justice....hmmmm...not unlike some people's reaction to the pandemic :D. Looking at it that way, school group-work was a pretty accurate metaphor for real life lol

creativeseconds.com said...

Fantastic post! you really got me thinking and it's still early in the AM so that's good! I hope that all goes well for Ricks Mom and everyone puts her best interests first ~ Blessings on your week ~ Love, Karen

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I don't think of myself as being involved in "group" projects, but in reality I am. I will look forward to the time when we can monitor our Barn Swallows again, something that would be very difficult without help from others, meet again as a naturalists club, mentor the Teens club, and so on. These are all group projects whether I think of them as such, or not. Not.a group project, but a humorous sideline I think - Friends of ours are sorting out stuff in their house in preparation for a move to a condo and they dropped off some fabric yesterday for Miriam. Marg said to me, "I have lost count of the number of times we have had to meet with two metres between us, but you owe me at least twenty hugs!" I think that will be a group project that she and I can get right into!

Rita C at Panoply said...

I wish all the best to Rick and his siblings for what will, undoubtedly, be a very challenging project. The value of group work effort cannot be overstated, nor can the detriment for those who do not work together. I am so happy to say I was able to get 5 family members 65 and older on a waitlist with a Wed call for appts for vaccines with our county health dept's clinics this week. All 5 got called for no shows yesterday (!) and have their first vaccines under the belt!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

When I worked at the library I loved organizing events that required a group, from patrons to staff, seniors, children. I love collaboration. In teaching art, I also collaborated with other teachers. Am finding my one art group on Zoom right now is giving me meaning and inspiration. I think interacting here, though I don't correspond with many, also gives that inspiration Your blog, definitely inspires and provokes thought.! On the national level you can see group efforts now, as opposed to someone who wasn't wired to work cooperatively.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Thoughts go to you all in the. care giving plan. How wonderful that there is a family group...

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, we do need each other. I can’t imagine living to one’s self and not feeling a need for others to speak into our lives. I hope all goes well with the decision making for Rick’s mom. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Iris Flavia said...

A wonderful post. Sad you´re spread all over the country, I hope you can make it work and have a wonderful "project", even if there will be tears.
Oh, do I miss seeing my family now. How long will it be?
All the best wishes from here xx

La Table De Nana said...

She is a fortunate mom to have you all.I bet she is ..was ..a great mom!!
When I did learn "En groupe"..it felt wonderful to me:)Oh such a feeling.
Not work en groupe lol..but learn and play at a craft en groupe.

Joanne Huffman said...

Sending very positive thoughts to Rick's mom for her care and recovery. You're right about the inherent need for group gatherings and projects.I miss them very much.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Love this thoughtful post. You are so right. I really hated group projects in college and grad school because the work fell on so few people and I felt like I did the lion’s share of the work. But real life group projects are better because hopefully everyone is invested in the success of the project and cares about those in the Group. That has not been the case with Covid sadly. A lot of people have just given up or didn’t try at the start and that has made me very mad! But I know there are plenty who are doing their part. And of course I have so much respect and admiration for our scientists!

Raising a child is a group project but less of one during Covid when we can’t see family and friends. But Phil and I share the work during normal times with family and friends who will help shape our boys into the men they will be!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Beautifully written. Life is one group project.

gigi-hawaii said...

No man is an island. We all need one another. I think it is marvelous that Rick's mother has so many family and friends to help her after her fall. I hope she recovers and does well.

Victoria Zigler said...

This isa beautiful andinspirational post. Good luck to Rick and his siblings - and their partners and extended family - on their newest life group project, though I'm sorry for the person involved that she now has to become such a project, especially knowing from personal experience how frustrating it can be having your ability to do some of the things you used to do taken away from you.

Divers and Sundry said...

A thought-provoking concept and touching example.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Beautiful words at the right moment
Thank you

Mereknits said...

Very well said my friend. I wish Rick and his family the best as they travel this tough road with his Mom. I have been there with both of my parents and it is not easy. Stay safe.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

You have touched upon so many good points here, jeanie. We all need each other, even those of use who claim to be able to get on quite well alone. While my husband and I have been able to cope and do things independently for so many months now, we do have each other should the need for a "group" activity with just two arise. It seems that the family will be working together to make things easier for Rick's mom and it's good that the siblings and their extended families can do this even from distances.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I love my blogging community and I consider them a big group project. I learn more than I give and I am more grateful than I ever show. I hope Rick's mom gets the kind of care she needs, because this is our future fate, too, I fear. Great post, dear Jeanie.

BTW, I always watch the credits of any show. That's often where the real talent is. From the costume designer to the location manager to the best boy, all play an important part in any show, even the late night talk shows.

Bonnie said...

You are so wise my dear Jeanie. I am so sorry Rick's mother fell and now needs help. I am sure that all of you will find the best solution.
I was moved by your statement that "your creative work is your own but every piece, every photo, every word owes a debt to someone, someplace in time.Someone who encouraged, guided, taught, praised, questioned or listened." To me, that is a profound statement.
Community is important. We have missed that very much during Covid. Blogging and for me, Instagramming have helped me have contacts with a community. However, I have missed going to my church, having lunches and dinners with friends, and even seeing family as often as normal. I can't wait for those things to be possible again.
I certainly do my part wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home. It is distressing to see SO MANY not doing those things.
I have been behind blogging and have missed reading your blog. Thanks for popping in on mine(as you know I don't blog very regularly). Can't wait to get a COVID vaccine.

Sami said...

Wonderful post as always Jeanie. I totally agree with you, when I was part of an art group when I lived in Portugal, somehow I painted more and loved the interaction and getting to know all those that participated. I don't seem to have the same incentive to paint art on my own, but I find that I'm ok painting furniture, but I still ask for opinions from two other friends who also paint furniture.
Such a lovely photo of Rick's Mom with all her sons. Hope they all co-operate to look after her.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

You certainly have a good team there to put together the needed care package. Not an easy thing, but in these days of Covid the challenge is greater. Hope you get your vaccines soon, they've started here in my village this week.

Waving~~~Deb in Wales

Pam said...

If anyone ever took a good hug for granted then I am hoping they are looking at it differently these days! Not sure when and if the world will ever be righted again. If not COVID, there is politics if not politics there is going to be something else. I am tired, tired of being careful going out, tired of walking on pins and needles...its all totally nuts. I however decided that my thoughts on a lot of all this don't matter, people are going to feel what they feel and what I feel means nothing and most don't care to hear it so....I am keeping my mouth shut esp on FB.....

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Good Afternoon Dear Jeanie,
Such a lovely, heartfelt and wise post.
My motto just as yours must be too, is all for one and all for one. I have always believed in the power of love and community for one another.
Looking forward to spending time with friends and creating with them too.
Jemma

Ricki Treleaven said...

I truly miss collaboration or group projects in person. I'm the only extrovert in my family, and ZOOM just doesn't cut it for me! Trump did an excellent job with operation warp speed, now if the states would cooperate, we could well be on our way to herd immunity. Alabama has been a Charlie Foxtrot with the vaccine roll-out because they first set up phone lines that jammed. Then someone finally got the idea to create a website. It's a mess (not a fan of our governor). We have been praying for our country to heal on my other blog, and we need to stop all the division because that's what politicians want: they want us divided so we aren't paying attention to their bad decisions! ;P
I hope your MIL heals quickly. Keep us posted about the collaboration!

Evi Erlinda said...

This year I have started new group projects, most the time by zoom but we still need to do some part by face to face. Everyone wears mask.

The French Hutch said...

I know you and Rick will rise to the occasion for doing your part with his mom. It will be a challenge for sure with everyone scattered. We've been doing the same thing helping with my mother-in-law. I think group projects makes the world go round.
Hope you are enjoying the weekend Jeanie..........

Marilyn Miller said...

Definitely one I am involved with also. Well said!

Lisbeth @ The Content Reader said...

Wonderful to be inspired by a group of friends. It sometimes makes the whole difference. Alas, this is not for now, but hopefully, we will soon be able to meet in person an inspire each other.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Oh, to be able to be creative in groups again! I love that blue cat btw :D

Hena Tayeb said...

You are so right.. very well said. It's not about me, me, me.. or the blame game. It's about coming together as a community, as a country and working together to get through this.

Arti said...

What an interesting idea and with much relevance today. We can't make it alone. Reminds me of 'it takes a village' not just for kids, but adults too. Thanks for sharing all these beautiful 'projects' of yours. :)

Sandra Cox said...

Life is a group project--I love it!

Jenny Woolf said...

I've found lately that it's hitting me how we can't mingle any more. Mind you I'm really, really grateful that we have Zoom. What I think is so nice about groups is that other people can often figure out a way through issues that have been bothering me for hours! Some of that artwork you are doing in the photos looks very nice, by the way.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such a thoughtful post, I enjoyed it.

It is true we all need to be part of a group, we learn more, become more rounded if we have interaction within a group. One thing that concerns me is the fact that our grandchildren are not at school at the moment, although the schools are providing excellent home schooling it is not the same as being with your class mates and teachers. I am hopeful that this may be able to change soon as the Covid vaccination is being rolled out.

The photograph of Mom with her sons is wonderful, and I am so sorry that she had a fall and the family are now having to arrange care for her. I pray they will be successful, I'm sure they will.

In the meantime enjoy these last few January days, the month does seem to have passed by quickly.

My good wishes.

All the best Jan

Pamela said...

Well put. This is a giant collective group project.

Barb said...

Yes, Jeanie, life is definitely a group project. Those of us who receive and accept group guidance are lucky indeed. Any leader must depend on the group and both guide and be guided by it.

Pam said...

Meant to tell you I love that LIGHT....cute.

Popular Posts