Sunday, June 13, 2010

Help Wanted: Facilitators

by Jo Floyd Lucas

As many of you might guess from knowing me, I consider my calling in life to be that of a ‘facilitator,’ and by that I mean, simply, ‘ one who serves to assist the progress of another person or a group.’ Although I used to think this a simple vocation requiring more instinct than intellect, I have recently come to realize that the skill set of patience, observation, respect, and awareness required of facilitators is rarer than I thought.

I think most good mothers are facilitators. We stand by as a neutral force, not taking sides in disputes (unless there is bloodshed), encouraging growth, keeping people on track, and giving guidance and encouragement when needed. We love to see people (especially of the little variety) accomplish their goals, and we love to see the larger group (families) cooperate and move forward.

In the corporate world, some executives are given the title of ‘Facilitator’. These executives go through weeks of training and make lots of money doing what mothers have been doing each morning just by trying to get the kids out the door and onto the school bus on time. Go figure.

Some of my life’s most fulfilling moments and some of my deepest personal relationships have sprung from simple gestures of facilitation. “How can I help?” is something I ask often. It’s short and sweet, it doesn’t offer a simple solution or wordy advice, and it requires more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. It fits almost any situation of any scope, from a child learning to tie her shoe, to a friend who has confided that her teenage daughter is pregnant. I’m always fascinated by the response to that four-word question. Many people are simply reluctant to verbalize what it is they need, and others need help even determining what they need, but a few have been just waiting for someone to come along and ask the question.

I've noticed that almost no one is comfortable these days in asking another for help. How did this happen to our society? We used to live interdependently with one another in communities of friends and neighbors. It was nothing to ask for a cup of sugar or to borrow a tool, or to even raise a barn if we needed it. Have we become so self sufficient that we are unable to ask for the help we need in order to solve a problem?

Whatever the reason, I think it’s high time the people at BP gathered a few good moms together to help facilitate a plan for cleaning up that awful oil gush in the gulf. I’m sure that an inexpensive and effective method would be implemented immediately.

Have you ever seen a mother go into action when she finds out the kids have invited the new neighbor over to say hi, and the house is a wreck? Oil spill or toy spill, that mess is cleaned up within minutes, making the most of each child’s abilities in a timely manner. And on a really good day, coffee is ready and cookies are on the kitchen table by the time the doorbell rings.

Oh, yeah, BP. Recognize you need help. Ask for it. Use a few facilitators. Call on a few good moms if you dare. Get the job done, already, and get it done right.

And even though I’m really, really, VERY angry at you for making such an awful mess, for the sake of my grandchildren, I will ask, “How can I help?"


  1. I agree completely! Everything about the oil spill makes me sick. I keep praying someone or someones can help turn it around. I believe in the power of mothers.

  2. I'm going to go get these Mothers

  3. Haha! Just let the moms take care of those mothers. Just for the BP execs, we'll use the moms that are gifted in bestowing guilt and shame and punishment upon those who screw up! :-)

  4. I only have one question Jo - how can I help?

  5. Awww...thanks for helping, Ricky...could you get a margarita at the bar for me please?

  6. Beautifully written Jo! I am angry also because after 55 days not much has been accomplished. The BP ads are a joke and Tony Hayward? Don't like him much either.

  7. Same here, Vicki. I saw a few website notifications last night from BP with the subtitle, 'See How BP is helping' and 'See How BP is helping to clean the gulf'


    arrrggggghhh. Now I need another margarita.

  8. Beautifully articulated, Jo. So many people would help if allowed.

  9. Thank you, Ronda. It just gets more frustrating by the hour. What will it take?

  10. I think President Obama should enlist Michelle to be the facilitator for the oil spill. She seems like a mom who could organize, clean it up, give time outs, take away toys and privledges, say "you are grounded!" and take names!
    Seriously, it is getting more sickening every day.

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