Monday, May 22, 2006

Supper Conversation

“We had a staff development day today.” I told the kids as we sat down to a nutritiously balanced meal of farmer sausage and Lipton’s Three-Cheese Pasta.
“What does that mean? That you didn’t do any work?” Drew wondered.
“Did you draw shields again?”
“No. This time we talked about values. Like, one of the questions we were asked was, if you were the general manager of a brand new pro sports team, would you spend a big chunk of your budget on an all-star top defensive player, top offensive player or an all-round player who is good both offensively and defensively.?”
“The goal scorer.”
“Hire the guy with goal scoring ability and lots of style.”
“Definitely the guy who can score goals.”
“I said the same thing. But Aklilu said no one advances to the playoffs without a solid defence…”
“Why did you pick the offensive guy, mom?”
“Defence does not sell tickets. As a general manager, your job is to make money…”
“Right,” agreed Clint. “That’s why I said you’d have to hire the guy who had a lot of style. Pizazz. Personality.
“You guys are more like me that you’d ever want to admit.”
“What was another question, mom?” Drew asked.
“OK. You are a bus driver. And you bus is full of children. You are on a windy mountain road and as you turn a corner, you see a child in the middle of the road ahead of you. You know there is no way you’ll be able to stop in time. What do you do? Stay on course and hit the child or swerve sharply knowing that you will likely go over the edge and into the ravine 300 feet below?”
“Why can’t you serve into the mountain?”
“Why is there a kid in the middle of the road on a mountain?”
“If the brakes had been checked, they should be good enough to stop.”
“What does “likely” mean? You will for sure? Or just maybe?”
“Do you know who the kid in the road is?”
“Maybe the kid on the road is already dead. Why else would he be there?”
“What’s the right answer, mom?” Drew asked.
“There is no right answer, idiot.” Clint said with little patience.
“We did the same thing at work. Tried to change the scenario.”
“So, what did everyone at work say?” Max asked.
“Well, Aklilu said it boiled down to one thing: do you view yourself as a murderer or a mass murderer?”
“What was your answer mom?”
“I couldn’t come up with one. Part of me thinks that instinctively I might swerve. But the other part of me knows that when I’m driving a truck full of kids, I am overly aware of the responsibility that I have undertaken and the trust that has been invested in me…so I might think first of all the kids I have on board and do whatever it takes to keep them safe.”
“What a stupid question. Who thought of that one? Did you each get to submit a question for discussion?” Clint asked.
“No. Steve got the questions from somewhere.”
“If I ran that meeting, I’d get everyone to think up a question.”
“Like the one you asked me yesterday…”
“Yes. THAT was a great discussion question. Sanka n I msned about it all evening.”
“What question?” Drew asked.
“What would you rather have – a tree that grows money or a magical garden that has one of every type of tree ever grown in the entire world.?”
“Money tree, right?” Drew suggested.
“NO. No way. Why would you want money? Think about it. One of every type of tree…How cool would that be? I thought about it last night. I was arranging them, like in different sections of a park or something.”
“I still think if you got a tree that grows money, you could use that money to buy one of every tree…” Max offered.
“You can’t buy trees like that. No. Forget the money. Think how awesome it would be to have all those trees. I kept thinking about it last night…imagining the layout.”
“Well, my question that I’d offer up for discussion at a staff day would be, which one would win in a fight – a rhinoceros hopped up on steroids or a lion?” Max said.
“Is the lion on steroids too?” asked Drew
“Uh, yeah.”
“Then I’d have to go with the lion…”

Real conversation. Thoughtful, meaningful answers.
Three whole minutes of dialogue.

Unfortunately they used up their whole week’s word quota at that meal.
Seconds later they were back to grunting while discussing imaginary battles involving pharmaceuticals in the animal kingdom.

“Which one? A grizzly bear hopped up on steroids or a coyote hopped up on steroids?”

No comments: