I went shopping
for some gifts for my grandsons a while ago. I went to the store that sells Dungeons and Dragons to talk with them about an introductory game to give my grandson. I expected it to be sort of gothic and scary. It wasn't at all. The guy behind the counter told me that he had started playing as a teen. He was raised in a Southern Baptist household that was very conservative. His mother had burned his books as being from Satan. Of course he still played. Then many years later, his younger brother
who is 16 years younger got to be a teen and wanted to learn. His mom called him for a consult. They all played together and had a wonderful time.
We decided on an introductory game for Andrew. And then he said maybe I should get the rule book as well. I noticed that there was a rule book bundled with a Dungeons and Dragons for Dummies. I thought, AHA, I could get that and then I could play with him. I thought it was a board game. The guy explained that it is really about story
telling. So, off I went with my treasures in the turquoise plastic bag. Not black, and no scary symbols.
When I got home, I sent an IM to Jim. Jim used to be the liaison for the men’s list and is a grand master or something in the D&D system. I don't really know specifically but I know he goes to conventions and wins prizes. I asked him if this was an ok thing to be doing or if I would get in trouble with my daughter. He said, no, no it is wonderful. It is all about stories
and characters. I said, *Oh, like imaginative play for guys?* He said, yah.
I told him that I looked at the rule book and it was a little intimidating. I wasn't sure that I could learn it. But then I thought it was sort of like the program. When we start, it feels incomprehensible with all the nuances and details. But we just start with one thing and learn that. And then learn the next.
The Jim said, *just remember, Kathleen, it is not the rules that are
important, it is the story.*
Well that just about knocked my socks off.
I think that is true for the program too.
In the last few weeks, we have been talking about what doing a fine program means.
We have been talking on our leadership team list to explore what quality program means.
As Jim said...it is not the rules, it is the story.
The story...the recovery story. What is the
quality of my life? How are my relationships? What is happening with my creativity? Is my program a joy, a support, nourishing and delightful? Does the habituation support me? Do I want skill, grace and excellence? When I was at the lunch eating some white rice, I was paying such attention to the PEOPLE, how they had grown, who they were, who they were connected to, how their programs were flourishing. Stuff like that.
Now, I know that this idea is a little different from what
some of you have felt the PROGRAM is. But I want you to consider that THE program is not a monolithic mandate. It is a guidance for YOU to determine what works for you. And to understand what is behind the recommendations.
I know we will keep talking about this. I also know that the ability to tolerate ambiguity is one of the things that grows as we do. If the *rules* are not the issue, but the story is, it makes it way harder. Because then you have to listen to your own
story and stand with it.
What a wonderful challenge.
It is not the rules, it is the story.