Friday, November 28, 2008

Talking about BnT Toastmasters Club Values: THE DIVERSITY THAT IS BNT

Different Jokes for Different Folks

American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead has this to say about diversity: "If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.” I’d like to think that BnT is a club where a gamut of potentialities exists and that in this melee of personalities, temperaments, worldviews, and talents, every member finds a fitting place.

One of my favorite parts of a BnT meeting is the part that happens after the meeting. When a motley group of people who still have not had enough of each other gather round little tables at Starbucks. Sheila orders some exotic, minty tea; Ed grabs something more substantial, which combines carbohydrates and protein; Mar digs into something sweet; and Boom has his order and a bit of everybody else’s. Such diversity also sparks jovial ribbing, with some undeserving person becoming the butt of jokes. But once in a while, we rise above the chatter and come up with great ideas to make our club better. No one holds a monopoly of bright ideas as one adds on to another’s suggestion. Then brilliance happens. That chemistry is something close to magic. And one of the main ingredients of the magic brew is diversity. One of the many things I love about BnT.

The new members that come in are not mini-me’s of the old ones. They are people who probably would not be my friends in a different milieu, mainly because they’re more than a decade younger. But I’m glad they’re in the club. They give me hope and visions that this club will survive many years because it provides a fitting, motivational place to house a gamut of potentialities.

NASA Astronaut Donald Williams talks about seeing the Earth from space: “The experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us.” In a way, BnT is a microcosm of that world that world Williams describes. Different folks overcoming differences, sharing the love of learning, public speaking, leading, and joking around.

- Gege Sugue

1 comment:

Boom said...

Great article, Madame President!

Now, let's not forget how Pat used the coffee stirrer as a straw! ;)

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