Ritual of the Quarter – September 2013

Olaf Krop

A veteran of over 1000 team, division, regional and international meetings and trainings, Board member Olaf Krop will, on a quarterly basis, bring to you a powerful ritual, ceremony or exercise.

Choosing the right activity for the result you want to produce

It’s important to know what results you intend to produce before you decide on a ceremony. When men make observations about other men on the team (“bringing their truth”) this builds team strength.  When men talk about their own experiences, this brings personal growth and insight.  When men participate in building something together, this strengthens the bonds between the men.  When men compete, it builds camaraderie and spirit.  Each has its place, and depending on the results you are looking for, choose an activity that delivers that result.

Growing Older, Growing Wiser

This ceremony builds intimacy and respect in the circle. It also allows men to “drop the mask” and bring their wisdom to the circle.  This exercise lasts at least 30 minutes. 

Setting: This ceremony should be done in a safe place, where men can reveal their true selves. Men should be in a circle and focus their attention on each other as each man speaks. Lighting a candle, ringing a bell or another act of “creating the space” is useful.

Intro (5 mins):  “We have learned a lot in our years on this planet. We have learned these things through experience, fucking up, and fulfilling our commitments. The pain and joy we have experienced in our lives have made us the men we are today. If we could get all of our lessons from books or seminars, we wouldn’t gain the true experience that real lessons have taught us. Each win, failure, tragedy, joyful experience and painful loss have forged us into the man we are today. The longer a man lives, the greater his experiences are, and the more he has to teach. In a moment, we will get a chance to reveal our experiences, and what we have learned from it. As each man speaks, listen for the experience and the joy or pain the man reveals. Listen for what you have in common.”

Ceremony: Each man will have the opportunity to reveal a life’s lesson from each decade of his life. The older a man is, the longer he will speak. This is out of respect for the man’s experience and wisdom. The men are asked a series of questions. They have one minute or less for each answer. The questions are:

  1. Please reveal the best thing about each decade of your existence. 
  2. Reveal the greatest pain you suffered in each decade of your existence. 
  3. Reveal the most significant lesson you learned in each decade of your existence. 

Begin by asking the youngest man the questions first. Ask each question after the man as answered the previous one. This keeps things going on track. If there is time, adding this part to this exercise reveals how well they know and care about each other:

  1. Ask the other men what they have learned from this man (30 seconds each)
  2. What lesson(s) the man still has in front of him (30 seconds each)

Closing: (2 mins) Acknowledge the men’s truths, and challenge them to put the lessons they learned into action. 

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