About 7 years ago, a few of my dear friends decided to create a book club around a book I was reading at the time. Everyone purchased their own copy of the book and we began meeting periodically at each others home to have lunch together and to discuss the next chapter.
On one beautiful spring afternoon, we all meet on my porch to discuss the fourth chapter when it happened. I believe it was my friend, Jen, who cited a particular passage for all of us to discuss. When we arrived at the page she indicated, some of us were perplexed; we didn’t have that text on that particular page. We continued to search to see if perhaps we had a different version of the book, but to no avail. Ultimately, after some intense scrutiny, we discovered that many of us had the wrong book! We didn’t have a different version of the right book, we had a different book altogether! So it was clearly impossible for us to be on the same page as Jen! We, to this day, still laugh hysterically about our failed book club!
Many of us use the term, “being on the same page,” somewhat cavalierly, and especially as it relates to this pandemic. Much like my unsuccessful book club, being on the same page really means the exact same page—word for word—otherwise we may as well be 200 pages apart. Many of us say we are on the same page with this pandemic, but we are not. Assuming we are on the same page can be unintentionally insensitive and possibly even dismissive. Maybe it’s time to ask our team/family/friends a question about their page. Let’s start with, “How are you doing?” and then add, “What’s your biggest hurdle right now?” The key to both of those questions is what we do next, which should simply be to listen. Truly listen. And when we really HEAR their answer, we will be on the same page.
P.S. Thank you to my sister, Diane, for those wonderful questions she took the time to ask her college students. When a college professor takes the entire class time to find out how her students are feeling during a global pandemic, that’s when you know she’s worth her salt. Amazing!