Thursday, June 23, 2011


You know, I wrote two months ago about how humans are one of the most social animals on earth. We are. But, in talking with my wife just a few moments ago, I could hear her listening to the "Tree By The River" song from my post the other day, and I got to thinking about how the ideas from the two posts are related: we are social animals indeed, but our social bonds are like invisible threads that provide us with meaning and richness ... kind of like how the invisible threads between the notes and beats in a song make it more rich and beautiful than each would be on their own.

Tonight, however, I can't help but observe how disjointed and disconnected our society/culture is. I'm not saying I know how we can do it better, but MAN! Surely we can thread some things better, no?

* I've had the news on for over an hour and there's nothing connecting the stories into a meaningful whole. It's just random story after random story and – when the hour ends – then what?

* Hospitals (like most large institutions) are utility-based, not people-based, and now that Gabrielle has moved up 3 floors (from ICU back to oncology), we'll not see anyone we've spent time with the past week, but are re-united with the oncology staff who we said goodbye to a couple weeks back, yet we won't see anyone here at the hospital once we go home.

* To help people endure their tough times and/or uncompromising realities, we remove them from their homes and communities and put them in treatment centres, old-folks homes, mental institutions, etc.

* Which makes sense because – with a few exceptions – we've lost the age-old-art of inviting neighbours over for cocktails or tea, or hosting block parties, and nobody - like NO ONE - lives amongst the people they work with on a day-to-day basis.

* Which makes me wonder if any of us even know (or care) when the person living 3 doors down from us is moved to a treatment centre, or an old-folks home, or a mental institution? Our friends, family members, and co-workers definitely wouldn't because ... well ... they wouldn't even know the person you lived 3 doors down from.

* But heck, we don't even challenge the kids in our schools to think about how what they learned in biology relates to what they learned in literature, or math to religion, or fitness to chemistry ... and we wonder why no one learns anything in school!?

Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I get why things are the way they are in a practical sense: specialization and division of skill and labour; realities of large populations centres; collective desires for privacy and the ensuing urban planning and transportation requirements; etc.

But on a night like tonight, when Gabrielle and I are so far removed from Amy and the boys who are at home (and removed from everyone who has been so incredibly supportive through this for that matter), I can't help but observe these things and wonder what we can do to somehow thread ourselves better ... especially considering how natural it is, and how well it works when we do.


  1. Well said Regan, and I will be waiting to read your book when you get published, you write so well!!!!

  2. Regan,

    Have you ver read Margaret Wheatley's "Leadership and the New Science"? In it she talks about interconnectedness between people and how it creates almost a magnetic field arounda building or organization. Each interaction between people either generates energy or takes some away. This is the same as the threads you are talking about.

    I think that's part of what makes BCCH so amazing is the web of positive realtionships. The culture of any successful organization is defined by these connections, and now with bloga and web 2.0 tools we can greatly broaden our threads of influence.

    Thank you for the invisible threads this morning
    - Kyle

  3. @ Nadia, that sounds like fun! and thanks for the kudos.

    @ Kyle, the book sounds fascinating, and thanks for the rec. Yeah, I totally agree about the web of positive relationships at BCCH and likely all Children's hospitals ... likely because ... well .. everything starts with kids. And they're just so full of love and trust and innocence. It totally makes sense. Look forward to reading it! Thanks again.