Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Time over time.

Session with Small Group Gamma, 2011

One thing I can tell you is
you got to be free

Come together, right now
Over me.

~ The Beatles

There's this point where it all comes together for my small groups. Where the laughs become easier and the acceptance is so implicit that everyone has permission to speak freely and just . . .be freely.

I've never been able to put my finger on exactly when that happens in the small group dynamic. But I've been lucky enough to see it happen over and over again. When it has happened and you're in that sweet spot, you feel it, too. No one has to say anything. You just know.

I felt that last night.

Small Group Gamma, est. 2011

You know what? This is--hands down--my favorite part of the experience of being a medical student advisor. It is also arguably one of the main measures of any small group's success--that "come-together" point where everything just gels.

"So what's the key?" a colleague asked a few of us recently. That day, I wasn't really sure. I tried my best to describe this, the "come-together" point, but it kept coming out wrong. But yesterday evening while breaking bread and laughing out loud with my small group of fourth year student advisees, the light bulb came on. I remembered something I'd heard recently that underscores this perfectly.

Ah hah.

What does it take? It takes the same thing that any important, longitudinal relationship takes to be a success:

Time over time. Yes. That.

Putting in time and giving your time. . . . over time. Being present and checked in during that time. And building upon those moments over and over again until it morphs into something that can't be torn apart. That takes time. And consistency. And repetition. Over time. It does. Popping in for a drive-by moment when there isn't some demonstrable longterm commitment to the relationship or group doesn't work. Just like it isn't a so much of a tragedy to miss one session out of the many when you've been putting in good, rich time over the long haul.

And you know? I would say that this concept relates to how we treat ourselves, too. A person who is exercising regularly and making health-conscious choices on most days won't ruin anything by dropping their guard and having some fun on a vacation cruise. Conversely, the person who goes work out with a trainer for 45 minutes on Saturdays but eats with reckless abandon and doesn't move the rest of the days might as well hold their cash money up to a blowing fan and let it go. The ever present parent or spouse who is invested day after day will see those benefits. That time over time will mask the imperfections even when we feel terrified that they'll ruin everything. But really, isn't that what everything is about? Building lasting foundations for strong towers later? That's what I think.

Time over time.

Yeah. So if I answered that question today, I think I'd say that. Because this is what it takes. And everyone involved benefits when that happens. I know I have.

Time over time. 

That's it. That's all.

Happy Tuesday. Who is getting your time over time? Who isn't but should? Remember, that deserving person should include you.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .how 'bout some Beatles, y'all? You're welcome.


  1. At the risk of a double entry, I will say it again, because I don't think that published. I hope they know how lucky they are to have you as a mentor. Here's to kind and caring doctors and to you who show them the way.

    1. Thanks Mary Alice for trying again. I didn't get the first one, so I'm glad you were persistent. I am the lucky one. This I know for sure.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails