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And The Answer Is...


When my husband and I were first dating, we used to go to a bar where they had electronic trivia. Each player would get their own controller and there would be multiple choice questions that were projected on the TVs. The sooner you entered your answer, the more points you could earn per question if you answered correctly. If you answered incorrectly, you didn’t get any points. The leaderboard was projected after each question. Here’s what you need to know. We are both competitive people who enjoy playing most games and pride ourselves on our knowledge of trivia. 

Fast forward to now. We have three kids who are also competitive, enjoy playing most games, and pride themselves on their knowledge of trivia (as I’m writing this, Howard and the boys are playing some form of Mario). We DVR Jeopardy and prefer to watch it when at least one other person is in the room. This is not because we band together, but because we want to outsmart the other person.

Two weeks ago, for the first time, Howard and I went with some friends to play trivia. We didn’t know how it would work but we were ready for anything. Once there, we learned that each table played as a team and so all six of us worked together to come up with the answers.


Before I tell you how it went, let me tell you about my childhood relationship with teams/groups. When I was a child, I started playing the violin in fourth grade. In the summer between fourth and fifth grades, I moved to a new school that didn’t have an orchestra. Though I continued to play via private lessons through college, since I never got to play with others, now that I’m an adult, I truly believe my ability to play was negatively affected. Bands, orchestras, and choirs are teams where each member grows better through the ability to interact with the collective. If you had asked at the time if I would have preferred to play in an orchestra with others, I probably would have said, “no.” Why? I would have feared I wouldn’t measure up. In this way, I would have allowed my fear of inadequacy to negatively affect my opportunity to grow.

Ironically, at the same time, with regard to academic learning, I didn’t like working in groups as a kid in school. I was someone who would do the work even if others didn’t. I cared about my work and I wanted it to be the best it could be. I’m sure there were probably people who didn’t like working with me because I probably could be bossy. I’m sure there were others who probably loved working with me because they could freeload and still get the same grade I got. 

I hope I have learned my childhood lessons and do not carry them with me as an adult. Today, one of the most important values I have is reciprocity. I want to be able to give as much as I receive and I would also like to get something in return. This is not about I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine,  but rather I’ve got you, you’ve got me, we’ve got we. 

I am surrounded by people who know more than I know, who can do things I cannot do, who are capable and caring and kind. I want to measure up to them and so I will do whatever I can to make sure they’re getting my best. When working on a team, I feel the need to roll up my sleeves and give it my all and I feel like I can exhale because being on a team means I do not have to be the smartest person in the room or know all the answers or always be the only one breaking a sweat; it means I can work interdependently to support everyone and that everyone is there to support me. Granted, not everything in life is a team sport. There are some hills only I can climb and only some battles that are only mine to fight. However, when there is the ability to work with others, I’ll be there sharing what I know and learning from others what I haven’t yet.


So, there the six of us were at trivia night and the first question required us to name the actress who played Maggie in the movie Wild Hogs. I have never seen that movie in my life and neither had Howard. If we were playing as just a team of two or by ourselves, we would have had to guess the answer. As it turned out, one of our teammates knew it was Marisa Tomei. Score–thanks to the team. Though I didn’t keep track of how many questions each person knew on their own or who contributed what, everyone contributed. Since we were a team, the goal wasn’t for each of us to know everything by ourselves; the goal was for at least one person on the team to know the answer.

If we played independently, we would have done all right and had we played as a team of just the two of us, we would have done even better than we could have on our own. As a team of six, we ended up placing second. Had someone on our team known which city in England is nicknamed the City of Dreaming Spires, we would have come in first place, but in order to have done that, we clearly needed a bigger team.


P.S. This past month I had the opportunity to once again hear a presenter who I have heard from in the past. She did not disappoint. Each and every time I hear her, I learn and add to my arsenal of knowledge. For this reason, Jasmine Kullar is this week’s Catch of the Week.  I strongly encourage you to contact Solution Tree to hire Jasmine to come to your school and speak with your teachers. If that’s not possible, here is the link so you can buy and read her books.  She’s the real deal and worth every moment of your time.

P.P.S. Please remember to...

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