Overlooking Specks

1876 cover of Robert's Rules of Order , a book...

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Yesterday I mentioned Robert’s Rules of Order. It is a wonderful book if you want to be precise. If you want to be happy and not bent out of shape when you attend organizational meetings, and especially City Council Meetings (does not matter at all which city), you do not want to read any of it as the people running the meetings have not. Even the person known as the Parliamentarian rarely ever reads it.

In trying to make things run uniformly Robert created the rules and eventually not only were they published, but they were accepted as The Standard of parliamentary procedure. Robert was an engineer, and engineers tend to be precise. Often that is their problem. We tend to think of things in precise terms and want to have them compartmentalized so that they can be handled, or controlled. There is a motion for correcting actions that are not done properly, which can only accurately be used by one who knows the rules. Invoking this can make the person seem condescending or controlling, or sometimes just annoying and abrasive.

Engineers tend to be abrasive, not only because they try to be precise and correct, but because they boil things down to he base and point out inconsistencies. For my part, I have been known as being abrasive to other engineers. I don’t mention this because I’m proud, but because I recognize my own annoying characteristics particularly that of trying to correct what is wrong.

After reading Robert’s Rules of Order, I began to realize how few people knew how things were really supposed to run and took it as my job to correct and inform them. It did not take long before I realized the complete futility of this. Nowadays I try really hard to screw on my filter and not “fix” the problem. This in turn has helped in a few other areas as well, but sometimes it can go too far.

A few weeks ago in Sunday School, my teacher made a statement that I absolutely disagreed with, but I kept my mouth shut. When he mentioned that I was particularly quiet, it opened the discussion back on the point and completely changed the direction the class had been heading. As we walked out I went on disregarding the matter, thinking nothing more of it. The next week, everyone else had been studying and reviewing the matter, so we spent another week talking on the point.

Ignoring and accepting can be a great way to not get bent out of shape on the minor points of life, but when we extend it we run the risk of missing out on something much bigger and more important. Don’t compromise correctness merely for the sake of getting along

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