Friday, May 11, 2007

Pointless Meetings

I get to sit through a lot of these. In fact during the last full week in May I get to travel for four hours and sit through three days of them.

I guess I'm not being fair. The meetings really aren't pointless; they're simply ridiculously long. Most of the time I get paid to do this and I work with very nice people who genuinely enjoy their jobs. I simply don't enjoy mine as much and am really not "process oriented"--I want to make the decision and move on with my life, not discuss it for several hours.

Saturday I get to sit in a regional church organizational meeting/training. This is so I can be certified to take teens on trips (that alone should qualify me for an insanity plea). Obviously I don't get paid for this meeting. My complaint really isn't with the requirement, but the process. This is a four hour session.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why it would take four hours to tell us not to compromise ourselves or put children at risk by being alone with them, not to do anything other than hug them, to never close the door in a church classroom while working with groups of children. Never to follow a boy into the boys' bathroom if a woman, and never follow a girl into the bathroom if one is man. Never help a child disrobe--call a parent for that--etc. I've been told there is a lot of statistical quotes and stories of what happened when someone didn't follow this common sense advice. Four hours worth though? How long does it take to say "Don't"?

I wonder if I can bring something to read and sit in the back.


Scotty said...

Meetings, bleeeech, I hear ya, Mary; my last one was a waste of three hours of my life and that's despite the fact I get paid overtime to attend if it falls on my day off.

As for the other; maybe it's because there are just so many ways for interaction with kids to be misconstrued that they're just being cautious? What seems common sense to one person might not seem so obvious to another and the organisers are just being sure that they cover as many possibilities/scenarios as they can. It's a minefield, isn't it?

Mary O. Paddock said...

They handed us ten pages of do's and don'ts, read them with us, role-played (ick, by the way) and games that involved defining scenarios by standing under a word taped to a wall, based on the scenario read to us (The words were: "Hostile Environment", "Sexual Harrassment", "Seductive Behavior", "Sexual abuse" "Neglect" and a couple of others). We watched a video narrated by a tearful woman who had been abused as a child by a church member (very, very sad--the abuser should be in prison) which segued into more footage concerning church insurance companies and the number of people suing churches. And so on and so on. This is why it took four hours.

I think the training is extemely important, and I think education concerning the safety measures we're required to take make perfect sense. but I don't think all the games are (and god knows the we didn't need the role-playing).