Life Is a Group Project - Sunday, August 16, 2015
At a recent high school graduation, the class valedictorian spoke of the most important thing he had learned in 13 years of public education. Among his many classes and extracurricular activities, one moment in particular stood out. His teacher had just divided the class into groups for a project that they would work on—and be graded on—as teams rather than individually. Sensing the students’ distaste for this approach, the teacher preempted their complaints by explaining, “Get used to working in groups because, in the end, life is a group project.”
We all value our independence, and we like to believe that we alone control our destiny. But the fact is that in every setting of life—at home, in the office, in every aspect of life—we depend on and work with others. No one is ever truly alone or completely independent. A strictly personal accomplishment, if there is such a thing, is less meaningful than one that both builds and draws upon the abilities of others. Truly, we need each other.
This doesn’t mean that working together always makes things easier. Group work is often more complicated than working alone. We have to navigate and negotiate different viewpoints, different talents, and different levels of commitment. We find that some would rather coast than contribute. Some seem to want more power and recognition; others just quietly roll up their sleeves and work hard. We learn to appreciate those with a positive outlook and helpful attitude. And we come to value the varied skills and perspectives that each person brings to the project.
No, working in groups does not make a project easier, but it does make it better. In fact, we often find that the contributions of the team members not only improve the finished product, they improve each team member as well. We come away from the experience more patient, more understanding of others’ perspectives—just overall better human beings. And after all, isn’t that the “finished product” that really matters?
Yes, a family, an organization, a community, even a nation is, in a sense, a group project. We each offer our part to accomplish worthwhile goals, to join together in common causes, and make life a little better for all of us.
-Lloyd D. Newell
Aug. 16, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,483
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
All Creatures of Our God and King
German hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg
All Things Bright and Beautiful
I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb
German melody; arr. Robert Cundick
Abide with Me
William H. Monk; arr. Shirae Telford
The Sound of Music, from The Sound of Music
Richard Rodgers; arr. Arthur Harris
Sing!, based on the Toccata, from Organ Symphony no.5
Charles-Marie Widor; arr. David Willcocks