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Call the question, will ya?

January 29th, 2017 by stephanie

When I first moved to Nashville, in an attempt to meet more people and at the encouragement of my grandmother, I joined a club. Those people were a wonderful group who not only became friends, in time they became like family. We shared many happy and amazing memories together, and there were moments where we had the privilege of experiencing and witnessing some very historic events.

But to my point. I ended up on the board of this illustrious group and I must admit, many times their talents and abilities left me feeling quite inadequate. Not only could they debate, quite well, they knew Robert’s Rules of Order. Parliamentary Procedure was something I had heard of often in my life, but as to what it truly was, or how to follow it in a meeting? I had no clue!

At some point, during any of our meetings, there would always be a moment when someone would “Call the question.” For years, that term alluded me. We are sitting here discussing a decision that needs to be made and people are arguing both sides. What on earth is the question? I would think to myself. My brain just couldn’t seem to wrap around the meaning. Those were my thoughts. Until lately.

The power of that simple “rule” hit me recently. Isn’t it funny how years later, dots just seem to connect and things that once weren’t clear suddenly make sense? Yeah, that happened.

So, Calling the Question? It’s a moment in discussion that is truly a remarkable blessing given to civilized nations.

Basically: when discussing a topic, at some point, debate needs to end. You need to agree to end the debate and move toward the vote. You vote to end the discussion. Then, after the vote, that is when you ask the question: “Will we or won’t we do, or agree to, this or that?”

In regards to the topic at hand, you are asking which of the two options on the table are best. Unfortunately, when these rules aren’t followed, one person in the room usually ends up pushing their opinion and demanding their way. Or, pouting when they don’t get it.

These days, we could use a bit of decorum, or at least a return to structure, in our conversations or dialogues. It seems we have forgotten how to share our point of view in a pleasant or positive way. Protocol or discernment seems to be a way of the past. But more importantly, rather than asking questions, people just state their opinions. No one “asks” the other person to explain. Then, allows them the time and dignity to do so.

What has truly been lost is looking at an entire situation at hand, weighing the facts on both sides, having healthy debate, then, deciding what is the best decision…for the good of the order. “Should we go with Option A or is Option B best at this point in time?”

I’m reminded of situations in my life where I wish I would have asked for more facts before rushing to judgment, or where I wish the person angrily sitting across from me had acquired some truthful information before making their attack on me.

You may know what I’m talking about. You may even be in the middle of a situation at this time that drives this lesson home or at least brings it to mind.

All Ears!

With that, let’s commit this week to:

  • Not jumping the gun before truly looking at the facts,
  • Not pushing our viewpoint on someone before we ask for the other side,
  • And not blocking out or ignoring the opposing party when it’s their turn to talk.
  • Then, once all of the facts are on the table, and all sides have thoroughly been heard…

—let’s call the question.

The best answer, at that point, might actually surprise us.

—Just my thoughts.

S.

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And thanks!

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