The Invitation

One of the most powerful conversations I’ve had in memory took place in the food court of a mall beside the Gesundbrunnen station in Berlin three years ago.

I was in Berlin for PirateBox Camp, and my friend Martina was passing through the city and had a few hours to spend between trains, so we arranged to meet and catch up.

One of the things Martina and I talked about was my work with PEI Home and School Federation, and our work to engage parents and guardians in education, and we talked about the importance of the invitation: the how and the why and the who, and the tone and the spirit and the logistics. It was an all-too-quick conversation that could have continued for the rest of the day, but it was a conversation that’s raised my awareness in the years since in ways that have been quite helpful.

I thought of that conversation today when I was reviewing the results of a survey I emailed out this morning to people who were invited to come to a barbecue that we organized for those involved in education and learning.

One of the questions on the survey was “did you come?” and if someone checked “no,” we asked “why not?”

Here’s one response to that question:

I had planned to be there but our round baler broke down and we didn’t finish our silage till after the BBQ was over:(

and then, later, to the question “What could we do better?”:

It would be better to have it an hour or two later in the day. For farmers in the summer there are a lot of afternoons that we are busy doing hay so a 6 is easier to get to than a 4.

These are things that never occurred to us when we were planning the event and considering the invitation; I’m so glad we decided to follow up and ask, so that we can do better next time.