How We Function

Just as a midwife creates a safe space for birth to occur, aTLC:

  • Holds a vision and creates a "space" with clear intention;
  • Accepts people where they are and honors them;
  • Protects children, their families, and the family environment;
  • Encourages discernment in assessing whether a presenting problem can be self-correcting or requires intervention;
  • Takes action when necessary by employing "skillful" means.

How We Operate

While much of our work is done with conference calls, we recognize that complex decisions benefit from periodic in-person presence among board members. At board meetings where we are physically together, we strive to:

  • meet in environments that are comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and put us at ease;
  • meet and work in small groups;
  • allow sufficient time to enable us to work without undue stress and nourish our bodies, mind, and spirits;
  • seek ever-deepening levels of respect, trust, synergy, inspiration, and cooperation;
  • seek to be fully "present" in our bodies and centered in our hearts, and employ processes that help bring that about;
  • sit in a circle, the oldest form for human gatherings, which sets the tone for all our interactions

For our board meetings, including conference calls, we strive to:

  • begin with personal sharing, "check-ins" that might include what's gone on in our life since we last met or spoke, how we feel personally, and how we feel in relation to the group;
  • make appropriate use of electronic technology, including computers, projection systems, speaker phones, conference calling; pay attention to the pacing of working sessions, ensuring that the rhythm, energy, and natural impulses of the group support individuals in being fully present and in-heart;
  • accommodate the group's process and agenda to members' personal needs, whenever feasible;
  • make clear agreements and, when we recognize a broken agreement (such as starting time), renegotiate accordingly;
  • remember that people do their best in an atmosphere of physical, emotional, and psychic spaciousness;
  • actively listen to each other, being respectful of widely divergent feelings, opinions, beliefs, and creative processes/styles;
  • ensure that anyone who is communicating strong feelings or emotions is fully heard and seen;
  • assume that anything mentioned is important (just as we believe that whatever a child does has meaning);
  • when addressing concerns, allow space and time to shift to a new level of understanding by intentionally sitting in the "tension field" (which may be uncomfortable but keeps us
  • from missing subtle aspects or rushing to conclusions);
  • frequently pause to re-center and re-establish resonance with each other;
  • remember that the way we are being together is as important as what we are doing;
  • hold the intention and develop processes to work creatively with oppositional energy, breakdowns, and differing points of view, which are indicative of a larger picture that is trying to emerge;
  • support each other at whatever level we can contribute at any given time, and accept that each of us has another life with its surprises and demands;
  • recognize our individual needs for collegial association, personal contact, and a passionate desire to participate in an uplifting mission;
  • co-create a loving, fun, joyous, responsible, "functional" family;
  • take ourselves lightly and our mission seriously;
  • recognize that life that is full of mystery and that at times we may experience the fear as well as the excitement inherent in challenging and changing existing cultural norms;
  • act responsibly toward our environment and step lightly upon the earth.

How We Make Board-level Decisions

We make decisions via true consensus processes based upon the conditions stated above. We are growing into a concordance model-using the concepts of inclusion, control, and openness (the work of Will Schutz, PhD, and CT Butler's Formal Consensus):

  • We rotate facilitation, leadership, and consider ourselves to be "leaderful";
  • We communicate ideas and concepts in a direct, straight-forward manner;
  • We reference back to the larger group by holding conference calls to include those who could not be present and by keeping their points of view in mind as we work;
  • We pay attention to sequencing: sometimes we work backwards from our understanding of an endpoint;
  • We make our ideas practical and useful for day-to-day experience;
  • We check our process to determine if we have come to a conclusion by asking, "Are we ready for consensus?";
  • When we think we are approaching consensus, we ask each person if they can give a clear affirmation by stating the word "Yes" rather than a head nod, saying "yup," or some other variant;
  • We understand that our decisions and the concrete things we put forth are works-in-process and are open to change.