In the immortal words of Midge Field, “I had heard the word lit before, but I never truly understood the meaning of it.” Today we learned. We began our challenge the night before when we sat down with Ari in The Spare Oom to discuss the trials and tribulations that we would face the next day. As we already somewhat knew, we were told that our day would consist of giving each other constructive criticism, reflecting on it, and then ending the day by appreciating each other (slightly the opposite of how we began). Though we promised we would put our all into it, we all had our worries about the next day.
Throughout the first two hours we gave and received constructive criticism. This was a difficult task for a group of close knit teens who love each other dearly. An example is “I don’t think you fully voice your opinion in the group, and it makes me feel like I’m on the edge of my seat and gives me no closure”. Most of us assumed we were going to have to be mean, but we were simply noticing parts of another’s behavior in a neutral fashion. One of the parts we found most challenging was not sugar-coating or fluffing up what we had to say, and simply being concise to the receiver of criticism.
Once we moved on from that stage and began to reflect, Ari noticed that not many of us gained much from giving feedback, especially considering that we didn’t give too much. She was a little worried that we hadn’t gained from this challenge… until we began to discuss what we gained from receiving feedback. Unlike the past two groups, we had gained much more from receiving feedback than from giving, and even more when we discussed it. In speaking about it, we began to once again give each other feedback, and the day started to get a little richer. Feeling like we had a little more take away, we moved into the appreciation stage. The appreciation stage was, of course, wonderful. It was also a little less trivial than one might expect, and I think that each of us was appreciated for things we never thought we would be. In the end, we learned more about ourselves, the challenges we face as individuals, the challenges we face as a group, and how much we honestly cared about each other. In the clouded confusion of Ari’s personal feedback challenge, our day was truly lit.