Story 07: Managing the Organization

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Written by Elaine Heumann Gurian

Before this journey into remembering makes me misty-eyed, I want to point out that life was never perfect at The Children's Museum. We argued. Some individuals carried on long-standing feuds. We were organized into divisions and departments, each of which thought the other units had more access to privilege than they did. There were jealousies and rumors. There were sad deaths and divorces. Sometimes our most vulnerable young people were incarcerated. Wages were low even when compared to similar places. Given the activism of the times, it was not surprising that once in a great while groups organized, agitated for something, and threatened to walk out if they felt unfairly treated.

Yet, every morning as tired (and sometimes angry at each other) as we were, we arrived collectively thinking that we were privileged to be creating useful work within a functioning team. We had a spirit of cohesion, of belonging. We were proud and pleased to work together and of the work we created. We believed in that adage "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." One of my missions in writing this is to understand finally what "belonging" meant in that context, how it was derived, and why it felt so good and important.

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