How do you get from “Madonna had a baby with a monkey, who became a karaoke star” to ” The alien magician made the poor man put his rabbit into the magic hat”?
At our Citizens without Borders event, Rapida Lingvo Interŝanĝo, one of our members suggested a very interesting and truly funny game, which I call Interpretations. The game consists of giving people in the group 5 pieces of paper. The pieces are stacked and each person begins by writing something. They pass the stack to the person on the left and this person reads the received sentence and places that piece of paper at the back of the stack. Now this is where the fun begins: you draw what you read and pass it along. The next person receives your drawing and writes what they see and so on until you fill all the pieces of paper: three written, two drawings.
To illustrate the game let me show you some fabulous works of interpretation, imagination and creativity:
It cannot be denied that these interpretations are quite remarkable. However, these convey a deep message: when you make assumptions, things can go astray… very far removed from the original idea. As our member said at the beginning of the game “one of the rules is that if you do not understand what the last person wrote or drew, you may not, under any circumstance, ask them”. In this exercise we purposefully based our interpretations purely on assumptions. But out there, in the world, where we can ask when we are interactiog with people we do not have the habit of asking or at least giving the benefit of the doubt.
One of our core values at Citizens without Borders is to never make assumptions. As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his book, The four agreements, “find courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.”