Meeting 7-1
Focus: Conforming

The basic structure of this meeting is the same as Meeting 1.1 - refer back for more information.

Some issues may have come up during check-in that the group may wish to spend more time on rather than moving straight into the 'focus'; or perhaps some issue is still to be dealt with from the previous week. When it is appropriate the leader moves the group into the main focus for this meeting.

5) The Big Bit in the middle - the leader announces the focus of the meeting

Focus: Conforming

"In this meeting we will take the opportunity to explore issues around 'conforming' - how we've done it, why we've done it, what the results were; and also what happened when we did our own thing and went our own way."

Exercises

  1. How difficult is it to be aware of the conforming process?
    How subtle is it?
    1. Do you spit in the street?
    2. What about other personal habits… farting?… picking your nose?… others?
    3. What kind of reaction do these actions usually get?
      Do you care? Why?
    4. What habits did you have as a kid that you've stopped doing? Why?
    5. How do you decide what to wear in the morning?
      What factors help you decide?
    6. When you meet someone what's usually their first question? What does this imply about expectations regarding behaviour in our culture?
    7. What about other cultures - and their expectations? eg Hippies vs Eastern cultures?
    8. Examine your own 'cultural' expectations, and reactions - eg regarding
      1. People on welfare
      2. Drunks/addicts/pan-handlers in the street
      3. Your own social obligations vs. your rights
  2. Reflect on past authority figures in your life: ep parents - teachers - bosses -
    1. To what extent did they expect you to conform to their standards?
    2. How appreciative of your individuality were they? How did you feel about that?
    3. How did they enforce their standards/rules? Harshly? - With understanding? What was it about for them - speculate? How did you feel about it?
    4. Did you conform voluntarily? Why? Did you resist? Why?
    5. Has their influence on you had a lasting impact on your life? How? Do you resent that? Are you working consciously with these learned behaviours?
    6. Do you question authority?
    7. How do you react to policemen?
      Policewomen? Any difference? Why?
  3. Reflect on the rules by which you live your life - Are they self-determined or the cultural standards?
    1. Within your intimate relationships
    2. In your work environment
    3. In your family
    4. In your friendships

    Are you likely to question something you think is wrong that the rest of the group goes along with?
  4. To what extent are you conforming to rules within your men's group.
    1. To the openly discussed and agreed to rules?
      Why? Why not?
    2. To unspoken 'codes of conduct', not discussed but perhaps just assumed? Are you comfortable with
      1. How it is?
      2. Your actions?
  5. What parts of you do you think have been repressed by this 'conforming' process-voluntarily or not?
  6. Describe a situation when you didn't conform to an expected standard - Why? How did/do you feel?
    Were there any repercussions - resentments etc?
  7. Is conformity a necessary social process?
    When can it become unhealthy?