Lesson of the Week

Interdependent: I rely on a good support system

Interdependence allows living things to be involved in one another and come out better. Pictured is green anemone that protects and feeds the clown fish and in return the clown fish keeps the anemone free of dead tentacles and lures in the anemone’s lunch.  Interdependence is the mutually beneficial relationship between things.  The sun’s light shines on the plant; photosynthesis occurs; the plant lives; and oxygen is released for animal respiration.

So often people give up a vital mission because they abandon interdependence. They are too independent and can’t complete by themselves, or are too dependent and subordinate themselves to a source that cannot help.  For instance, a neighborhood garden entrance needs landscaping in the spring.  Dead plants must be trimmed and carried away.

The fiercely independent homeowner tries to tackle the problem alone, but becomes disillusioned with the enormity, expense, and lack of support.  He walks away from the project angry and resentful.  The garden doesn’t get finished.

The dependent person volunteers and gets others to help.  She gives her all to the cause.    She doesn’t want to disappoint the other workers, and works even though her allergies and the heat cause her to end up in the hospital.  She does the same thing the next year, and yes, becomes ill again.  (True story.)

The codependent volunteers to help.  However one of the neighbors orders her around, demeans her, and discredits her hard work.  She pretends not to notice and volunteers again only to be re-victimized.  For her, being in a bad group is better than being in no group.

The interdependent person announces a time for all to help, calls up a local garden store for donations, and finds others who can’t help with the gardening but can supply food and water.  She makes sure the project goes forth with equity, respect, and appreciation.  The independent man is given the job of going to get the supplies.  The dependent person is told she can bring water, but probably shouldn’t work in the dirt.  The abusive gentleman is cajoled into telling some funny stories.  The job gets done and all are benefited.

You will go through all sorts of states or stages on your mission, however to get the mission accomplished, you must be interdependent.  No person can exist without some sort of help whether it means a gas company supplying fuel for a car or the earth’s gravitational pull keeping one’s feet on the ground.

John Donne wrote in 1624 that “no man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” (Meditation XVII)

Rumors say there is shame to being dependent on support and that independence is a more mature way of living.  Other gossip suggests that independent people are weird and dependence on the group is healthier.  The best self-sufficiency is interdependence – the constant shifting between independence and dependence in a mutually beneficial system.  Find your interdependence and accomplish your mission.


Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.

- Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Civil Rights Leader Advocating Non-Violent Resistance To Tyranny


Activity:  Get It Done

Materials:  A piece of paper and pen or pencil.

Time:  Ten minutes for writing and ten minutes for discussion per person.


1.  Think of five projects you have not done because of procrastination. List these five projects on a piece of paper and leave enough room to comment on each one.  (A project is a mission great or small such as cleaning out the garage, finishing paperwork, planning a trip, writing a thank you note, volunteering in a soup kitchen, donating to a charity, fixing a broken window, starting a business.)

2.  Think of procrastination as your rejection of beneficial help from an outside source.  For instance, you have been too independent and not gotten help at all, or too dependent and gotten help from a person or thing that isn’t helpful.  Go back and next to each item, write down the things you could do in order to finish each task.

3.  Discuss these with the group or another person.  Ask for suggestion on how to get these things finished. Plan a due date and time to meet when you expect all the projects will be finished.

4.  Finish each project on the list.

5.  Come back and tell the group or friend about finishing all the projects.  Have a celebration.


I am interdependent so I can ..... We'd like to hear your story about being interdependent. Write your story below.