The end of a program is the right tie to evaluate, but it’s not the best time to make new commitments. What went well? Yes. What went less well? Yes. What will we change? Hold the phone.
I fall into this trap once a year. The program is ending, and the time until it needs to start again stretches out in front of me as if to infinity. Anything is possible: write a new curriculum; recruit new leaders; change the schedule; add a retreat. I am never more bold in committing to a new direction and fresh material than when I’ve just finished with the old material. I’m practically unrestrained. And I always regret it.
The old stuff is going to look better when you get further out from it. Compared to theoretical new stuff, of course it looks inferior. Also, you know the old stuff’s potholes. You feel acutely the ways in which it didn’t measure up to your expectations for it. But you’re going to wish you’d chosen to improve it rather than to scrap it and start over once the deadline is looming to, you know, start over. A year from now you’ll be right back here again.
There is something motivating about always wanting the work to be better. But doubting the quality of the work such that we start from scratch every time doesn’t get us closer to perfect.