This evening my husband and I enjoyed a lovely barbecue dinner on our back patio. Afterward as we sat in the beautiful late evening sun, we watched kids, adults, and their pets walk by or play in the park across the street. As beautiful as it was, and as much as we enjoy living where we do, the truth is that even after living here two years, we don’t know the names of even one of our neighbours.
While my intention is never to annoy others, I know that I sometimes do.
When I was younger, I’d go to meetings and say something that would inevitably draw puzzled looks from the others. It was almost as if I was saying something in a foreign language. After shaking their heads, the other participants would continue their previous stream of conversation – typically one that involved a lot of detail. After being ignored for the rest of the meeting I’d beat myself up thinking, “Why on earth couldn’t I just learn to keep my mouth shut?”
Some time ago a colleague forwarded me an email he had received that contained an insightful review of a book about community. Not only had the author of the review summarized the key messages within the book, he had also provided an analysis suggesting why it would be important to us in our day to day work.
Although I had never met the guy, there was something about that review that reflected a passion for the subject and made me flag it for follow up. While it did take me a while, I finally got around to connecting with…
Posted on 06-14-09
This week I spent three days with a group of very impressive local community leaders. Despite their tremendous accomplishments, most of them would never think to label themselves a leader.
One of them said she never thought of herself as a leader. “After all”, she said, “I’m a nurturer, I take care of people. I see my job as getting everyone to work together”.
Another, when asked if she saw herself as a leader was uncomfortable even answering the question.
It began, as do many success stories, with a small group of determined individuals sitting around a table.
As someone once told me, when you hit bottom, the best thing to do is stick out your legs and push. And push they did.
When a community is in trouble, the pushing off typically begins with a small group of individuals coming together to talk. These conversations are the beginning of change and ultimately the solutions for an active, creative, engaged community.
In this case, the conversation was the result of a growing crisis in a small, somewhat isolated…
Posted on 06-01-09