This is my first post to this forum, so I'll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible:
I recently had the opportunity to sit at a "Connectors Table" convened by Peter Block and John McKnight. I first heard of these guys when I was invited to hear Judith Snow speak almost two years ago. Since then, I've gotten a crash course in community from lots of other "conspirators" (most of their names start with J's - jo, john, joe or jack - but some are named collette, hope amongst others). They introduced me to the stories of mr. Kohler and Mr./Mrs. O'Brien and mr. Wolfensberger and Jean Vanier...and...all of a sudden...wow... I must admit, my view of my life, work, and community was blown out of the water.
So the big thing is that I started understanding the importance of community...in my work, in the place I live and raise my two boys, in the everyday.
At one of the most recent Connector Table gatherings, john mentioned the phrase "rusty citizen." It really struck me. That's what I've been!!!! That's the name. I knew it was something, but not sure what.
So over the past few months, I've been working to connect with others simply by having more conversations, saying hello, inviting people to do things, and just making the effort that I've been personally lacking. i've been talking to other people about it, too, and (surprise, right?) I'm not the only one who feels it!
So I'm mad at myself for being a "rusty citizen," but the awareness of it has been powerful and positive. I don't think I'll ever be the same, which is a good thing. Do others experience the same awareness? How did I get to be a rusty citizen in the first place? Can it be avoided? How did I snap out of it? Am I still in it?
Lots of questions, huh? I've got about 50 stories over the past few months of my wife and I making simple efforts that have extraordinary (and usually fun!) results.
So then John/Peter talked about staying local. they want this effort to be about your block/neighborhood. I'm doing that, and loving it. But I've some questions:
What constitutes my "neighborhood?" Can my "neighborhood" be my office? my campus or dorm? My church? Dowtown? the West side? Online communities? Of course, I should be a well-oiled citizen everywhere, right?
If we got busy working even smaller than neighborhoods/blocks (i.e. person by person), would it have a broader impact? So if everyone considered how they might be "rusty," then would the effect of intentionally going out of their way to be a better citizen would not only impact their relationships with their neighbors/block, but would also impact relationships in the other circles of their lives (families, cities, church, work, etc.)?
(Don't tell Peter/John, but I've started branching out beyond my home! And it's just as much fun connecting at work, around work, downtown, at the bus stop, at the grocery store, and all the other places that aren't in my immediate neighborhood!)
So those are my questions. Did I say "short and sweet?" Sorry, but I guess that means I belong here because I've read a ton of other long posts from everyone else:) anyway, it could have been worse...I promise!