Our institutions can offer only service—not care—for care is the freely given commitment from the heart of one to another; it cannot be purchased. As neighbors, we care for each other. We care for our children. We care for our elders. We care for those most vulnerable among us. It is this care that is the basic power of a community of citizens. Care cannot be provided, managed, or purchased from systems.
Health, safety, environment, economy, food, children, and care are the seven responsibilities of an abundant community and its citizens. They are the necessities that only we can fulfill. And when we fail, no institution or government can succeed. Because we are the veritable foundation of the society.
What is one way, this week, in which you can bring forth health, safety, and care in your relationships. Think of your neighborhood or association. What conversations are being had about these three responsibilities? Notice who is often the “fall guy” for these stories we tell, who are the “go tos” for making your home and community more healthy, safe or caring? Now, consider, what is one way I could accept more responsibility for one of these things? Mowing a lawn of an abandoned house, offering a ride to an elderly person, offering to tutor a kid or throw ball with them, walking the neighborhood and talking to strangers increasing the eyes on the street? It is easy to abdicate our responsibility by blaming problems on those systems we want to care for us. Taking simple steps of responsibility strengthens our own sense of freedom as well as our community’s sense of belonging.
McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (p. 4). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.