When we and the other neighbors know of each other’s gifts, new community possibilities emerge. For example, the community can play an important role in rearing children and helping them to learn about their own abilities and what it means to be a contributing member of society. We can do the following: Have young people teach the Internet to seniors and adults. Hold gatherings where youth learn about music, painting, poetry, storytelling, and dance from artistic neighbors. Create a tutor list so that young people can learn what the neighbors know. Make an inventory of each neighbor’s job, and then connect our teens to people with interesting jobs so that they can learn what the neighbors do and how to prepare for a vocation. Have a children’s clothes exchange. Have rewards for older children tutoring younger children. Have monthly potluck dinners where we sing together and urge our children.
As we read earlier this week, “The culture of community is initiated by people who value each other’s gifts and are seriously related to each other.” Take a look at the gifts in your community. How do they connect? Can you see the link between what a young person wants and has to offer, and what an elder has to offer and wants? Could you be a matchmaker, connecting relationships at the place of gifts, and offering to help the match to be shared with the wider group, be it your block, or your office floor, or school group. You can make gifts visible through storytelling, reporting, even through social media posts and photos. But you can also make them visible in a one-on-one personal introduction.
Is there one person you could ask this week, “knowing what I know about your gifts, could I introduce you to so-and-so? I’d love to see what you two have to learn from one another!”
McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (pp. 120-121). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.