Make Time for Gifts to Sink In

Every time we gather, there needs to be space for a discussion of what gifts have been exchanged. This question needs to be asked of the community:

What gift have you received from another in this room?

Tell the person in specific terms.

We focus on gifts because what we focus on, we strengthen. The gifts- of-this-gathering question can be asked this way:

What has someone in your small group done today that has touched you or moved you or been of value to you?

or

In what way did a particular person engage you in a way that had meaning?

In practical terms, this means that in each small group, one person at a time tells the others what they have received and appreciated from others.

Because we are so awkward about this kind of discussion, the conversation needs to be set up in a special way. We ask the person who hears about what they have given another to say, “Thank you, I like hearing that.” We want to let the statements of gifts to have a chance to sink in. Don’t deflect the appreciation. Help them put aside the routine of denying their gifts. Encourage them not to say that others brought it out of them, or what a great group this is, or how they got lucky for once and will try to not let it happen again.

The gifts conversation can be so easy to miss. We have often packed a lot into a gathering or been taken off guard by a dissent or commitments conversation. It takes discipline to lead people to share the gifts and to truly receive the feedback.  But this is what grounds each meeting.

How will you remember to share gifts at your gathering?

 

 

Block, Peter. Community: The Structure of Belonging(p. 140). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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