One way we can begin to discover the power of our families and neighborhood is to invite the local connectors to come together and share their successes and ideas by forming a Connectors’ Table. They can then discuss questions like, what new connections of neighbors and associations would make a better neighborhood? Who are the people with connector potential who could be invited to join the Table? Are there senior connectors at the Table? Are there teen connectors involved?
This core group can become initiators of a new community culture as they consciously pursue the connective possibilities they envision. To begin, people at this Connectors’ Table can identify the gifts and skills of all the neighbors—the gold in the community treasure chest. They can ask four simple questions of each neighbor as they identify the neighborhood treasures:
- What are your gifts of the head? What do you especially know about—birds, mathematics, neighborhood history?
- What are your gifts of the hands? What do you know about doing things—baseball, carpentry, cooking, guitar, gardening?
- What are your gifts of the heart? What do you especially care about—children, the environment, elders, veterans, politics?
- What clubs, groups, and associations do you and your family belong to or participate in?
This is the conversation that begins the process of connection, which is what gives people the alternative to look outside the family for satisfaction. We could say that connection is the antidote to consumption. It begins with identifying the neighborhood treasures waiting to be given.
Take some time today to think of a connector or three that you could invite to lunch and explore these four questions.
McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (pp. 134-135). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.