On a thread started by Hildy Gottlieb over at Com-Prac this week, John Smith returned something that’s both thought-provoking and powerfully put, quoting a very old text:
“[A man must reside in a town] thirty days to become liable for
contributing to the soup kitchen, three months for the charity box,
six months for the clothing fund, nine months for the burial fund, and
twelve months for contributing to the repair of the town walls’
(These categories have intuitive appeal but are at the same time are
somewhat mysterious, I think:
So in community development terms, I think the thing we can do AFTER
welcoming people matters a lot. And that would be: help people to see
a path of successive and successful levels of connection — of taking
responsibility for the goodness they find in the collective life.”
Thoroughly agree. Indeed finding useful channels por the energy of members is probably the most difficult task of facilitators: so many of them want to go beyond building practice and conversations, and yet it’s so difficult to build something useful and motivating with the kind of commitment that most community volunteers can give. A perfect facilitator (or a perfect community) would find tailor-cut engagement opportunities for every member, optimizing growth for the member and the CoP, drawing on their energies without risking burnout…
… now try that with seventy thousand members. But you need to try.
(And one does wonder about John’s reading habits :-)).