Photo on 2013-10-31 at 08.54  by Diane Miller

My  6-post community development series has focused on mamas ~ women (what’s a Ccd mama). My intention is not to exclude papas ~ men, but to focus on the unique gifts of women and their powerful life choices in community. Both genders are equally needed for balance in a holistic approach to fully living & leading in any endeavor. Yet, women’s leadership is not always nurtured, empowered or challenged to create a better world. So, I wanted to honor & encourage mamas to lean in & lead with this series… to build tangible & deep community models, fostering a different type of neighborhood for the common good of all. My inspiration has a deep faith under-girding… yet, I want to encourage & honor all women, no matter their motive for deep & loving community development!

Mamas are typically the nest-makers, caretakers & social butterflies in the home.  Their emotional intelligence guides the home choice, social events and the coming & going logistics of everyone in the nest. They are natural lateral connectors for both compassionate support and communication. So, if women, both married & single, could have a vision to choose their home & center their life in a cultural & socio-economic blended neighborhood, it could change the world. This would look different for each woman, taking into account their varied marital status, work obligations & family. However, the concept is one tangible way to begin rebuilding true neighbor love in geographic community with people not like us… in our ever-changing & globalized world!

With urbanization, there is a rising national and global crisis of stacked wealth and stacked poverty communities. Quite simply, neither stacked option works well for the good of all. The stacked trend is not loving or holistic and it creates a greater polarizing chasm. Yet, many simply find it overwhelming to know where to begin tackling even one aspect of breaking down polarized living barriers. The real question seems to be… can we break through fear & uncertainty to choose a simple movement towards blended, neighborhood-based lifestyles? Although this might appear somewhat like gentrification, there is an overarching motive to live, learn & stand for the common good of all… not just to live in a cool neighborhood that is changing! A commitment to lean in and understand the values & challenges of blended cultures & socio-economics is needed, along with willingness to stand for justice for the most vulnerable in each community.

Most of the time, poverty is a lack of connections… not just a lack of education, jobs or money. All of those things have become necessary to be prosperous; but, if there is no one to support you in getting an education or job, you will struggle to succeed. Also, if you do not know anyone living below the poverty line, it is hard to fully comprehend what it is like to live without connections to empowering relationships & resources. Here is a small example from my neighborhood job mentoring… A few weeks ago I was helping a young lady look for a job. She had 2 years of college, great computer skills & an overall nice resume with good work history. However, looking at her references, I was taken back. She was still using high school teachers as primary references in her early twenties!

You see, people who live in predominately under-resourced neighborhoods do not always have needed deep personal connections with professional &/or resourced people outside of their work destinations for basic support or references. If resourced or professional people lived in her neighborhood & deeply knew her, they could be caring friends and/or references. Holistic blended community development has the potential to create these inter-relationships. It also has the ability to give hope & reconciliation for both the resourced & under-resourced as they begin to bridge the fear chasm and get to know one another. All philosophical wisdom tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive.  So, to live & walk with others not just like you can be a life enriching choice. However, it takes willingness to share and give of yourself. Well-provided families deeply need this tangible model of living with under-resourced families probably more than the under-resourced. It simply creates understanding of different cultures and limitations on adult & children’s self-centeredness… a win-win for everyone’s common good!

In closing, the questions seem… Are we stuck in our own personal definition of comfort or what prosperity might look like for us from our personal heritage? Can we begin to live different &promote a more balanced, less polarized world? Can we (re)base our time & life centered in geographic neighborhoods to give a sense of belonging, margin &hope for both children and adults? And, can we create simple steps towards new tangible lifestyle models for promoting good in our globalized world?

I’m pondering a short e-book based on new tangible models of holistic living for the common good of all ~ do you have any stories to contribute? I want to honor guys & their gifts, too; so, I think my super, balancing hub will also help promote to guys choosing to live & work different…

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