Every tuesday and thursday we met with the a group of lovely ladies who let us try out some of our “community engagement tools” on them. Pictured above is Emily and I doing a community web with a ball of yarn. We had them toss it to each other, and whenever you had the string in your hands you had to say something you appreciate about yourself and what you bring to the community, and then they had to say a word of encouragement to someone else in the circle (i got to join in as the “apu” representative for the community, since we have teams here regularly).
Most of these women NEVER get to “brag” about what they are good at, largely because it is culturally unacceptable. Coming from a society where I am being trained to sell myself, where compiling an impressive resume is the goal of education, where discovering my strengths is a class, “bragging” about myself is as easy. Such a stark contrast to these ladies reality.
After we compiled the web I got up and shared how the more vulnerable they become, the more verbally affirming they are, the tighter their bonds can become. The thing about a community is, without intimacy, there is no dreaming, and without dreaming there is no goal setting, no progress, no growth. I also explained that just as each person holds a corner of the web, each person is essential to community. If one person lets go, the web is weakened. We are all dependent on each other.
its a lesson that seems simple, but honestly, i have come across very few communities that tangibly live this out.