PA 311- Winter 2015
Final Integrative Paper Assignment
I’ll start off with a quote from Block and McKnight that we read in The Abundant Community, “it is one who chooses to create the life, the neighborhood, the world from their own gifts and the gifts of others.” Those are the acts of a Citizen in a community.” Now days we don’t go into the true meaning of what is means to be a Citizen in our communities. How many times do we have a conversation with our neighbors? How much time do we actual spend in our respective communities? For parents, do you know your children’s communities at school? What I’m getting to here is how much do we really spend connecting and ...view middle of the document...
Not only that but they allow for space to celebrate and come together and in a safe way of interaction. Block and McKnight would also see this as a way for the community to come together in safe space to celebrate the gifts of its members.
One of the things I’ve learned throughout these two courses is that listening is a very important skill in civic engagement. Not just listening with our ears though, it goes much deeper than that. Here’s a question to ask yourself, “Do you listen with your own autobiographical filter? Or do you listen to actually understand the speaker?” (Covey 2011). Do we really pay attention to how we are listening? Really putting aside our urge to relate what we are hearing to our personal experiences is important, being a good listener is about putting our self in the speakers shoes. In another one of Block’s books, The Structure of Belonging, one of the ways of creating a restorative community is “citizen’s willingness to own up to their contribution, to be humble, to choose accountability, and to have faith in their own capacity to make authentic promises to create the alternative future” (Block 2008). We build all these traits by empathic listening of some sort. How well we are able to listen to others puts us in the mindset of really knowing other citizens in the community. Sometimes just by really listening to someone we might be able to find this connection between us. One article that was also brought up was Frankly Not About Food Forests, and the main point to that, is that it is “frankly, not about food forests.” Don’t mean to sound repetitive but that’s where the key point is. If we use empathic listening and really listen to understand, we might be able to find the underlying reasons. Block would agree with this because to be good Citizens we need to bring in everyone’s gifts and voice.
I’d like to bring an author outside from this course because it will it bring in an important point that ties directly into civic engagement. Mike Green was one of the authors, who wrote When People Care Enough to Act, Green’s idea that we should look at the gifts that the community has within will give us a better starting point to expand on. Just like mentioned in the text when decision makers try to make changes in the community it’s as they’re “throwing seeds on concrete,” unlike when citizens who realize what they have they’re able to find good soil that “can grow into solutions,” (Green 2006). This ties into Block’s theme in The Structure of Belonging because we are talking about changing the context to one that restores and looking at gifts instead of needs. It is for the people in the community to feel like they belong there. It also explains that everyone who wants to has the power to make that difference. To create this we have a sense of belonging throughout the community as a whole. I feel like this is also universal to a lot of what we have learned in this course. Creating bridges within the neighborhood to...