Anyone who has gone to GFS has heard queries about the value of community. This year, because one of our “featured” testimonies is community we will hear even more. However, do these queries really work? Do the questions posed at assembly in preparation for Meeting for Worship really inspire people to behave differently? Can we build a community with just words?
There are many reasons why these queries may not be taken to heart. The most obvious reason is that people don’t pay attention when the queries are announced. Perhaps this is because the queries are announced right before lunch when people’s minds are more focused on a turkey sub than what they can do to help build community.
Another reason queries don’t penetrate the minds of middle school students is that some students might think they are too cool to actively be a part of a growing community. Maybe this is because the word community conquers up images of hippies and peace signs.
The reality is all people, no matter how cool they may act, really do want to be a part of a community. Maybe the word community is getting in the way of people understanding what it means. It’s like telling a joke and announcing it’s going to be funny rather than just telling it and letting people laugh. Rather than a non-specific long-winded query along the lines of: “Were the consequences of a growing disquietude and grade level separatism responsible for the inadequate geopolitical frame of our community?”, why can’t we just have kids from different grades work on the dance committee together? Middle school students respond much better to a humorous skit or more of an open discussion where people aren’t afraid to share their opinions.
Don’t use the word community. Don’t use it at least for just a little while; instead use another word: society, commonwealth, partnership, culture, semblance, affinity, kinship or just GFS.
But really, if you want to build a stronger community stop talking about it in assembly and start being a part of your own society/commonwealth/partnership/co-partnership/semblance/affinity/kinship/(community).
Tell us how you think we can better build a better community at GFS. We’d like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make it readable to all audiences and include your name so it can appear in our next issue under Letters to the Editor. Thanks.
~ The Corner Editorial Board 2012-13