Mindsets that Build Community

By Ken Wells - 10/25/2022


Series Three: Blog Seventy-Three

Community is a place to grow and a sanctuary to be safe. It’s a place to build accountability and to seek guidance from mentors. Healthy community gives birth to individual and collective identity. It’s a place to learn rituals and to experience leadership. Most importantly it a place to find and foster dignity and respect.

Healthy community does not just happen. There are many components that go into making a dynamic commonwealth. Listed here are a few to consider:

  • There is a beginner’s desire to grow:  A vital community believes that growth is sacred. This dynamic protects it from becoming insular. New additions are welcome because they provide the adventure and the new vitality that a beginner brings to the community. There is a sense of desperation so much needed to create transformational change. There is a determination to make things work rather than waiting on someone to provide growth for them. There is an intense desire to create connection rather than taking place at the periphery and expecting someone to reach out. There is a profound willingness to apply suggestions made by those in the community who are growing. A deep respect and recognition for those who have paid the price to create prosperity permeates the atmosphere.
  • A healthy community is marked with a number of givers and not just takers. This characteristic is developed by the elders role-playing sacrificial giving and generous celebration—Not one without the other. There is value and respect for those who harness themselves like an ox to the cart. There is admiration for those who are not parlor generals and field deserters. The work of the community is common as mud. Valued are those who move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out. There are more givers than takers in a healthy community.
  • No ducking and diving. Healthy spaces are “care-frontational” meaning members confront conflict directly from the inside out. This approach underscores open frankness by first identifying one’s own inner struggle that is experienced by a peer. There is the practice of velvet steel, being gentle and considerate when needed and being firm and uncompromising about principles of truth when needed.
  • There is follow through—doing what you say you will do. Members of the community don’t just talk about commitments; they live the commitments. Emphasis is not on what you are going to do but on what you are going to be. Commitment words without follow through is empty.
  • Healthy community cultivates collective power. Be your own guru. No room for celebrity worship. Plenty of room for appreciation of special skills. There is recognition that everyone is a celebrity in their own world. It is characterized by humility which cultivates collaboration. Power-over and domination of others gives way to power-within that fosters solidarity and empowerment within the community. Gurus tend to create power over dynamics. Leaders in a group role model the sacrifice and soul of community. There is no special privilege. No double standards.
  • Dynamic communities treasure story-telling. The greatest healing power within a community is found in the power of individual story. Growth is most likely to occur when individuals within the community relentlessly dig into the deeper content of their history and tell the stories of personal healing.
  • Healing communities develop elders. In many indigenous cultures, elders are accorded great respect. To be an elder is more than being old. It means to be a person who has learned wisdom from life experience including failures and mistakes. An elder may be one who has lived a life of complete integrity or it could be the recovering town drunk who knows personally what it means to struggle with an addiction. It is more than being old. Not everyone old is wise. Some elders may be young, blessed with good judgment, compassion and sound sense. Elders gain social power and help keep the balance in a healthy community.

There are many parts to a healthy community. Take time to consider your thoughts and add to the list. Creating a growing and healthy community is up to you and me. Examine your mindset and adjust your attitude to create a healthy community in your world.

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