Sunday, September 1, 2013

Conversation #9 ~ When have I experienced working for the common good? (pp. 126-133)

Think of "any experience where you worked for others rather than yourself" (p. 129).  Meg Wheatley asks these questions.  Choose one or two — or just tell us about the experience.
  • How well do you remember that experience?
  • Do you remember the purpose of the work?
  • How often did your efforts teeter on the brink of failure?
  • How many times were you surprised by someone's ingenuity, or your own?
  • And now, long after it's over, how do you feel about those with whom you shared this experience?
This weekend, I read about a brave soldier and learned this:
"What motivates soldiers in combat is not hatred of their enemy, but love for their comrades."
Wheatley said a lot in this part of Turning to One Another.
  • "When we work for the common good, we experience each other in new ways. ... We focus on the work, not on each other" (p. 130).
  • "[W]hen we serve others, we gain more than hope.  We gain energy" (p. 131).
How would you answer her question:  "When have I experienced working for the common good?"


Bonnie Jacobs said...

On this Labor Day weekend, here's a photo of some people laboring for the common good.

Zorro said...

When have I experienced working for the common good?

I teach.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Today's Chattanooga newspaper has a column by David Cook entitled "Howard wants to serve you." It's all about high school seniors wanting to serve the community. Howard High School is a traditionally black school in a depressed neighborhood, but the students want to go out and help others. They are working for the common good. Here's the article:

Shirley said...

It does sound like a program that could encourage the students to make a difference in the community. Learning to be givers rather than recipients is definitely a step in the right direction.

The possible drawback is if students perceive of the requirement as something to just do and get done rather than as an opportunity to help and learn.

Several years ago there was an article in the Topeka paper that a controversy had arisen over the insistence of members of the Phelps family that their picketing should be recorded on their transcript as community service. I don't remember if the community service records were for college/scholarship application purposes or if it was a requirement for high school graduation.

At least Howard is trying to instill a positive value for its students. Quite a positive change from the societal value of maximizing income in a mecentric society.

Zorro said...

Even if the kids look upon the 'volunteering' as just a day out of school, they will have had an experience of service that just might give them pride. This looks like a very special school here in Chat.

Zorro said...

Do you remember the purpose of the work?
The purpose of my teaching (now that I am retired from the classroom) is to help other teachers and citizens become more aware and responsive to the ecology of our world - to understand the impact that humans are making on ecosystems and specie. My work is done at nature centers and I use materials from all the WILD curricula that have been developed through the Center for Environmental Education. I also teach Monarch Butterfly monitoring through the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project, Journey North, Monarch Watch, and Monarch Health Project.
All of these projects are purposed to "Save the Earth" and "Save Species"

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Some of you may not know that Mary/Zorro was our expert on monarch butterflies when we read and discussed Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Along with comments about her environmental work on discussion question posts, here are special links Mary shared:

Zorro said...

I just read the above article this morning. I am so surprised at the student's observations about America!

What do you think?

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Mary/Zorro, thanks for sharing that article: The Most Surprising Things About America, According To An Indian International Student. I found it to be so surprising and thought-provoking that I'm about to post it on my Facebook page. My favorite quote from the page relates to students being collaborative rather than competitive:

"Before I came to the United States, I heard stories about how students at Johns Hopkins were so competitive with each other that they used to tear important pages from books in the library just so other students didn't have access to it. In reality, I experienced the complete opposite. Students were highly collaborative, formed study groups, and studied / did assignments till everyone in the group 'got it.' I think the reason for this is that the classes are / material is so hard that it makes sense to work collaboratively to the point that students learn from each other."

When I was working on my Master's degree, we formed a study group and helped each other learn the material. We had so much to read that I like to tell people it felt like we were expected to read the entire theology library. The women in my study group became so close that, when one of them married, she called the rest of us her "bridesmaids in black" — she gave some of us parts of the ceremony that included liturgical aspects like reading scripture and praying, and we wore our black clergy gowns, thus the "in black" part.