Grassroots

4

June 11, 2021, Bellemont, AZ- Today is the last full day of the camp which I have been supervising. A few people left for home, due to work and family obligations. The teens who are left have busied themselves with clean-up projects, both on campus and across the road, where an illegal dumping site has collected detritus, probably for several decades.

These efforts have brought to mind the fact that grassroots actions can begin to correct even the most longstanding of offenses or errors in judgment. It will take a great deal of such work, to counteract the mistakes made as result of top-down decision-making. The latter is closely tied with “efficiency”, but that is so only in the sense that things can be done more quickly, when the elite is making snap decisions. True efficiency involves BOTH grassroots AND the decision-makers at the top. So, there needs to be a clear-cut system of transparency-which only the slow-moving engine of trust can provide.

As always, my charges have taught me as much, if not more, than was imparted to them. It is this that has kept me in the youth work game, a lot longer than I might have stayed. There is no end to what we can achieve, if we draw lessons from everyone we meet-of all ages and backgrounds.

Baby Steps to Justice

2

February 22, 2021-

I spent most of today waiting for my tax return to be done. I ended up having to make a certain adjustment in my personal financial structure, so as to be in compliance with government regulations. It will end up costing the government more, in the long run, but who’s counting?

After that, I checked on my jury interview for tomorrow, and it’s still on. If I get chosen, it will likely be my first and last time, given that the pool is large and I have only five years until the cut-off age of 75. So, I will go and get at least a taste of the selection process.

Justice, at least in the human realm, is an odd thing-as everyone’s concept of it is different. Even among those who adhere to the Golden Rule, there are varying notions of what justice is, and how it ought to be applied. I have, by and large, been fortunate in the course of life events. When misfortune has happened, though, it has taken some time and effort to overcome the urge to deflect blame and to focus, instead, on how I might learn from the unpleasantry.

The lessons I have acquired and internalized, however, made today’s challenges much easier to face and the tasks brought on by them quicker to complete.

The Black Hand

4

March 30, 2019-

In the Planet Fitness where I work out, there is a large seat, shaped like a Black Hand, in each of the stations where a hydromassage bed is located.  It strikes me that this is a symbol of challenge, that there are always difficulties to be overcome, whether self-imposed or brought on by others.

I have had to do a lot of re-assessment, after a rough past few days.  What I have determined is that: 1.  I am going to make fitness a higher priority than it’s been, having shown that I can make time for a workout, even on the busiest of days.

2.  I am going to cut way back, if not eliminate, my appetite for pastries and other high sugar-based food items.  Neither having my cake nor eating it, at least for the last two months of work.

3.  Doubling down on avoiding violence, no matter how violently I might be attacked, either by one of my charges or anyone who is deranged.  My reaction, from now on, will  be to distance myself, until assistance is at hand, at least in the work setting.

4.  Being more mindful and present.  Neither Alzheimer’s nor Parkinson’s has knocked on my door, but problems have presented themselves, through a combination of fatigue and autism.  I have done better, today, and need to continue getting enough rest, so that there is no repeat of incidents on Thursday and Friday.  The same old story:  When I am challenged by an authority figure, when I’m in a fatigued state, I come out with a blather of telling the person what I think they want to hear and making myself look guilty of something that, in actuality, never happened.

5.  Tax returns are done and I have worked out a more efficient system of time management, so despite some of the above, things are on an upswing.

Impact

0

December 24, 2018, Phoenix-

One of the admittedly annoying aspects of e-mail is the constant barrage of “Double (Triple) Your Impact!” pitches for donations. So as not to be misunderstood, I like efficient use of funds and that which increases the likelihood that more people will be positively affected by the contribution is all the better.

A positive framework for the term is Impact Experience, a company that focuses on bridge building, in terms of a network between investors and communities at risk.  Founded by Jenna Nicholas, in 2015, this enterprise has worked in communities, regardless of local political culture-the main thrust being reworking the way people see local economies and potential for prosperity.  http://impact-experience-dev.squarespace.com/process/

The common attributes noted for a culture whose purpose is prosperity, rather than profit, are:

  • Distribution of wealth, by partnership, rather than by force.
  • Consultation as the primary communication model.
  • Employee development
  • Sustainability

This culture must undergo change, which occurs in the following stages:

  • Definition;
  • Communication;
  • Reinforcing education;
  • Integration;
  • Practice;
  • Reflection

Where things have fallen apart, in recent years, has been the lack of persistence, often from a skewed perception of the process of change.  One, or more, of the above steps have either been omitted or not properly completed.

As was said earlier, real change is messy.  People stumble, are embarrassed, get discouraged or cave in to pushback.  It helps to realize that few of those who question change are, in the real sense, reactionaries or “knuckle draggers”, just as few of those wanting drastic change are wild-eyed revolutionaries, or “bomb throwers”.

Change is messy, trust comes hard, but both are necessary, in order to bring about the economic justice, for which so many pine.  Listening, with both ears, and action, with all one’s attention and effort, are imperative.