Guest Post by Richard Holmes:
The community building process is essentially about gently nurturing cultural change, through encouraging people to take action on things that are important to them, moving to communities where everyone is welcome and no one is isolated.
As people get together to do things where they live, some small but very significant stories emerge of how people are coming together in their communities. From a distance it can be difficult to see how such stories are contributing to wider social change, although it’s easier to appreciate what it means for the individual’s involved.
Talking to a colleague this week he offered an analogy, which I think is really helpful. He described these small stories of resident led action as flakes of snow, which hold their own individual beauty and value. When we focus on each individual flake of snow we see the importance that a particular story holds for an individual or group.
However, he then went on to describe the process of how when broaden our attention beyond that single snowflake, we look up and notice how our surroundings have changed, as those beautiful small snowflakes have settled on the ground, and dramatically changed our landscape beyond recognition.
We must never underestimate the power of each of these small stories, as combined they can change the way we see our communities. We must learn to appreciate each of these stories and notice them more often, but broaden our vision to notice that there are many stories, each making their own contribution. In doing so we’ll learn to appreciate how the culture in our communities is already moving towards one of welcoming and inclusion.
To quote Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
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