Personal Experiential Influence
I found the focus on Community to be extremely interesting in this chapter, because in my quest for leadership opportunities, I have begun this year to pursue a leadership role in my neighborhood as a captain in the my neighborhood’s Community Group. I feel like I’ve been doing all of the right things: I advertise in a few different ways. I gathered feedback about what it was that people wanted out of the group. I established a regular meeting schedule with a neutral, comfortable space. I arranged for speakers. I developed and maintain a web site. I made phone calls and emails and mailing lists and committed myself. I drafted a strategic plan, vision and goals for the group, and got it approved, though not by a quorum, which is the key issue: attendance. Despite 400+ homes in our neighborhood, we struggle to get 15 people to attend each month. This chapter on community gives me some solace.
It talks about the needs of community: to invent the processes that allow people to live together, such as mediation. “Community members struggle with the traditions that bind them and the interests that separate them in order to realize a future that is an improvement upon the present” (Moore, 1996, pp. 198-199). I have found that our largest attendance numbers occurred right after something negative has happened in the community, such as a robbery or car theft. When these issues arise and there is a neutral or quiet response from police or other officials, we look to those around us who shared in the experience in order to help us make sense of it. I’m starting to think that our meeting schedule could become less frequent and perhaps we could begin performing mediations instead of simply meeting to review the police blotter. According to the strategic plan, the neighborhood wants a group that can help us to watch out for each other, perform our civic duty, and celebrate the beauty of the space where we live. Mediation might be a great way to provide some of those goals.
Moore, C. M. (1994). Why Do We Mediate? In J. P. Folger & T. S. Jones (Eds.), New Directions in Mediation: Communication Research and Perspectives (pp. 195-203). Sage Publications, Inc.