08 February 2022
Fidál, 03 Mulk (Dominion), 178 B.E.
Magnolia bud catching the afternoon sun, waiting patiently for spring …
Tony Budak and I had a protracted exchange on Signal (great platform for threaded discussions, by the way) about the projects he has underway, the direction he would like to see them go, and the frustration he feels about not being able to attract others to participate in them and fuel their forward progress.
He is not alone in this lament. So much talent is left on the table in communities everywhere, despite so much need for it to be brought to bear on myriad problems confronting us.
We have a real breakdown in trust at every level of society, which hampers the flows of cognitive, social, and emotional intelligences into those initiatives that could make a huge, positive difference for so many.
The unanswered question is if I invest of myself into this effort, what assurances are there that something substantive will come from it? More telling, will my association with the initiative itself or the people and organizations involved tarnish my reputation or compromise my position to pursue other opportunities in the future?
That’s a tough nut to crack! The only way through it is by continuing to have conversations that matter and prompt experimentation with ways that work—in other words, commit to learn and do, which brings us back to Tony’s whole schtick: “Raise the Value of Learning.” No one said this is going to be easy ;-)
In my recent exchanges with Michael Greenman about advancing the Global Rebirth campaign, the issue of trust surfaces once again — this time related to how the proliferation of information-based systems, platforms, processes, apps, and tools proves to be overwhelming to those who feel uncomfortable going beyond email and phone calls. And if the core group members steering the project experience such discomfort, the offending technology becomes a hindrance rather than a help in gaining their trust and garnering their participation.
Michael’s take on it is to not let technology get in the way of nurturing caring relationships. And if it looks like that’s beginning to happen, ditch the technology. Sound advice!
Inspired by my sister’s recent crocheting projects, my life partner tried her hand at crafting a wrap for our toddler granddaughter. After just part of an evening, here’s the result:
All these talented women in the family, it’s humbling …
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The initial stirrings of grassroots social action begin to be seen in a cluster as the availability of human resources increases and capacity for a wider range of tasks develops. Villages have proven to be notably fertile ground from which social action initiatives have emerged and been sustained, but in urban settings too, friends living there have succeeded in carrying out activities and projects suited to the social environment, at times by working with local schools, agencies of civil society, or even government bodies. Social action is being undertaken in a number of important fields, including the environment, agriculture, health, the arts, and particularly education. Over the course of the Nine Year Plan, and especially as the study of specific institute courses stimulates greater activity in this area, we expect to see a proliferation of formal and informal efforts to promote the social and economic development of a people. Some of these community-based initiatives will require basic administrative structures to sustain their work. Where conditions are propitious, Local Spiritual Assemblies will need to be encouraged to learn how best to cultivate new, fledgling initiatives and to foster efforts that show promise. In some cases, the needs associated with a particular field of endeavour will warrant the establishment of a Bahá’í-inspired organization, and we anticipate the appearance of more such organizations during the coming Plan. For their part, National Spiritual Assemblies will have to find ways in which they can stay well informed about what is being learned at the grassroots of their communities and analyse the experience being gained; in some places this will call for the creation of an entity dedicated to following social action. Looking across the Bahá’í world, we are delighted to see how much momentum has already been generated in this area of endeavour through the encouragement and support of the Bahá’í International Development Organization. 1
- Universal House of Justice. “To the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors.” Bahá’í Reference Library, 30 Dec. 2021,https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/20211230_001/1#758524494 [return]