In my work with communities or government departments, in the world of governance and managing risk, strengthening ethics, social responsibility, controlling corruption or wrongdoing, I inevitably come face to face with the difficult community social issues, with an often common theme, whether it be inner city youth problems, drug or alcohol abuse, poverty, unemployment, or crime. Such problems cannot be solved overnight or the near term.
So where is the hope for these communities? More enforcement? Perhaps, if possible. But perhaps it is also time to reflect on different possibilities regarding the “ethic of care”, in finding options for doing what the community can do for itself. Something possible is a “direction, engagement and results” initiative, where what is important is first finding a direction that has hope for the future. Given a common awareness of this, of our values, and our future, the next question is that of engagement possibilities and building the future one result at a time. The most significant engagement possibility is in reconnecting the community, through reconnecting the youth with the main community and with the elders. In a commitment to accompaniment with our youth and our elders, with ourselves, in a more inclusive community. It is time to sit and talk and get to know each other, to share our stories, and learn from each other. It is time to build a new shared identity. There is an adage “I am who you are”, which means “when you suffer, I suffer”. We need to be one family in this community, where our moral worth is measured in how we treat the most disadvantaged among us.
We are a community that does not look the other way regarding any of our youth or our elders. It is time to do what we can do, one smile, one quiet word, one helping hand, one non-judgmental conversation at a time.