Hey You, Undecided Inbetweener
With Gather & Grow fast approaching there has probably been a separation of us into three different groups; each at our own stage of progression.
There are the organisational gurus who have already invited someone over, set the menu, and mapped out the order of proceedings for the evening down to the Nth degree. To you, I say relax, enjoy and leave room for flow.
There are the procrastinating professionals (me) who are down for the challenge and have been meaning to invite someone over, but, every time the thought comes to mind, the quick retreat into reassuring self-talk seamlessly takes over. "No no. I have plenty of time. When the moment is right, I will invite someone."
The problem is I don't even know what makes a moment right, but yet I tell myself to wait until then; a moment that will never come. Not a very ideal situation seeing as I am the organiser of this event.
Perhaps then, if you're in the same boat as me, ask yourself; what is stopping me, what is this perfect moment I am waiting for, will it ever come, and if it won't what are am I going to do about it?
Then in the final group there are the undecided inbetweeners: stuck in the stage of "why bother". Is Gather & Grow even worthwhile doing?
Well, if this be you, my aim is to win you over by the end of this page.
Here's why Gather & Grow will be by golly a great thing to do:
- There is a problem. We stereotype and judge by appearance, in some cases consciously, but in most, subconsciously. We're divided by our differences and blind to our inherent similarities. Because of this, people suffer. Groups are oppressed, while others are handed success. Is it not so horrifically wrong that we treat others so disproportionately based on things so trivial and primitive as their looks or beliefs, when at our essence we are all just birds of the same feather? Something needs to be done. We need experiences that enable us to transcend our assumptions and harvest heart connections with the humanity of those we deem different. Gather & Grow provides us with an opportunity to do this.
- To see past our differences we need to find common ground. We need to start connecting over our similarities. What's a greater a similarity than our need of food for survival? Food is central to every culture and people group, and often is a form of cultural expression for our different lifestyles. Not only are we being physically nourished but at Gather & Grow our minds are also being nourished. There are many topics and issues that affect all of us as humans, no matter our background. These universal topics are another of similarities or shared experiences as humans, and engaging with each other to converse about these allows us to both see how we are alike, but can also shed insight into how the same things can be experienced and understood so differently between people.
- People are already doing it. Amanda Saab is a social worker, chef, and food blogger from the States. She has suffered from discrimination due to her religion, and the miseducated assumptions that people make about it. So, she channelled her hurt and frustration into what she calls Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbour. She invites friends, colleagues and people from her online community around to her home to share a meal. As well as this, Amanda and her husband share their perspective on being Muslim, and allow guests to share theirs and to ask questions. After her first instalment of the dinner, she wrote at at the end of her blog, "During our conversation, we came to focus on our similarities (of which there are many) and not on differences (which are so few). It was wonderful to come to this place so naturally in our discussion" . Sound familiar?
#EatTogether is another campaign currently running in Canada for their 150th country anniversary by the food company President's Choice. The company's vice president of brand marketing said, in regards to the campaign, "We thought food is a great way to bring people together and reconnect them" You may say here that they have an ulterior motive and well yes they do. But just watch the linked video, see how cute it is, and think about recreating that for your Grow & Gather!
I have also done mini Gather & Grow's before I even knew what they were! The main feedback from mine was: participants loved hearing different views from people they wouldn't normally, they loved the safe atmosphere, and they wished there was more time! Looks good right?
- Finally, and most importantly, Gather & Grow is rewarding! Anxiety may be high initially, but one thing I know is that often, anxiety's a liar. See if you can push through it and I promise, as well as the epic accomplishment of overcoming your anxiety, you will learn things about others, and yourself.
Hopefully, if you are an undecided inbetweener, and a procrastinating professional I have now kicked your butt into gear a little bit more!
Watch out for next week's post, where I'll be sharing the conversational topics, tips, and resources.
Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbour - Amanda Saab
This is the Now This News video linked before about Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbour. There is a full video on youtube here. Some of her inspiration came from her friend running a campaign #IAmYourMuslimNeighbour. Check out Amanda's cooking blog called Amanda's Plate for some yummy looking recipes.
#EatTogether - President's Choice
Image - lissiejane
This is Elsa. She's my parent's neighbour's dog. They let me take her for a walk. Here we are up in Victoria Park looking over Christchurch.