How to Be a Homebound Changemaker – Part 1

At Blue Roads Education, we’re defining “changemakers” as those creating “Homegrown Solutions for a Patchwork World”. This gets complicated when we are ordered to stay home and away from our usual efforts at changemaking. Many of us are trying to figure out how to remain effective changemakers while staying within the four walls of our homes. We are doing our best to practice physical distancing as we attempt to remain socially and ethically engaged.

While medical professionals, first-responders, suppliers, and educators continue to scramble to keep us afloat, those of us who benefit from their work might be feeling ineffective as contributors. For now, our changemaking must be, not only homegrown, but homebound.

The Blue Roads Changemaker Journey emphasizes knowing ourselves well while seeking solutions that benefit all of humanity by engaging with diverse others. Is it possible to do so from the confines of our houses and apartments? We think so.

Never have the words “Think Globally, Act Locally” (attributed to ideas espoused by Scottish Town Planner Patrick Geddes more than 100 years ago) been more relevant and important to our existence. But for now, the “local” part of that equation might be restricted to the literal home front.

This is all complicated further by the layering and juggling of efforts to teach and work in tandem with parenting and home responsibilities that multiply when everyone is cooped up at home for long periods of time. It’s important to note that this piece is not intended to add yet another ball to juggle or layer of muck to wade through for families feeling the stress. In contrast, what follows are simple ways to cultivate and maintain changemaker characteristics during a time that may try to challenge them.

“Homegrown” values and ideas rooted in our families and communities of origin give us a sense of groundedness and belonging. Knowing who we are and who our “people” are gives us a sense of identity and self awareness from which we can grow and make meaning of the world we encounter. During this time when we are confined to our homes, some of us have been given the time and space to connect, or reconnect, with our homegrown roots.

Here are a few suggestions for meaningfully doing so by focusing on the idea of Nurtuing Our Roots:

•Reminisce • Remember •Reconnect •Reflect •Reestablish

This is a good time to reminisce and share memories with your loved ones. lf time permits, dig out those photo albums, do that ancestry search you’ve been putting off and find ways to share what you learn with your loved ones near and far.

As you dig into your path, take the time to think about how the past, that which you lived and that before your time, plays into your current situation. Reflecting earnestly on our privilege, our traumas, our assumptions, our entitlements and our slights all help to prepare us to engage in the real work that sets changemakers up for progress when the time is right.

Use this time to reconnect with those you love and those you hope to emulate in your own life. Surrounding ourselves (physically or virtually) with those we admire and appreciate inspires the best in us. Working to heal relationships lost through inattention can be a great gift to all involved.

Time at home can be used to reestablish priorities and a commitment to values you hold dear. When we take the time to fully listen, to share a meal or to meditate, pray or sit by the fire in reverence, we are connecting with the essence of our spiritual existence.

My social media feeds are chock full of wonderful examples of individuals and groups using their “captivity” to put their talents, time and resources to good use to solve problems and meet immediate needs in our community. Sewing face masks, printing 3-D pieces for face shields, picking up groceries for neighbors and even displaying teddy bears in windows are examples of help and expressions of community.

When you are thinking up ways to cultivate change from home during these uncertain times, it may help to think about how you might Tend the Seedlings of solutions in the following ways: 

• Meet Needs •Use your Gifts •Give Generously •Act Responsibly •Be Creative •Learn Something New

Be easy on yourself. If we remember that every small act of kindness and helpfulness “counts”, we will clear our minds of guilt associated with not being on the front lines of the action. Use your own gifts and talents to the best of your ability.

• I’m not a seamstress or a technology aficionado, but I am capable of doing errands and sending positive messages into the world.

• I am not a medical professional, but I can support those who are by staying at home, keeping my social distance and covering my face when I go out.

• I am not a painter or a musician, but I can support their efforts by showing up at their virtual shows and concerts and adding to their electronic tip jars along the way.

• I can use the opportunity to expand my own learning while supporting entrepreneurs trying to eek out a living with online classes while business is slow.

In Part 2 of “How to be a Homebound Changemaker”, we’ll think about the “Patchwork World” portion of the Changemaker Framework in light of current rules about physical distancing. In the meantime, you can find the podcast version of the post at the Blue Roads Changemaker Podcast wherever you typically listen. Send me a note at [email protected] to let us know how you are focusing on your homegrown roots and tending to the seedlings of solutions growing out of your own special gifts.

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