Community, Wisdom & Cabbages…

My grandmother was a simple woman. She shared her wisdom with “old sayings” that come to me often. Her response to my pained experience of mastering the sewing machine: “it’s a poor workman who blames his tools”; on my frequent whines about my lot in life: “offer it up”; on any matter of importance: “two heads are better than one, even if one is a cabbage”.

This one was confounding. Was my opinion as valuable as veg?

Creative problem solving can’t happen in a vacuum. That was and is the most important lesson she offered.  It is what I seek to offer via this blog.  “Who does she think she is?” is the message I often hear when I raise issues. And the answer is: “No one and everyone”.

Once uttered, thoughts, threats, fears – all lose their power.  No more nighttime monsters under the bed. When we give voice to an issue, we throw open the windows and let in the light. The situation may remain scary – but we are no longer alone in the dark to imagine the demon, or to slay the dragon with limited weapons at hand. We’ve called in reinforcements. Reinforcements with a fresh perspective. They may be unarmed ones or ones who clear the debris obscuring the escape, the ones who resupply, or the ones who rework the strategy. Perhaps, even a peacemaker who will whisper our demons to sleep.

So lest I be misunderstood, I am merely an observer. At best I seek to point out that we are undermining our collective potential. At worst, think of me as a mild annoyance. Often, it is my ignorance that is displayed – and feedback serves to educate me.

The mission here is to create a forum. A conversation to get us thinking about ourselves and our communities in a new light. Think of this place as a fertile field. Our children are the seeds. Their yield will sustain our communities for another generation. Will they grow in seasons of dearth or abundance? Will we leave overplanted fields stripped of nutrients? Or we will hoe, clear the rocks, enrich and prepare a better field to insure success.  We can clear the plots defined by our acres and that is good. How much better would it be if we collectively prepared our own and helped our neighbors? Village wide, county wide, country wide and worldwide.

The agricultural metaphor is not born vainly of poetry. A client – twenty years ago, was delighted that we’d produced a resume she’d struggled over for months. She smiled when I abbreviated my grandmother’s thought – “two heads are better than one”.

“Even if one is a cabbage.” She startled me, I’d never heard that part elsewhere. “Did it make you feel as dumb as a vegetable?” I asked. “No” she said – pooh poohing the sentiment.

Her grandmother always generously finished the thought with, “because if all else fails, you can eat the cabbage”.

Food for thought. Wise women.

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