Those that have and those that have not – A call to arms

Societal innovation can sound like a very grand term – and it is. This week I was asked by a friend ‘what can I do to help with the challenges facing society?’ An immediate answer presented itself in the aftermath of the destruction in Manchester – pick up a brush and go and help clean up. The question that was asked though is a  ‘good question’   – what can the ordinary person do about the challenges facing our society today, tomorrow, and in the future?

From a young age I was taught about what was right and what was wrong. I was taught to be kind, to share my toys, to be polite. I was taught to walk on the outside of the pavement, to hold open doors, and to stand up on the bus for those less mobile than me. I was taught to read and to write. I was taught to add and subtract, to divide and to multiply.  And there is more.

As I grew older I was taken on holiday by my grandparents where I learned about the sea, the tides, and the phases of the moon. I learned how to cook on an open fire, I learned that fire burns, I learned about what to do when a car breaks down, I learned how an egg can be used to repair a leaking radiator. I learned that my pale skin and the sun do not go together too well. And there is more.

At scouts I leaned how to pitch a tent, how to tie knots, how to iron a uniform, and I learned that a boy scout should always do his best to do is duty to god and to the queen.

In the background there were mentors, guardians, and others who cared about me. I had (and still have) parents whom live together.  Neighbours with all-seeing eyes, neighbours who cared. A very kind lady called Laura Seex who gave me extra reading lessons and listened to me read.

And there is more  – you get the message.

I wonder if the young people whom I saw on my television screen this week who were  burning and looting in my city have the same memories to look back on or are experiencing  anything like the support and upbringing that I had. I wonder.

Call to arms

Call in the troops? Rubber bullets? Shoot the lot of them? No

How about something far more practical. How about putting down the iPad once a week and volunteering to help at the local scout group? How about joining the Round Table or the local Rotary Club? How about an hour a week at the Samaritans? How about swapping the Trafford center for the local church hall occasionally? How about finding out about how to be a governor at a local school or how about spending an hour or so a week listening to children reading? And how about not buying that next gadget for your kids?  as after all what they want, and probably need, is your presence not your presents.

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About David C Roberts

I am passionate about innovation, development, learning, and the future. I work internationally supporting individual entrepreneurs, organisations, educational institutions and government bodies. I am available to speak, facilitate learning sessions and run enterprise workshops. Areas of experience and know how include: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Management Accounting, and People Development .
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2 Responses to Those that have and those that have not – A call to arms

  1. Bjorn says:

    Bjorn writes — I think it´s important to create a deeper understanding of the new time. Only then we realize that much of the fragmentation and segregation that currently characterize the society can be explained by the fact that we are in transition between two social types. The community is the glue that binds people together, who teaches them to cooperate, take responsibility and trust each other. It´s probably one of the main drivers for socially sustainable development. But a functional community can never be created and maintained by someone else than the individuals who are directly dependent on the social community they are part of. Interpersonal issues must be resolved by the people themselves and can never ultimately be left to faceless institutions, how democratic and representative they may be. Society is becoming a “war of all against all”. It´s a society where trust and understanding, respect and tolerance, get less and less space, where almost no one trust anyone outside their own very personal sphere. So David, I agree with you. We need to build social capital, but it takes other forms and other methods than the ones we have been accustomed to, but the deficit of social capital is probably one of the main issues on the societal agenda.

  2. Bjorn says:

    Bjorn writes –

    I think it´s important to create a deeper understanding of the new time. Only then we realize that much of the fragmentation and segregation that currently characterize the society can be explained by the fact that we are in transition between two social types. The community is the glue that binds people together, who teaches them to cooperate, take responsibility and trust each other. It´s probably one of the main drivers for socially sustainable development. But a functional community can never be created and maintained by someone else than the individuals who are directly dependent on the social community they are part of. Interpersonal issues must be resolved by the people themselves and can never ultimately be left to faceless institutions, how democratic and representative they may be. Society is becoming a “war of all against all”. It´s a society where trust and understanding, respect and tolerance, get less and less space, where almost no one trust anyone outside their own very personal sphere. So David, I agree with you. We need to build social capital, but it takes other forms and other methods than the ones we have been accustomed to, but the deficit of social capital is probably one of the main issues on the societal agenda.

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