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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Junger's Book, Tribe, Inspires Community Building

As I read Tribe by Sebastian Junger, I thought about how his stories, research, and words will inspire greater community in my classroom.

He talks a lot about the great sense of community, common purpose, and collaboration that exists during times of war, tragedy, and disaster. He teases out why people come together with loyalty and care for one another in those situations, and how that creates strong bonds, humanity, and a sense of worth.

He also points out that a lack of common understanding, purpose, and worth tears at a sense of community, humanity, and quality of living. He leaves me with the question of how do we create quality communities and good living in times of peace?

Further, he makes me realize that we have to look deeply at the constructs that play big roles in society. We have to push ourselves to understand the relevance and magnitude of situations. We can't harshly condemn criminals and bad acts because they are easy to see and imagine over quiet, more subtle, and over more harmful and devastating white collar crime, fraud, and injustice such as the 2008 financial crisis where many greedy individuals used public money to bail out their corrupt banks and businesses and then to reward themselves with fat bonuses.

We have to look deeply at societal issues, not just what we can see now, but with a lens on history and the future too. What created the inequity of opportunity and possibility, and what research gives us the information we need to build stronger, more equitable, and welcoming communities.

Classroom specific ideas that I'll take from the book are the following:
  • The tremendous need to educate students about number sense and the ability to clearly gather, analyze, and apply statistical data when making decisions, understanding social issues, and advocating for change.
  • The need for all students to be responsible members of the learning/teaching community, as well as the need for each of us to contribute what we can for the greater good of the learning community so that everyone thrives.
  • The need to think deeply with all stakeholders in the learning/teaching community with regard to what matters, and how we support that with the dollars, time, and energy spent. Are we directing our financial, structural, and human resources in ways that matter, or are we spending money, time, and energy in ways that do not relate to significant learning/teaching goals?
  • Greater use of teamwork, meaningful and relevant project based learning, passion/interest based learning, and collaborative goals/support.
  • A focus on responsibility for our physical environment with less use of plastics, composting, recycling, and protection of natural lands.
In terms of my work as a community member and citizen, Junger prompts me to advocate for more local action and advocacy to make our communities inclusive, welcoming, and ever-growing in ways that matter to citizens, ways that uplift our experience of living with and for one another. 

And as a family member, it makes me think about how we can narrow the divides that keep us apart and pool our resources in ways that uplift one another. 

Finally as a citizen of the United States, it makes me want to advocate for just laws, taxation, and support for the public institutions that truly elevate life for all, not just some. In that light, I'll advocate for quality health care for all at little to no cost, quality public schools for all, good community parks and recreation facilities, suitable infrastructure, and supports for public buildings, homes, and other structures that support the public good. 

Junger's book calls us to look carefully at the communities we create and support to make sure that we work together to elevate the public good in ways that are equitable and inclusive. He demonstrates that community work results in greater health and more satisfied living.

I look forward to embedding his words and inspiration into my efforts as a teacher, citizen, and family member in the days to come. Thanks for the inspiration, Sebastian Junger. I appreciate.

Note - These are tweets I wrote/collected as I read the book: