Preaching to the choir – community meetings 6


There’s some serious smack going on in the world – real serious, deadly serious, but I’m not going to talk about any of it in this post; enough people already have this stuff covered.  Smack/stuff is all so overwhelming and huge that I’m staying in my tiny corner and being as demonstratively good as I can while minding my own business – in both meanings of the phrase – and trying to maintain and elevate.

So, this post will talk about some more annoying stuff from community meetings & gatherings.

Preaching to the Choir:preacher

A pet peeve of mine is when “people preach to the choir”.  This means lecturing those of us who are at an event about those who aren’t at the event.  The organizer expected hordes and they got far fewer people than they wanted or needed.

They gloss-over those of us who are in fact attending the event or meeting.  Being there indicates our support for and interest in the event or cause, so this might not be the time for you to moan and groan, pitch and bitch about those who aren’t in attendance or lecture about what might happen if more people had come or you had more support.

I suggest working with who’s in front of you and maybe set aside a time to ask for ideas as to how to get more people to your next event or meeting.  How about that?

The reality is that those people who go out – be they community activists, culture aficionados or social butterflies are generally juggling lots of invitations plus our personal and work lives.  Certain days and weekends find me with 3-6 invitations of events to attend. Decisions have to be made and not all invites can be honored.  (And that’s not counting – weather situations, fatigue, etc., factoring into the mix.)

Ignorance about Social media

Despite the fact that Social Media abounds, there are still community leaders who declare  (loudly and publicly) that they “don’t know nothin’ ‘bout that Tweeter/twister/Facebook/texting stuff” and will then go on to comment that they want to:

  • reach young people (can’t without social media especially texting) or
  • they want more people to attend their function and support their cause (not happening without regular social media presence).

Please don’t say this publicly any more (especially when you’re supposed to be providing leadership)!  Instead, get one of your children, grandchildren, neighbors, colleagues or employees to give you a tutorial. Or go to a computer class and learn.  Lots of community-based organizations have free classes and computer access as do public libraries.  To be unfamiliar with basic social media today is akin to being illiterate.  You can control how far you go into the social media realm but to ignore it is to be marginalized, irrelevant and stuck.

Help me, help me

We each have to work harder for our dreams/visions/ideas that anyone else.  So, if one wants to own a building/business or whatever,  one has to own that dream and then reach out to others for patronage.  Many of us missed opportunities for owning buildings in a different real estate market than exists today in Boston.  There’s no turning back the clock on that.  Still, I believe that buildings can be owned and businesses built if people get together behind a well-articulated and planned vision especially if we can go small.  Dreams don’t have to be big to be meaningful.

We have to do something and then build from there.  We have to support ourselves as as vigorously as we complain about not being supported by others.

If it’s your dream, you have to work hard for it – harder than anyone else.

I see ghosts

At each meeting/gathering/event there are the silences of things left unsaid, memories and experiences not shared.  The ghosts of those who’ve gone before, of failed efforts, of gossip, secrets, lies and blown opportunities threaten to explode sometime.  I know I sometimes choke on the things I’m suppressing.

Establishing Bona Fides – silly! silly!

Trying to out-community, out-activist each other as though there was a recognized Community Seal of Approval is a waste of precious time.  Please stop it!

We have to combine the earnest energy , unbridled passion  and knowledge of the young with the experience,  knowledge and actions of the older.  All of us have to do something positive and tangible for our community (beginning in our personal lives and families then expanding to the community) instead of complaining about who didn’t…why didn’t… what should have…

I will now end this sermon-post and go mind my business.  Thanks for reading.

If you like this post, you might also like:

You Can’t Take Black Away from Me

What if the arts were truly visible in the community?



About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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