|RE: Not eating common meals. yechh.||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Floriferousclassic.msn.com)|
|Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 14:38:02 -0600|
Community meals, when you examine it, are quite miraculous. I know of no other neighborhood situation where people regularily cook food for each other , so this is something quite unusual and unique to communities. Community meals are great places to really get an understanding of your neighbors and their lives. Even if you don't like the food, you would benefit from taking your own food to community dinner and sitting and listening and sharing with others over mealtime. If kids are allowed to run around and be loud at dinner the non-parents may find the noise and activity inappropriate, whereas parents have a much higher tolerance for noise and kid activity. To put it on a numeric scale of ten where ten is loud and one is quiet, most parents would be about a 7, and many non-parents about a 2. This can result in non-parents dropping out of meals cause its just too loud and chaotic, or can result in friction and conflict, which will eventually get resoloved by putting restrictions on kid noise and activity. Parents perspectives and non-parents perspectives on kid appropriate behavior often form a wide gulf. This can really blow up on you so pay attention to it. Other things that will keep people from community meals is the peer pressure expectations for cooking. If you have a setup where you have to cook in order to be a participant, those who can't or don't want to will drop out. Cooking is something that can be very unenjoyable even stressful for some folks and generally people won't do this too long if they feel that way about it. Forcing them too do something they don't want will eventually lead to unhappy situations. Better to encourage those who find joy in cooking, than to punish or guilt trip those whose joys lie elsewhere. Another barrier to meals can be time. It can take quite a bit of prep time to make a meal and some folks have lives that are time stretched. (although, on the other hand, some of the people I know that claim to be too time stretched to do things, still find time to watch 4-6 hours of TV - but that's another subject). If you set up so community meals happen on weekends, or on Mondays so people can use Sunday as a prep day, it takes the load off those who are time crunched. We have a Saturday breakfast that works well as far as sign up goes, most always there is a Saturday breakfast, where as Thursday dinners are pretty hit and miss as far as sign ups goes. A finally barrier is the accounting of it all. It can be a largish task to figure this out and track it. There are a wide variety of systems used, from chits, to cash at the door, to acculative monthly payments and debts. Each system has its advocates and you will want to experiment around. Rob Sandelin Sharingwood
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