Re: Commitments to community
From: Mary Baker, Solid Communications (
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2016 08:18:40 -0800 (PST)
Apologies for coming late to the discussion. We have a really robust work 
culture here, and it’s all entirely voluntary. I think that’s because the 
appreciation is always flowing, verbalized and feted, and so work offerings are 
considered part of our socializing.

Having said that, we do have a few (very few) people who like to swan at the 
work parties—they make a big show of attending and greeting everyone but if you 
watch closely they always have someone to talk to, or a plant to deliver, or 
have to get a bottle of water and so they dodge in and out and never actually 
get anything done! Ditto for teams. Sometimes the most visible or vocal 
individuals are not really accomplishing much outside of their own interests, 
while our quiet heroes like our reclusive chessmaster, IT team, maintenance 
team, are quietly getting stuff done every day!

But you know what? That’s a society. Everyone is different. If you replace the 
word ‘swan’ with ‘greeter’ then those individuals bring the sunshine and 
smiles, and that’s an important contribution too.

While respecting your concern, I think that imposing mandatory participation in 
anything is not a good idea. 1) I believe it’s disrespectful—it says, in 
effect, that your citizens are untrustworthy and need to be policed. 2) It 
squashes individuality. 3) Someone has to constantly be the participation 
police, and who really wants that job? And 4) I think if a community is lacking 
in participation, the reasons are much deeper than you realize.

Mary B.
The Cohousing Life

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