Question 66 of 365: What kind of relationships do our communities require?

I have a daughter and a son. My wife is my best friend. I live in the suburbs. Whether these are cliches or not, they are the truth that I live each day. The seemingly mundane existence found within these three facts is a lot of what makes me who I am. And yet, a lot of the communities that I have tried to be a part of, do not value these kinds of relationships.

Many of the communities I believe in are not interested in “staying home” with my son on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that my wife can go to work and school. These communities could not care less about the fact that I would rather watch a dvd with my wife than answer e-mail or tweet more consistently. They require a certain amount of commitment that I reserve for my family. And so I must be on the outside looking in, sometimes.

That is not to say that they that they aren’t worthwhile, or that the people that are more committed have given up their families. I believe that there are some families that understand the level of commitment required to take part. Mine doesn’t want to understand that. And, I respect them for it.

Yet, the communities of Entrepreneurs, and Ed Tech folks that I am interested in allow for many different ways of engagement. I can lurk and I can attend on occasion. I can go to a bar to talk about an idea. I can travel to a conference out of state.  I can attend a webinar. I can blog.

These little pieces of attendance that I can string together will allow me to keep the pulse on these communities. They will not allow me to lead them, but they will allow me to engage people in conversation and create something with those people who can overlook my unwillingness to get past my “other commitments.”

I do look forward to a time, however, when my family and life in a suburbs will not be a liability. I look forward to communities that do not make the distinction between having a family and creating something great.

When I come right down to it, I will not be able to develop software or create engaging professional development as fast as someone without children or a significant other. I just don’t have that kind of time. What I can commit to, however, is creating something every day. I can commit to the knowledge that my family sustains me more than any amount of work ever could.

My wife pushes me to blog every day. She makes sure that I have deadlines. My children always make me think from their point of view. They make me understand what it is to be human and learn things for the first time.

And those are the type of people I want to work with. I want people who would rather go out for dinner with their family than people who want to go out for a night of drinking. I want a community that requires deep relationships, not a lot of tenuous ones that are interchangeable. I want a community that respects all forms of taking part as equal, and not just the folks who have the most time on their hands. But, I may just have to create it because I don’t see a whole lot of it going on right now.

0 Comments

  1. Hopefully, you'd rail against me if I posted piece of this.
    Let me start with questions.
    What do you define as your community? Where are you getting signals that the communities you believe in are uninterested in you staying home? Why do you believe in those communities if they don't believe in you?
    How do you feel you're being called to engage?
    The beauty of the communities we can create are their tremendously commutative properties. Part of our 100 we select.
    Please, allow me to rail for a moment.
    The community you describe in the first paragraph, the one that lives with you in your house, that is the most amazing community one can create. I'd also argue your family, your location are tremendous assets. You are grounded and connected. Your brain is living in a place of relative calm which allows thought marination. For those on the outside of that, you have a perspective other kinds of living does not allow.
    I think you'd tell me these things.
    I think you'd argue for the multitude of voices, for the building of the communities we desire, for the importance of plurality. I hope you'd argue for the importance of perspective within the community brought on by individual existence.
    I hope you will.
    I'm going to need it.

  2. Yeah… this post was kind of a reaction to some of the things that I am
    seeing. Sometimes it is really hard for me to comment on things without
    being too critical or specific. Sometimes it difficult to say what I really
    want to say.

    I want to say that going out to bars or meeting rooms for things like Ignite
    Denver, or Boulder/Denver New Technology, or attending conferences like
    Educon are incredibly engaging for me. They help me to refine my ideas and
    push me to reflect in a way that I never could staying in my home. And yet,
    they require me to be away from my family because they aren't “family
    friendly” conversations. They require so much intellectual mustard that it
    becomes quite bitter for anyone who is uninitiated.

    These communities set expectations for joining in, even if those are
    implied. Because I am not satisfied with being a lurker, and I would rather
    help to plan these communities, I am having to make a dichotomous choice
    between family and these external communities.

    There literally is no suburban dad's entrepreneurs club (I know… I should
    create one). There really isn't an Educon that I can attend at 10:00 pm from
    my armchair. I have to go out and do, at the expense of staying in and
    doing.

    I'm fine to find and keep my 100 people, but the only way I will ever be
    able to do it is if I make sacrifices because many of those 100 people do
    not live where I live and they do not have the family life that I do.

    I will always bring what I know from the contexts that I inhabit. I just
    wish I could see a community of people who inhabit the same ones that I
    choose on a more consistent basis. I haven't answered most of your
    questions, but I'm not sure that I can at this point.

  3. my family sustains me more than any amount of work ever could.
    my family sustains me more than any amount of work ever could.
    my family sustains me more than any amount of work ever could.

    can't say it enough man.

    i attend several conferences at 11pm – from my armchair.

  4. I agree.

    But, I don't want to just go to conferences. I want a community that I am an
    integral part of. I want a community that values family. I want a community
    that values kids. I want a community that talks about these things a huge
    aspect of that community. I want a community that isn't afraid to join work
    and play in a major way.

    I create it each day, but it is very hard. I sometimes want it to be less
    hard.

  5. maybe the hard part is in your head?.. i don't know you well enough… like who you are referring to as your community..

    i would guess this guy is part of it. look what he just tweeted…
    @budtheteacher @LParisi @ryanbretag I'd like that, but my Sunday mornings are reserved for family. My apologies. I think it's a good conversation to have.

    from what i see – seems the guys i'm imagining you hang with are the same?

  6. I hang with the same, but I want communities that go beyond education. There
    are so many other spaces that don't seem to value a lot of what I value, yet
    I value what is going on there. It is important for me to get out of the
    education space and explore other places, but whenever I do, it seems as
    though there is an emphasis put on being out without your family.

    Even in Education, though, there is a huge emphasis in my community on
    presenting. I am becoming much less enamored with that because of how much
    strain it puts on my ability to be home. Presenting is this weird
    ego-boosting beast that is engaging and enraging at the same time.

  7. so – you're going for the ultimate ple. which is what i would imagine from you.
    can't wait to see you figure it out.. bring us along..

    when i was young – we called them astro twins..(ultimate ples) we thought they weren't real.
    we didn't think the jetsons would ever happen either.. then along came skype.

    🙂

  8. I'm not sure that I buy jetsons=skype, but I think that the stuff that we
    are creating has the potential to create worlds that we have only dreamed of
    previously.

    I am finding myself channeling a little bit of your urgency recently. I'm
    pretty glad.

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