This article appeared in the March 18, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/18 edition

From connection, the strength for social change

Bac Totrong/Daily News/AP
Bowling Green (Kentucky) police officers exercise with teenage girls as part of a community-center mentoring program that focuses on collaboration, and aims to strengthen youths’ relationships with law-enforcement officers.
Clayton Collins
Director, editorial innovation

One weekend was not enough time to absorb the events of Friday, even as we watch the situation today in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

The New Zealand attacks were reviled as an act of intolerance and hatred, triggering pushback and a healing introspection

On Friday a global demonstration of youthful unity was underway around slowing climate change. 

And in both cases the deeper story was one of connection and common values – the core components of community.

Real community is of course not the same as our current crush, hyper-connectivity, as Jenny Anderson wrote recently in Quartz. “[C]ommunity is about a series of small choices and everyday actions,” she writes, “how to spend a Saturday, what to do when a neighbor falls ill…. Knowing others and being known.”

What it’s not about, she wrote: a frantic exercise in the optimization of “self,” or about seeking individual competitive advantage. The college-admissions scandal has others lamenting the phenomenon of “snowplow parenting” – the brazen advancement of offspring by shoving aside anything in their path.

A lot has been written – including by the Monitor – about instead fostering empathy in the young. There are strategies for encouraging mindfulness in teenagers. Those are inputs.

Next, more observers are saying, a genuine reboot of social priorities from climate to guns can come from listening to the output of the community of the young – direct, dogged, and increasingly aware.  

“It is perhaps the honesty and sincerity of children’s questions and actions,” writes Karen Leggett in The Washington Post, “that resonate most strongly.”

Now to our five stories for your Monday, including a push to find political common ground in Britain and to find peace through remembrance in Afghanistan. 

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This article appeared in the March 18, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/18 edition