A true community enables us. It invites us in and listens to us. It reflects our thinking back at us, validating some thoughts and forcing us to reconsider other ideas. It grows to fit new members. It allows and encourages people to come and go.
Communities Without Limits
Mark Sonnemann
61

Hi Mark, as I was reading this, I felt you were speaking directly to me. If it had been almost anyone else writing this, I would have moved on without commenting. But because it is you, and I know this came from a deep place in your heart (and your introduction really resonated with me), I thought I’d take a chance and say something. I mean this in the most constructive way possible: I experience the TG2 community as unwelcoming. It doesn’t invite me in and listen to me. It doesn’t reflect my thinking back at me, validating some thoughts and forcing me to reconsider other ideas.

I’ve been searching for a community for most of my life. The one described in your article sounds ideal—but I haven’t found it, yet. Maybe it’s me. I’ve tried to invite people in and listen to them. I’ve tried to reflect their thinking back at them, validating some thoughts and forcing them to reconsider other ideas. But maybe I’m not creating the space for dialogue I think I am, and I’m pushing people away. I don’t know.

My ideas are pretty far out there. And then I had a revelation this weekend. I started to re-read John Dewey and I realized that he was laying out the theoretical framework for vertical learning over a century ago. But his peers in the educational community couldn’t hear him. They misunderstood what he wrote, even though he was as clear as could be. So now I wonder how he experienced that—and if I’m heading for the same fate.

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