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Five of us gathered around my kitchen table last week armed with steaming mugs of tea, Skinny Pop Popcorn, and laptops—the weapons of suburban warriors.  To be more precise, we are mothers. Dangerous women, actually. Ready to steer the runaway technology train—Snapchat, TikTok, incessant texting—that had aggressively elbowed its way into our family’s lives.

We’d taken Giancarlo Pitocco’s, Founder of Purposeful, a digital wellbeing enterprise, advice to heart.  He urges parents get together and agree on some shared values around our children’s use of technology.

But let me back up a bit.

Earlier this summer, these women and I developed a plan to launch a community conversation project in our school district.  The history of social moments teaches us that change never begins at the top, and frankly, we were sick and tired of waiting for politicians, leaders, or even the next president, to figure it out for us.

Using 3-Minute Storyteller's “Conversations to Invigorate Community Guide” which pairs a Living Room Conversation with a 3-minute video,  we recruited a conversation facilitator from each school in our district. That facilitator then invited a diverse representation of fellow parents into conversation. Six school buildings. Six or seven parents from each school.  All committed to having three Living Room Conversations this year.

First up was Technology and Relationships. We watched Giancarlo’s story and then came together to honestly share and generously listen to each other’s perspective. After the first round, the conversation facilitators met back at my house to debrief. Enter the Skinny Pop.

What we found knocked our socks off.

Parents positively longing for the chance to talk about meaningful issues impacting our lives. One group even came up with suggested action that we are collectively pursuing with the district.  Clearly a wellspring of energy was tapped.

Conversations like these remind us of our human goodness.  We are not alone in our caring or our pain.  “It’s not our differences that divide us,” Margaret Wheatley, M.Ed. writes.  “It’s our judgements about each other that do. Curiosity and good listening bring us back together.”

Sitting around my kitchen table, we each felt the stirrings of aliveness.  There are two more conversations ahead of us that’ll delve into challenging topics like race and identity. There’s no road map, who knows what lies ahead?

But we do know we are ready.

Ready to trade surface talk that’s a mile wide and an inch deep for real conversation that’s an inch wide and a mile deep. Ready to forget critical mass and focus on critical connections. Ready to reject the notion that isolation is inevitable.

These small steps matter. Conversation by conversation, we have the power to reweave the world into wholeness…and holiness.

Will you join us?

I’ll have the Skinny Pop waiting for you,
Shannon
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