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Making innovation work for good. T:@inspirechilli

Monday 13 February 2012

A modern ritual to grow

Since it’s social media week, I’m going to try to squeeze in as much advantaged thinking and tweeting as I can. Life might feel like one hectic highway of meetings and bids, but after a weekend with a cupcake consultation – if you haven’t tried one, seriously, it’s the way forward – I have the advantage of amazing ingredient combinations from Bea's of Bloomsbury in my mind.

Topic number one for today is about the lines of people buying valentine cards and flowers at Liverpool Street station tonight, on the eve of Valentine’s. It’s an amazing achievement: a ritual so strong in the modern public consciousness that even the most stressed out worker drone will break the habit of their path home to invest in those little symbols of appreciation and affection for another human being.  The power of positive gifts and gifting to others is not to be underestimated.

 I’m a strong believer in ritual.  It feels to me, in our modern sophistication, we forget how ‘the right’ rituals can be created and used to stimulate progress in our society.  A good ritual will beat any performance system or Government sanctioned ‘nudging’ to develop human behaviour.  We are sometimes in danger of losing rituals that have lost presence in our lives, without finding their replacement in a new form.

All of which reminds me of Seamus Heaney’s brilliant North poems, where, in the context of the Irish troubles of the 70s, he wrote about the potential for understanding and healing through a refreshed form of ritual and ceremony. 

Is there a ritual that will enable us to change the way invest in those young people we just see as deficits and disadvantaged?  Is there a ritual that will enable us to share with them the same focus of love we hold for our own children’s investments and those of our family?

Some might say that Children in Need’s red nose day is the charity equivalent to a modern ritual for giving, but it’s not what I’m thinking of or hoping for, however worthy the cause.  Children in Need – as the name suggests, Holmes – is  locked into a form of giving a pound to deficits and disadvantage that is part of the system of charity we are comfortable with, rather than a different, more profound ask: about changing ourselves.  About thinking differently of our world and how we can harness the resources within it as assets for good. What I’m talking about is a ritual for investing in the humans we don’t know, with the love and belief that everyone has the talent to contribute amazing things to life if we can get the deal right.  Children with Goals, Children in Talent, whatever brand will do.  That’s not an easy ask, and that’s part of the point. For us to evolve, we need to challenge the potential of our lives to increase the potential of others in the bigger life we call earth. How exciting that is. What a huge flower of responsibility to nurture.

When you are done with Valentine’s in social media week, when the flowers have died, send someone an advantaged thinking tweet, an e-card to open their confidence and ability, a smiley email, anything that connects. Look for a ritual to grow our new consciousness to open talent in all young people.   

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