By: Catherine M. Brown
I believe in doing and trying new things. It’s a part of being a committed Life Long Learner, something we all should do at some level. I especially find it interesting being involved and learning community. Not only does it speak to your everyday movement and interaction with our neighbors, remember “Love thy neighbor”, it teaches us how to be in right living relationship with one another. Respecting each other’s space, property and general care of the place in which we live and occupy daily.
That being said, I was very interested in the Time Banking conversation and why was it was called “Radical”? That really interested me! And then, how could it work during this season of community development and involvement. The questions where piling up for me, so on my 33rd Wedding Anniversary while my Husband was still at work, I attended a meeting/training that gave me several ah-ha moments and a chance to explain and share some of my Her-story in and about my Beautiful Germantown, born and raised Hometown.
A Saturday afternoon with several of us sitting in one space, different walks of life, different ways of understanding, introductions that included how do I identify and what was the last thing I did for someone? That last question we should ask each other every day, perhaps we could learn to focus on other than self. I believe I answered it wrong, but okay, I’m learning so it was allowed…lol
There is so much history and tangling of what we have learned rather it was from those who just didn’t know or not hooking up with enough different stories to expand our knowledge or learn our real truths. As humans it’s easier if we deal and hang with “mirrors” (<-- a term used when hiring staff, those who look and act like us), because if we always agree then we just keep moving without pause. But without pause and conversation, because your story differs from mine, it doesn’t always create the absolute best outcome or learning situation. And I don’t have to agree in order to understand. But we can agree to disagree nicely and I have learned from your experience and you from mine.
The Radical Time Banking training/meeting covered all those bases and I walked away feeling like this was time well spent. We talked about our Veterans in this Country, I happen to be very passionate about my Veterans especially those who are Senior Citizens, we talked about college and it’s cost, we talked about real African American history and our stolen labor and the training ranged in topics from Teenage through Senior Citizen life. Time well spent learning, including the phase “time poverty” which means lack of time. This phase has eluded me for years and most African Americans can relate.
All of which brought us around to Radical Time Banking and the meaning thereof. One good deed in exchange for another, exchange of services among a group with a committed and agreed upon understanding of how to function. Your talents exchanged for another person’s talents without the exchange of money. Our Talents and Gifts are our currency! How About That! Boom! I Got It!
Radical simply meaning we are probably not exchanging my 6 bedroom house for your Mercedes – if your Blessed enough at those levels of property you probably can afford to go get your taxes done, or have your plumbing fixed or even drive yourself to the supermarket. Not a problem, you're also invited.
But for those who are not at that level but are gifted and talented and perhaps want to swap a ride to the market for me to write your resume or I teach you how to garden and you give me Life Coaching sessions – This is Radical Time Banking! It’s also welcoming of non-traditional talents as well, the ones you figure out as they are requested and or inquired about. The idea is inclusion rather than exclusion.
By meetings end I had arrived at the following questions: How do you get people to see and trust a new way of doing things? How do you create a new system and put it in place of the old system? How do you create something new, something different and make it successful?
What I get is like anything new to you, Trust is built over time and in order to trust something new you have to invest time in educating yourself about it and really learn it, then try it on and see if it fits for you, then settle in and work it to the best of your ability.
Not everything is for everybody, this we are aware of and that is what makes the world go around. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by to at least get educated about Radical Time Banking! It can truly create a new future where we deal our own hand!
Cathy Brown is a Germantown-native and is involved with GREAT's study & discussion group, Community Land Trust Working Group, and is a member of the time bank.