Family and Community – The Root of it all

May 15, 2016



My simple belief, as an ‘Anarchist in Truth’ as I term it, is that each of us deserves to have personal democracy, that being the right to make good choices for ourselves, in essence to be free. With that comes responsibility which, as I was taught it, is to ‘take care of yourself and your family, create a surplus and support the vulnerable; be ready to sacrifice and go to war if you must’.

I won’t wax lyrical about who taught me that or that he (my Dad) fought long and hard as a Socialist against the 1980’s seemingly Thatcherite approach of the ‘individual before all things’ – I actually believe that Maggie naively trusted the human response to having ‘more than enough’ to be the cascading down through family and others of profit into a fairer society – which sadly did not work.

Why? Maybe because ‘Big Government’ had and has set itself up as a big shop, with lots of free, but basic brand goods, that may have stuffed the ‘striving for my family’ out of some of us and certainly seems to have stuffed society.

In my simple view, without a cohesive family unit (to be politically correct) of two adults and a child(ren) the idea of ‘profit’ cascading into society stumbles. Maybe those that are ‘stuffed’ don’t know about their obligation or maybe they don’t care. Families can end up fatherless, mothers can end up run ragged and some fathers can end traumatised.

However, I personally prefer the focus on family over both ‘individualism’ (Tory Righto’s) and Big Government (Labour Lefties). And therefore I care. Given that we can’t be all things to all people, we can only make sensible steps, and we in the Just Clarity Group Social Enterprise focus on what we can do in manageable chunks, for those that are struggling. In the main that is single mums whom we counsel, coach, peer support and help build their careers or businesses. In many ways we act as the stabilising, father-like force.

Sometimes we help the challenged Fathers (through PTSD Resolution) recover their responsible behaviour and sometimes we help the children (say through Transitions-RTC) to overcome addictions, and because we are a community of volunteers we might be said to have created a small ‘social family’ of “Sisters and Brothers!”.

I like that idea because each of us deserves the support of our community to help us achieve our potential, to be able to work with our passion and to lead calm, balanced family lives (in Catholic Social teaching that is called ‘Human Dignity’).

It is from that calm place that individuals can make better decisions (personal democracy) and maybe volunteer to take on responsibility for meeting more of their local community’s needs, ‘Combing Individuals’ and taking social services back from ‘Big Government’ – subsidiarity that is called! I think an association like Links4Growth has the potential to be an organising force for that subsidiarity energy.

It could even then move on and focus on bringing families together and sustaining them through the many challenges and changes that families (and their societies go through). This would be good for Just Clarity Group, who stand ready to build on to supporting families too through its ‘People and Business Matters’ program. An organising force needs People and Businesses to organise for! How would it be to able to contribute and  profit from many small families, collaborating together and that are part of a bigger tribe? It’s been done before!

As for profit? For this I will be held accountable for the performance of Just Clarity Group by our Chairman. I will talk about income, costs, profits and cash, but he will be equally interested in the Social Capital we have generated; happier, confident working mums, spending time with their contented children. We can give back by measuring our social profit rather than just the £.





The encouraging ‘nod’ from a supportive community

May 13, 2016
Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Gods, Utah








Becoming better, then good, then even better and finally a master of ourselves. Would it not be good to have appreciation whilst we are in the process of becoming a master?

When we master something we find that we can do it ‘with ease’. Of course! But do you know what I have learned? Sometimes it takes hard work, patience and a long time, during which seemingly it feels like I am making no progress at all! My Dad called that the ‘plateau’. Some might think that means there is no more progress to be made, but that is not true. It’s a time to strive.

I once dreamt that I was driving a rickety old train along a track towards an exciting vibrant city that I could see way off in the distance, in front of me, over a bridge that crossed a shimmering large body of water. I was excited, but filled with anticipation which was almost nervousness like (have you noticed how hard it is to distinguish the sensations of excitement from anxiety?) Behind, a fast modern train was bearing down on me at speed! Fortunately, just before the crash came, my train veered to the left letting ‘Speedy’ plough on by.

I found myself trunddleing on a circular track, around and around an orchard of fruit. The pace was slow enough for me to able to get off the train, stretch my legs and reach up to gather all kinds of delightful fruit. There was also a compost bin in which I could put all of the no longer needed items, littering the train from my previous (what now felt like a long and arduous) journey. It took me a short while to recognise I was gathering and replenishing my resources for the next stage. ‘The plateau’ I heard my Dads voice laughing and saw his nodding head ‘you are on the plateau!’

That encouraging nod was enough for me to feel that I was on the right track and although I never dreamt it, I was left assured that I would reach my goal.

Far too often that internal nodding voice is a critical one. Some left of remnant of a bye gone era that play tonelessly and annoyingly yet incessantly insistently. A judge some say it is called. A judge which some of us allow to intervene in the normal unfolding of our everyday life. Yet, if you are to before a proper judge, you will be treated fairly and have representation, an advocate to make your case. I bet many of us forget that part.

The reality is, we can and should expect from those around us supportive community encouragement. They can be our advocates, for example, with a smile for when we atempt something, make a stab or approximate how to approach the task. An encouraging nod when we fall just a little short, just before adjusting ready for our next attempt (The Royal Artillery use such a process to target their guns) and a clap on the back when we do try again.

We should also expect the community to be patiently encouraging whilst we are on the plateau harvesting, honing and testing our gifts, strengths and talents. Mastery? It’s all in the preparation. Who makes your case?