In Alberta we like to achieve.
We pride ourselves on our ability to push though, to power ahead, to “get ‘er done.”
Most of us are busy, and even our time outside of work is full. We take pride in just how much we can cram into 24 hours.
Deep down we all know that living life at this frantic pace is not healthy… which is why we devote so much time an energy to planning our vacations and retirement. We tell ourselves that once we “make it”, everything will be better.
I’m fascinated by how un-Albertan Jesus was.
In the bible book of Mark, chapter 9 verses 33 – 37, Jesus catches his friends having a conversation that would be very normal in most of our workplaces. They were arguing about who was going to get the furthest ahead.
Jesus stops them in their tracks and tells them that in order to follow him they need to stop looking at what they can achieve and instead put other people ahead of themselves. He says, “anyone who wants to be first must be the very last.”
Jesus then does something that is very difficult for busy people to do. He stops what he is doing, bends down and starts engaging with some local children. After a moment or two he turns to his wannabe-high-achieving friends and says something like “if you really want to get ahead in life, you need to stop and learn to make space for children.”
Have you ever tried to make space for kids while you were trying to achieve or “get ‘er done?” If you have then you know it doesn’t work. When she was little, my daughter used to grab my face in her hands and say “Daddy, look at me,” when I was trying to multi-task.
Our kids call us to a different way of life, life that is lived spontaneously and “in the moment.” It seems to be this way of life that Jesus is also calling his followers to, and it is this way of life that all the research points towards as being good for our health and so much more.
Over and over again we see that the block parties that have the biggest impact on neighbourhoods are the ones that make space for the kids. As the kids bring all their spontaneous fun, they help the adults rediscover the ways life was always meant to be.
Once again we are gearing up for block party season in St. Albert, and once again we are hoping to create the kind of space where our kids can lead the way towards real community.
Block Parties were started as a strategy to reduce crime in St. Albert, and they do, but they do so much more than that.
I’d like to personally encourage you to consider helping a block party happen on your street. www.goodneighbourproject.org has all the information you need to make it happen. You won’t regret it.