Find the gifts and talents of everyone in the community. Find a place for that gift, utilise that gift in ways that build community, economy and mutual delight.
ABCD involves more than identifying individual and community strengths and assets. If all we do identify strengths, we are essentially creating a community directory. The power of a strengths-based approach is when we not only identify these strengths and assets, but also mobilise, connect and build on them.
Find the gifts and talents of everyone in the community.
Everyone has gifts and talents. As DeAmon shows, some people can be labelled as having nothing of value to contribute and “professionals” can overlook many strengths and skills of people who have been given some other label. When we consciously look for people’s gifts and talents we will get a very different view to when we focus on what they can’t do.
I never thought what I did mattered.
Marginalised individuals and communities are often given the message that they don’t matter. In ABCD we recognise that everybody has something to contribute and it is important that their contribution is recognised. As John McKnight suggests:
Every single person has capacities, abilities and gifts. Living a good life depends on whether those capacities can be used, abilities expressed and gifts given.
We need to be skilled in showing others that what they do DOES matter.
Let’s talk to his first teachers – his mother and grandmother.
Notice how DeAmon recognises that education doesn’t just happen at school and that family are important educators.
I don’t want to help a few people beat the odds; I want to change the odds for everyone.
A commitment to social justice needs to be at the heart of ABCD. There are many social, economic, political and cultural policies and practices that prevent people meeting their full potential. ABCD which only focuses on community strengths and ignores broader structural issues can be doing communities a disservice.
What stood out for you in DeAmon’s talk?
If you liked this post you might want to follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at: