We have to be mindful and reach out to those whose values and virtues help build a nurturing, dependable, responsible, friendly, brotherly (sisterly), courageous,
hopeful community with high expectations.
In the fall of 2002, I traveled to San Antonio, Texas to participate in a student success symposium. Among the speakers my editor, Sande, had lined up that day was Clifton Taulbert. His luncheon keynote drew on his book Eight Habits of the Heart: Embracing the Values that Build Strong Families and Communities.
Taulbert helped us understand how the eight habits that he came to know and embrace as a young African American growing up in the Mississippi Delta region are the basis for any functioning, caring, compassionate, and growing community. As he states in the beginning of his book, neighbors and family came together
…On their porches, which were their principal meeting places, to shield us from segregation’s woes by building a good community for our dreams. They, ‘the porch people’ of the Mississippi Delta, knew how to build such community because their parents had built community for them. (p. 3)
Their community was built upon the habits of
Inspired by Taulbert’s lessons and encouraged by my college campus president, I developed an interactive workshop for my campus colleagues titled Who Are Your Coffee-Cup People?
Each participant received this card as reminder.
I helped them examine who provided the support and encouragement critical to their development both as individuals and as a group. These “coffee-cup people” watched out for, encouraged, admonished, and celebrated with them and cried with them. The people with whom they would gladly sit and share a cup of coffee. During times of trial and tribulation these people are invaluable. (Years later I fleshed out the importance of each of us developing our own Board of Directors.)
Whether we call them Coffee-Cup People or our Board of Directors or, as Taulbert did, the Porch People, these people help us grow and, as a result, help build a sense of community. They share wisdom and hold us to high standards. They question. The listen. They cheer. They raise the bar for what we and those around us can become. They foster nutritious relationships.
Sometimes we end up in places that (and with people who) do not help build community. In fact, these energy vampires suck community right out of the room. We have to be mindful and reach out to those whose values and virtues help build a nurturing, dependable, responsible, friendly, brotherly (sisterly), courageous, hopeful community with high expectations.
One of my 2022 goals is to connect with at least one coffee-cup person per week.
Who is on your list of Coffee-Cup People? When will you connect (or reconnect) with these beacons of light?
Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.
You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.
My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida