Urgent vs. Engagement

This past weekend with all the snow melt and rain we received here, we ended up having leaks in our basement.  When we bought this house, the inspector pointed out some cracks in the foundation and said that it appeared to have leaked in the past, but was dry now. He said that if we buy the house we should look at having them patched. We did buy the house and since it wasn't leaking it never came up again. Last year, we discovered after a big melt that we had water coming into the garage through holes in the foundation left by tie rods through the concrete. This was an easy fix by just filling the holes with concrete caulk. Even with these warnings, I never took the time to fix the cracks. Now, this weekend not only did the visible cracks start to leak, but unseen cracks behind the basement walls also started leaking which ultimately ruined the carpet and the walls in the basement. Now it will take hours and hours of my time and thousands of dollars to repair. It now has become urgent. If I would have engaged the problem before, it would have been about $100.00 and a couple of hours of my time.

Why is it so hard to engage in some issues before they are urgent? For me, I think it has to do with the perception of work. To fix a crack in the foundation for me is unknown and scary, so I put it off. A bandaid fix seems easier even though it won't last.  

Now that I have done some research on foundation repair, I know that my problem can be fixed with $60.00 of material and about two hours. Unfortunately for me, I learned this lesson too late.  Now I will have to spend six to seven thousand dollars and all my weekends for the next few months rebuilding the basement.

What does this have to do with LCAT?  Well, it's one thing to not engage with issues around the house, but when we do it with teenagers the consequences can be much more disastrous.  We all need to take the time to engage with our kids now. For one thing, we already have so little time left with them before friends, collage, and life take over. For another, they need us. They are still growing and learning and despite how they may act or what they may say, they still want mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and others in their life. We want them to be responsible and stand on their own, but when we use this as an excuse to disengage, to move on with our own lives, we are risking a lot. We don't have to be overprotective and nosey, we just need to show them that we are there when they need us.  

A phrase that I am really starting to like is "show them that you are a partner in this journey." I think that sums it up pretty well.

It's All About Engagement

Last year, we completed our first full year with the Drug Free Communities grant. We spent the year really getting organized and figuring out how we can help our community. If 2012 was about establishing ourselves, then I see 2013 as being about engagement. Our goal in 2013 is to engage our community in making change. How will we engage more families, businesses, organizations, and our youth? The answer is you. Now don't panic. This is not what you think. At this point, most organizations would be asking for more of your time, money or even blood (think Red Cross). Yes, we could always use more volunteers and we are always willing to take donations, but what we really want is your voice. If we are going to create a healthy environment for our kids, we need to do four things: empower our youth, educate the community, improve our environment and support our neighbors.

Here are some simple things you can do just by using your voice:

Engage our youth in conversation. Next time you see a teen, just say “hello.” Recognize they are there, if you have time start up a conversation. Find out about them, what they like and what they don't like about our community. You may be the only adult they have communicated with all day.

Engage your neighbors and friends. Do they see the same issues and pride in the community that you do? Do they know about LCAT and what we do? Invite them to one of our Community Conversations or to join our Facebook page.

Engage your local government. This year we will be educating our members on issues facing our community. We will be asking you to contact your government officials and let them know how you feel.

Engage with those around you. We all have issues and things to celebrate. No matter what the event, reach out to your friends and neighbors and let them know you care and that you are there for them. Maybe engage in conversation or maybe just sit with them. We never know what people really need until they know you care and are willing to listen.

These are just some small things you can do. The bottom line is to engage people in conversation. Get the word out about the great things happening with LCAT. The more people we get involved in creating a healthy environment for our youth, the more change will occur.