Thursday, April 22, 2010

Neighborkid Wisdom Revealed through Results-Based Accountability

Tonight when I got home from work I was greeted by a bunch of neighborkids who were on an accountability mission.  They remembered that I’d promised to share a chocolate Easter bunny with them, and they were ready for me to follow through on that commitment.

After everybody came inside and we’d divvied up / gobbled up the chocolate rabbit and washed it down with ice water, I asked the kids, “Will you guys help me out with my homework tonight?”  I wanted to see if we, as fellow neighbors, could try out an exercise I recently learned that is associated with a community change framework called “Results-Based Accountability.” 

The kids said okay, so I asked them to help me answer the following questions:

If all the kids in our neighborhood were        
                                                                        … happy…            
                                                                                                      how could we tell?

Here’s what the kids (ages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 10) had to say:

1.     If all the kids in our neighborhood were HAPPY we would notice:
·      Kids jumping on the bed and in trees
·      Every kid would have a nice monkey …or pets…or puppies
·      Kids drawing pictures with chalk
·      Kids having fun with Miss Allison
·      There would never be storms
·      The whole world would have superpowers
·      No kicking nobody
·      No fighting
·      No punching

2.     If all the kids in our neighborhood were HEALTHY we would notice:
·      More fruit
·      Growing up bigger and bigger
·      Lose weight / don’t be fat
·      Don’t be skinny
·      Have more superpowers
·      Gus (Miss Allison’s puppy) would be bigger

3.     If all the kids in our neighborhood were LEARNING we would notice:
·      Thinking in your brain
·      Go to school every day
·      Learn about everything
·      Don’t be bad – be good
·      Listen to the teacher
·      Follow the rules
·      They’re going to be outside all the time
·      Do all your homework
·      Don’t stand around on the sidewalk

4.     If all the kids in our neighborhood were LOVED we would notice:
·      People saying, “I love you” more
·      They would love dogs
·      They would love school
·      They’d go to somebody’s house every day and they’d let them in and they’d stay for like an hour
·      Ask them and they would say, “I am loved”
·      I love our neighbor Joanna
·      They would say “I love you” really much

5.     If all the kids in our neighborhood were CONTRIBUTING (doing things for our neighborhood and for the world, like grown-ups do), we would notice:
·      Kids helping their moms
·      Helping their dads
·      Helping their parents
·      Doing what your parents say
·      Drawing pictures on the road
·      Washing cars with grown-ups
·      They would have a shirt on about what they were doing

6.     If all the kids in our neighborhood were LOVING we would notice:
·      Kids loving their parents
·      Kids loving their grandmothers and grandfathers
·      Kids loving their cousins
·      Kids loving their pets

[What would that look like?  How could we tell?]
·      They would be happy
·      Well, say they were crying – someone outside, they came and talked to them and then they really weren’t crying because they were loved. 

I have to say, I am pretty impressed by how capable these neighborkids are when it comes to identifying what community planners and social service providers refer to as “population outcomes.”  Sure, there were a couple of “strategies” in the mix (like “every kid having a nice monkey” to be happy and “more fruit” to be healthy), but overall these were legitimate examples of community-wide well-being!

The neighborkids’ brainstorm has got me thinking again:  What as-of-yet-undiscovered potential might be revealed if we all were to orient in earnest around the wisdom of children?

No comments:

Post a Comment