My KKT took place in Bowling Green on Sunday, November 18. I was invited to attend a Thanksgiving dinner held by the family of one of my friends. My friend, Madison, told me that her family would love to take part in the discussion, so I decided that this setting would be a great place to conduct a KKT. There would be several people attending that I would not know, and there would be diversity among ages and stages of life.
Madison’s family hosted the dinner. They include Gina and Eddie, Madison’s parents; Madison’s brother, Chase, and and his wife, Megan; and Sue, Madison’s grandmother. Gina is very kind and thoughtful. She finds joy in taking care of others, especially her family. Eddie does not speak unless he has somethings meaningful to say, but his words always bring valid points to the discussion. Chase is like his father in that he doesn’t demand attention, but he and Megan offer a family’s perspective from the modern world. Sue is very wise, and she humbly shared her wisdom with us as she spoke. Madison is kind-hearted like Gina, and her love for others allows her to give selflessly to those around her.
I opened up the discussion with the main question, “What does citizenship mean to you?” Most of the responses included involvement in the community. We talked about the importance contributing to the betterment of your community and the impact it has both on your own life and the lives of those around you. Gina offered another interesting response. She said that citizenship means that you are working towards the common good. The common good means that your are not focusing on your own interests, but recognizing and working for the interests of others. We all agreed with Gina’s statement, and then I began asking more questions stemming off of the main question. Chase and Megan said that the best thing in our world today is our ability to communicate with so many people across the globe. They said that with this communication, we can build a stronger global community by exchanging ideas. With so many different kinds of people with different experiences and lives, our ability to communicate with each other through technology helps us to understand and learn from each other. Sue said that the people who do good for the world without recognition are the best thing about our world today. There is so much in our world that needs good, and fame and glory can often get in the way of the good we can do. When asked how she thought her job relates to her role as a citizen, Madison said that her job is very customer-based, and that her main focus throughout the day is helping others. Referring back to what Gina said about citizenship, Madison said that service to others is one of her responsibilities, and that her job allows her to fulfil that responsibility. She said that she tries each day to encourage and uplift the people she encounters each day at her work. Eddie said that we have an obligation to treat our community members fairly and with respect. He said that it is important to be considerate of others’ needs and backgrounds even though they may be different from our own. Megan said that she wants to be a person who spreads positivity. She said that she wants to be the person that people can come to if they need help, and she wants to be someone who stands up for good. Sue advised those who are in government office to always remember the image of who they are representing. She said that political leaders are held at such a high standard, and each move they make is subject to scrutiny. When representing such a large body like the American people, leaders must remember that their actions are reflected upon those they represent, for good and bad. When we discussed social issues, issues such as foster care, human trafficking, and racism were brought up. With each of these issues, we talked about the value of a human life and the importance of caring for and supporting each other. Throughout the discussion, there was a central theme of appreciation and service towards others. By the end of the discussion, we all agreed that our responsibility as people is to spread love in our world and help others who are in need. Everyone at the the table shared the same religious beliefs, and I think that similarity helped us in reaching that conclusion. However, at each of the different stages of life we were in, we could all see the value in spreading positivity in our communities.
Through this project, I have learned the importance of community. Coming together as a community gives citizens a platform to express their passions and problems. Community gives people a support system and a family to go to when they need help. Madison’s family invited me their own community to share Thanksgiving together. The small act of kindness they extended to me showed the value their family has placed on community and fellowship. To conduct a KKT during this time of the year I think is a great way to collaboratively consider the impact we can have on our communities and our duties we have towards them. I learned through the discussion that kindness and positivity have power. Extending kindness towards others (like Madison’s family did to me) gives people a reason to be happy. Kind service towards others helps build trust and lift spirits throughout a community. I also learned that there is no room for selfishness in citizenship. When we think of citizenship, we are thinking of what we need to be doing for our government, fellow citizens, and for our fellow human beings throughout the world. Service gives us a purpose in this world and distinguishes our lives from the lives of others. When we think about great men and women in the world, we think of their actions that usually involve great things they have done for others. One way we show our love to those close to us is through service to them in some way. Building relationships in our community and serving others are ways we fulfil our responsibilities as a citizen. I have now learned that these core duties help us contribute to our world in a positive way.
In class, our three central questions are, “How do we live well together?”, “How do we solve problems?”, and “How do we give others more of a say over their lives?”. These questions all go along with our discussion about community and service to others. The first question deals with the function of community. Community works best when members are actively contributing to the common good. This statement related back to what citizenship means to each of us. In our discussion, we talked about how we, as citizens, should work to better the lives of those around us and remember the interests of others. The second question addresses problem solving. As we have learned in class, problems are best solved through deliberation. In “How We Talk Matters”, Keith Melville explains that deliberation allows people to get a better sense of problems they are facing, but they also can get a better sense of problems others are facing. Deliberation with community members is the first step in solving community and world problems. Solving problems also requires people to sacrifice time and resources in order to help others. Citizens use their talents and abilities to serve in the best way they can. The third question deals with autonomy. Through deliberation, communities members feel as if they have an active voice in how their community is ran. Our KKT discussion about community and service related to how we can answer these questions and continually work towards bettering ourselves and our society.