Jon’s Kentucky’s Kitchen Table

My Kentucky’s Kitchen Table was held in Scottsville, Kentucky on April 9, 2019. There were five other people, besides me. Kim who is originally from Scottsville but lives in Ohatchee, Alabama. Delford, who served in the army, worked as a welding inspector in nuclear plants, and is half Native American is originally from Scottsville, Kentucky. Sandy is an eighth-grade Language Arts/English teacher. Shannon works for Bluegrass Cellular and is originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky. And lastly, Sarah, is a student at Allen County-Scottsville Kentucky.

After everyone got their plate and sat back down I started off the conversation with small talk to get everybody comfortable talking with each other, asking about their family, favorite part of the meal, etc. Once everyone seemed comfortable I asked the table what, aside from paying taxes, following laws, and voting, does citizenship mean to you? Sarah started off the conversation by mentioning how she had just finished a Civics course in high school. She said that being a citizen means that you are responsible for doing your civic duty. When asked to elaborate on what she meant by civic duty, she said that it included helping your neighbors, keeping your community clean, and donating time or money to help those who need it. Sandy agreed with Sarah and added that any contributions to society is a great way to show our care for our community as citizens of it. Delford took a different view and mentioned that as citizen of this country, we get to the comfort that are not always enjoyed in other places throughout this world. Kim also added on to it that freedoms we enjoy in this country is not universal in application and that as citizens we need to remember how special these freedoms are and how we must constantly work to protect them.

After listening to everyone had given their response to the question, the conversation started to die back down so I posed another question. I asked them what they believe their involvement in their community should be or does consist of. This time Sandy started off the conversation jokingly asking if teaching middle schoolers for twenty-six years count. She then mentioned volunteering in the community since there is a need to help those around us that are less fortunate. Since we live in a poor community, there are a lot of people who need help and volunteering to help them out is something that could make an immediate impact. Sarah acknowledged that volunteering was a great way to be involved and mentioned how through 4-H she had helped working in the local soup kitchen, Feeding Faith soup kitchen. Delford mentioned how getting older makes it harder sometimes to do volunteer work but that does not stop the need to be involved in your community. One thing that you can do is make sure your voice is heard. The easiest way to do this is through voting but she said that listening to other’s opinions and discussing various topics with them is also a great way to make sure your voice is heard. Kim then mentioned how communicating with your neighbors and creating that sense of close community is a vital part of being and staying involved in your area. That is when Sandy agreed how we should make sure to be involved in the area we live in. We should be able to give and receive help when we are asked or ask of our neighbors. She also mentioned how that was one of the best parts about living in Scottsville, the close, friendly communities, lead me to my next question.

My next question was centered on how they felt about the community they live in, which for everyone there was Allen County. This is when my father got involved in the discussion by talking about the sense of close-knit community. Sarah felt that the general kindness and respect shown by everyone around here was one of the highlights of living in a small town. While Sandy acknowledged that friendly neighbors was one of the best parts of living here, she also pointed out that it is a place that shares very similar values to her own. Part of this similar value was because of the number of churches and spiritual-minded people around this area. It seemed that those were the two main reasons that these people enjoyed living here in Allen County. Something else that seemed shared among those at the table was the fact that they all were passionate about similar social issues and their feelings on them. Delford, for example has two children in education and cared deeply for the issue of educational funding and how it would affect her kids while Sandy also shared similar feelings being a public-school teacher. I noticed in discussing current issues with them that the wet/dry vote, which is a vote to determine if it will be legal to sell alcohol in the county, was very prominent to the older generation while the younger generation, although they had opinions on it, did not think about it as readily. Instead, their focus was on the abortion vs. pro-life issue. This difference in social issues that were particularly important to them was interesting to me as to how the different generations think of different issues first. Through this meal and listening to responses to the questions I posed I learned a lot of new ideals that are held by the people I know and how they connect to what we have learned in class this semester. I learned how different people see the world through different lenses. I also learned how those “lenses” can determine what issues we see and the solutions to these issues we determine most viable. I also got to learn more about the community around me and how people I thought I knew a little bit about, by talking to them a couple of times, I really didn’t know anything besides their name. I also got to see how people can bring unique perspectives to you through their past experiences. This was most noticeable in the older generations when asked how they thought the community around them changed, or if it has changed at all. One of the big things that their answers centered around was the emergence of technology. This was also seen in talking with Sarah who said she really didn’t consider it because she had always grown up with it. This was one of the first times I had a “real-world” conversation that really helped me see what was going on around me and how talking to other’s that we may not normally talk to can help us see other perspectives we may have previously not considered. That was the biggest takeaway I saw from this Kentucky’s Kitchen Table and why I hope to have more opportunities to have more eye-opening conversations and discussions in the near future.

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