Kentucky Kitchen Table

By Kaylynn

Saying I am from Louisville is technically accurate, but it is not that simple. I am from Valley Station, a neighborhood in the South End. We are part of Louisville Metro because of the city-county merger, but our little neighborhood has nothing on the vibrancy of downtown Louisville.

Our Kentucky Kitchen Table was held in Valley Station, at my family home. Donna – my mother – hosted the dinner. She is very particular about hosting, so she insisted the two of us preparing all the food. She is in her 50s, and she was raised Southern Baptist. When she married my dad, she converted to Catholicism, and now she works at their church. My dad, Michael, was at the dinner as well. He is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Susan is a childhood friend of my mom, but since she has a very busy schedule and lives on the other side of the city, I have only met her a couple of times. She is a single woman, quite affluent, and she is a Church of Christ member. Dianne and Joe are members of my parents’ Catholic Church. Dianne described herself as, “30, blonde, and skinny,” then laughed and added, “I have one kid, and I’m an accountant.” To round out the table, I am a 19-year-old Biology student at WKU.

First we talked about what citizenship meant. The consensus seemed to be that it was a sense of belonging. Being a citizen is something that brings Americans together, even if we were born in different places or have different cultures. Citizenship is an intention. We intend to make America better, but we all have different ideas on what “better” is. This is why the more instrumental parts of citizenship like voting are so important. They are the methods by which we bring our ideas of “better” together and work to get there.

Everyone at the table was from a different part of Louisville: my family is from Valley Station, Susan is from Middletown, and Dianne and Joe are from Pleasure Ridge Park. So everyone had a unique perspective on the good things about living in Louisville. Dad – who wants to live in the country someday – huffed and said he liked that the crazy weather means there is plenty of job security for meteorologists. Mom mentioned that Louisville is central: “You can get to other places around the country in a reasonable amount of time.” There was some dissonance in the group here, because the other people around the table thought more positively about Louisville. Dianne works downtown, so she appreciates that they get “big city benefits” while closer to home there is more of a “small town feel.” That is, people generally seem friendlier than those in other large cities. I tied this dissonance a little to one of the class’s main questions: “How can we have more of a say over our own lives?” The people who liked the city felt more of a control over their own lives. They lived where they wanted to. However, those who were more “settling” for Louisville and would rather live elsewhere felt less of a control over their lives. Where we live changes how we feel about life as a whole.

When we discussed the things we like about the world today, the generation gap showed itself. They talked for a long time about how much more accessible information is these days. It was observed that because kids have access to the Internet, they know so much more about the world and current events than kids of earlier generations ever did. This was an uncomfortable thought for them because the Internet is so new. There are no tried and true guidelines for how to expose kids to the Internet, so you must make the rules up as you go along and hope for the best. As a member of the generation of kids they were talking about, this was eye-opening. That was a challenge of parenting I had never thought about before. Dianne came back to the question for a final thought: “To me, the best thing about living now is love. When my parents were young, you couldn’t love someone who’s another race. But now you can, and I’m proud of the present for that.”

We talked a lot about neighbors: what it meant to be a neighbor, who could be considered a neighbor, how we feel about our neighbors. Dianne had a lot to say about this. “I’ve met my neighbors and I see them around sometimes. But I wouldn’t get a cup of sugar from them. And I’m ashamed of that. I would like to have more of a relationship with them, but I never have.” Joe, on the other hand, said that instead of only being friends with people living close by, now people separate more according to interests. Susan suggested that people you consider your neighbors may not be “next-door neighbors,” and the people you are closest with may not be the people who are nearest to you. She referenced how she and my mom have remained friends for decades despite my family living in Missouri and Florida for a while before coming back to Kentucky. No one at the table was close to their neighbors because they had friends from work or from church who they felt they had more in common with. However, my dad mentioned how during the ice storm in 2009, people walked around the neighborhood more, and interacted more with each other. Then, when the house across the street caught fire a few years ago, people in the area came running to help. Even if we are not as close to our neighbors as we were before, we will still help out if we can.

The conversation about neighbors reminded me of our deliberation on police, specifically the option that involved community policing and neighborhood watch groups. One of the difficulties of putting such a program in action would be the problem highlighted by the people at the dinner: people do not interact with their next-door neighbors. If a crime were to happen, would someone in my neighborhood be outside to witness it? Would they do anything about it? In my neighborhood, I think a watch would be beneficial and not too different from life as it is now. When the weather is nice, there is usually somebody out on a walk. Just like when the woman’s house caught on fire, I think people still have the compassion to help during bad times. But what about better times? I feel the important question now is how we can bring neighborhoods together. I think there are many options that would serve dual purposes. Take community gardens. They are ways of promoting healthier eating, and they are also good for the environment. But they also require cooperation, so neighbors learn how to interact better. Growing something together creates pride in the community and respect for those around you.

The last thing we talked about was the social issues most important to us. Everyone’s answers were vastly different, and this speaks to the fact that our experiences shape our opinions and values. Dianne was most concerned about LGBT rights because of her daughter, who is an actor with many LGBT friends. There was conflict between the Catholic Church’s teachings and her daughter’s more accepting attitude. Her struggle reminded me a bit of the empathy readings, particularly “Devil’s Bait.” I think, to her, being LGBT is an experience so alien that it is almost like it is not even real (sort of like Morgellons to a non-sufferer). She struggled with whether or not she should accept LGBT people, because what if it is a choice? But her conclusion seemed to be that she will never know what the best thing to do is, and so she tries to be supportive. Listening to her talk about this was difficult, as I never had to struggle to accept LGBT people. Because of the Internet, I knew that people could be LGBT much earlier than Dianne’s generation did, and I listened to people’s stories about coming out and whether they were accepted or rejected by those they told. My culture in that way is so much different from Dianne’s and I can respect where she is coming from.

In doing this project, I learned a lot about how people’s experiences shape the way they think and what they do. My parents have not had very good experiences with living in cities, and so their view of Louisville is more negative than others’. For everyone else at the table besides me, the Internet was still relatively new, so they were much more skeptical of it. My mom’s and Susan’s experiences as long-distance friends made them believe that distance is not what decides who is your neighbor. And Dianne’s Catholic background caused her to struggle over LGBT people. These are all experiences I have not had, but listening to them talk helped me be on the same level as them. We do not have to agree with everything, but if we listen to others’ stories, we can live better together.

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From left: Michael, Donna, Susan, Dianne, Joe (photo taken by Kaylynn)

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When We Come Together

By: Elise

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to host a Kentucky Kitchen Table at my house in Louisville, Kentucky. I must give a great thank you to my old youth minister who helped me get a diverse group of people together while I was in school in a different city. He was able to contact people for me that came to my meal that I never would have gotten to talk to without his help; and I think this diversity embodies the idea of this project.

There were nine people who attended my project dinner, each one with their own unique perspective. And, as I had requested, they all brought one of their favorite side dishes to accompany the main course and dessert my family provided. There was Larry, an outreach minister at a church, Janet, a self-employed consultant, Iris, a writer for Anthem, Heavenleah, and instructor for students with autism, and Felix, a 5th grader at a local elementary school. Also, a few of my family members attended; there was, Jackie, a children’s minister, David, a director at a marketing agency, and Amanda, an instructor for students with autism. They have asked that I refrain from getting too detailed with their specific descriptions but, our group’s ages ranged across 60 years. There were varying political parties, orientations, economic classes, and races represented; and many people there were not born in Louisville. And, with all of these differences between people, I had anticipated some awkward moments. However, the dinner ran very smoothly. Everyone was excited to participate and eager to hear other opinions. They were all very respectful and willing to speak up.  It was a really cool thing to witness.

I began the conversation by explaining a little bit to my guests about what the class is and reminding them of the purpose. After that, I really let my guests run the conversation, and they needed very little prompting from me. With the exception of my changing the question or adding a comment here and there, I had very little to do with the direction of the conversation. They had lots of good answers, and even questions of their own. And, everyone listened to what the others had to say. This conversation really embodied Keith Melville’s thoughts in How We Talk Matters. In this article, Melville defines deliberation as an approach to public decision making; and, he emphasizes the importance of intentional conversation and listening. And, during this conversation I was able to see the amazing things that can happen when this practice is actually used. People came together and actually heard what the others were saying, despite their difference in political party or economic class. And while they might not have had their minds changed about certain topics, they heard other opinions that seemed to broaden their view of the subject, and make them more open to other ideas.

The first question I asked was the required one, what does citizenship mean to you? Overwhelmingly, the answer I heard was being a citizen meant being a part of a community. The idea of citizens being a team or a family.  Each person has a different job, but we need all of those jobs done in order to be successful. Iris was reminded of jury duty—of how one person can’t be the only decision maker, but it requires a team of people actively participating to get the job done. Similarly, Felix said that a community reminded him of a grandfather clock in which the people were like the gears that kept the clock running. Even though he is young, he had some interesting insights throughout the night.

They also discussed how you can be a “citizen” of many different communities. Of course, we were all citizens of the United States, of Kentucky, and of Louisville. But we are also citizens of churches, schools, sports teams, clubs, etc. Some of these things we choose, while others we must be a part of. So, it is important to be a good citizen in all areas of our life.

Then I asked the question, what is the thing you love most about living where you do? I opened up the question so that people could talk about Louisville, but also compare it to places they had lived in the past and what they liked about that, too.  I felt that this was important to talk about because it recognizes the fact that we did not all come from the same place, though we were there together in that moment. At first, people focused on Louisville.  They love that everyone there is so friendly, and that they may not know everyone’s name, but they know their story. They said that this made the big city seem more connected, and more like a small town. They like the reputation Louisville has of being kind and generous, and this reputation is embodied by celebrities from there that they mentioned such as Muhammad Ali and Jennifer Lawrence. They seemed to all agree that an ideal place to live had these qualities that they liked about Louisville.

After we spent time talking about what we liked, I asked about what improvements they thought should be made to the area. Without missing a beat, Amanda brought up how we needed more homeless shelters in the city. We have a few in the downtown area, but in the part of town that most of us live, we do not have anything substantial. We also discussed how our prison system needed to be reformed; both in the prison and in the transition out of it. We have many people in the city who have served their time, but still seemed to be punished because they can’t get hired anywhere. Others brought up the fact that our area needs to improve on its awareness and treatment of those with mental illness or addiction. Many people noted how they knew people who had been turned away for help in these areas because the doctors were unsure how to help, or the insurance didn’t cover it.

While I prompted this question with improvements they thought should be made in Louisville, it seemed to me that all of these problems they noticed applied across the country. And, most of them had to do with the larger systems in place. They all seemed helpless when discussing these topics because they were unsure how to get around the large systems, but they saw a clear problem in the way they were run. It made me think about a discussion we had briefly in class once about how large systems that were put in place, like the prison system or the foster care system, are put in place to fix one problem, but it can cause other problems. That what makes issues like these Wicked. You cannot foresee the consequences, and once you put the system in place it is time-consuming and costly to change or replace them.

The last thing I asked them was what advice they would give to people running for office in our country. I thought this would be an interesting topic to cover because of recent political divisions across the country. I wanted to see if the group could discuss something that could be politically charged in a calm and efficient manner. Luckily for me, they did. And I loved their answers. A main point that they all agreed on was they wanted a politician who would focus on what unites the country, and not what divides it. They want politicians who do not use Us vs. Them tactics, but who will be honest with their opinions and be true to what they think is best rather than what the Party wants. The table also advised that politicians should know that they can’t please everyone, but they should still try to make everyone feel like they are heard. A common theme of this discussion was that people felt alienated because no one was listening to them. The group thought that if leaders made an effort to listen, people would be more understanding of their actions, even if they weren’t the outcome they had hoped for.

I did not realize until it was over how great of an experience this project was. It is not often that I get to sit and talk with a diverse group of people about issues that actually matter. And, it is not that I dislike these types of conversations; I just get so caught up in my own life that things like this don’t happen. But, I now realize the value of this type of conversation. In this class we talk about the importance of deliberation, and I can see now just how effective it can be. If people were to openly discuss topics like these more often, I feel our communities would be stronger. Most people came to this table strangers, but I feel we left a connected group. If citizens would take more opportunities like these, they might feel more connected to their communities.

By Kelby

Kentucky Kitchen Table .png

For my Kentucky Kitchen Table project, I hosted a hometown dinner. Instead of me being the one who invited the guest I let my sister decide who would be invited. I thought that letting her decide who should be there would put an interesting spin on how the project works. All the guests were younger than me which I expected to give a different perspective than what I would have gotten if I had invited people the same age as me here in Bowling Green. I had the dinner at my home in Louisville. My mother very graciously made my family’s favorite dinner for every one that was there.  This was to make sure that guests would not have to provide anything and would be able to just enjoy the evening.

Kylee, my sister, invited three of her friends that I had only met briefly in passing. The one girl invited was her friend Cate, who is her coworker at the library. They both work as clerks. Cate is a very liberal person and does not hesitate to share her views on anything, especially things that involve politics. Cate’s brother Bob was also invited. He has a lot of political views, but is often not as vocal about them as Cate. The last person she invited was her friend Brandon. He is an out gay man who she met through friends at school. My sister and my parents, Jon and Misty, were also there. My entire family is very conservative. My father is a southern Baptist preacher and my parents raised me and my sister very religiously.

When I talked to Kylee before the meal she said that Cate, Bob, and Brandon were very excited to meet our family and to participate in this project. The only thing that she mentioned in a negative way was that Brandon was not sure how my parents would react to him. I was interested to see how things unfolded. Knowing my parents, I know that while they have very strong views they are also very welcoming of anyone they meet. They like to get to know people’s stories. I knew that there would not be any issues even though there were would be several different views and beliefs presented that night.

This dinner happened to fall right around the same time as my sister’s birthday, so the conversations that took place early on were directed around that. We soon drifted into other subjects and had some very deep, meaningful conversations about current events. It became clear that there were several different opinions in the room. Everyone did a really good job of listening to others’ opinions and sharing their own viewpoints without chastising or belittling the other people in the room. We were able to have very good conversations and really learn about why people believe what they believe.

The way the conversation went reminded me of the reading How We Talk Matters. In that article we discussed the trend of people not listening to others when they talk about social or political issues and almost yelling and forcing their views on others. We also talked about how this trend is hurting society because no one will take the time to listen to others to gain an understanding about what they believe. This was not at all the case with this project. Everyone who was present really seemed interested in what others there had to say and were willing to think about things differently.

One of my favorite moments of the night actually happened after dinner was over. Cate, Bob, and Brandon stuck around after the meal and we all played Apples to Apples. At first it was just me, my sister, and her friends, the younger crowd. My parents were loading the dishes into the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen. Toward the middle of the game my dad decided that he wanted to join in play. You could tell that Kylee’s friends were not sure how this was going to go and were afraid the fun we were having was about to be dampened by a middle age father wanting to play. They soon realized that my father was not easily offended, had a good sense of humor, and would play along with most anything that was happening. We spent a good part of the night playing different games and I think that was much more fun than the dinner itself was.

I think that this just goes to show that sometimes people defy your expectations. Sometimes you can find common ground in the funniest places with people you think may not except your way of life or agree with what you believe. I believe if more people realized this we would all be able to live better together, which is a key theme to this class. Also, the fact that my sister is such good friends with people who obviously believe very differently than her, shows that people can live in harmony if they are willing to work together and respect each other’s differences.

Overall this project was pretty fun. It was originally kind of hard to organize, and I had to change plans a several times for it to work out. An unexpected bonus, I believe that I gained three new friends out of it. It is so funny how you can hit it off with different people even if you think that you will probably only be acquaintances. Brandon and I ended up getting along really well and have stayed in contact since the project. To me, this new friendship is greater than any grade I might get for this project. I am glad that something that will hopefully last for a long time can blossom from an assignment that I wasn’t sure would be very fun. I hope that everyone else’s project went as well as mine did and I hope that classes in future semesters enjoy it as much as I did.

KKT in My Hometown Louisville

By Morgan           

             I did my Kentucky Kitchen Table in my hometown in Louisville, Kentucky. I was joined by my neighbors Dennis and Linda, my mom, my sister Regan, my brother Carson and his girlfriend Callie. Dennis is retired and his wife Linda works for the Core of Engineers. My mom works as a financial manager for a law firm in Louisville. My sister is currently in vet school in Auburn and is engaged. My brother is a criminology major at U of L and plans on joining the LMPD. His girlfriend Callie is also a criminology major at U of L who plans on becoming a paralegal.

            When asked to defined citizenship, we came to a consensus that citizenship is a responsibility to contribute to the community which includes the obvious paying taxes and participating politically and it also means helping out the community when it is in need. We also discussed there is an obligation for citizens to serve each other which can mean volunteering at a soup kitchen to serve the homeless in the community or donating food and clothes to those in need. Volunteering is an important part of being a citizen. All citizens should find some way to volunteer in the community in order to better the community. This idea of citizenship relates to the lecture on service and public work. Public work was defined in the lecture as people working together with others to help them which could be applied to the definition of citizenship we discussed. Every citizen should work together to help solve social issues in their community.

             We also discussed gun control and various issues surrounding it. My neighbor Dennis is pro-gun control and his argument is that gun violence can only be solved with more sanctions on gun sales. He does not think Americans should not have access to guns, but that it should be very limited in order to prevent tragedies such as school shootings, gang violence, or drive by shootings. My mom, my sister, my brother and I all disagreed with this. We argued that there is already a system in place to do background checks but it is nearly impossible to know whether or not someone who purchases a gun will use it safely and legally. Majority of the people who purchase guns at stores like Cabelas uses guns safely and responsibly. My brother argued that blaming stores that sell guns for gun violence is equivalent to blaming car dealerships for selling cars to drunk drivers. We agreed that prevented Americans from purchasing weapons leaves them unprotected. This can be considered a wicked problem. Both sides to the argument provide valid statements but neither “solution” would solve the problem with gun violence. Allowing for the sale of guns can lead to the use of them for gun violence, but can be used as protection for citizens against these people. On the other hand, banning guns would make it very difficult for criminals get access to them, but the common American would have no means of protection against people who find a way around the system to purchase weapons. Either way there will still be violence.  

            Finally I asked everyone around the table which social issue was most important to them. My neighbor Dennis believes the healthcare system in the US is the most important issue because healthcare should be a fundamental right for all citizens. Linda is most concerned with the lack of job opportunities and the large unemployment rate in the US. My mom is concerned with the education system specifically in Louisville where the public school system is lacking so private school is the better option for those who can afford it. She thinks there are too many public schools and not enough spots for students in the best public schools like Manuel and Male. My sister is also currently concerned with the education in this state, specifically with the cuts the government is trying to pass for spots in professional programs in veterinary science and optometry. Since Kentucky does not have either a vet or optometry school, it covers a certain amount of tuition for students in other states. She is concerned with them cutting spots for the fall semester after students have already been accepted into certain programs. She also believes it is unfair to cut spots for only these professional programs but not other programs. The most important social issue to my brother is the affordability of higher education which has continuously gotten more expensive. Callie is most passionate about gender equality mostly in the career field. The legal field tends to be male dominated so she wants to be paid as much as men in the paralegal field and treated equally on a professional level.  

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Kentucky Kitchen Table- Louisville, KY

By Olivia

I ate dinner with my boyfriend and his family. Mike, my boyfriend’s dad, is a very kind man that doesn’t talk often but when he does, he always has something valuable to share. He is a mechanic.  Monique, my boyfriend’s mom, is originally from the Netherlands and moved to the United States about thirty years ago. She works at a coffee shop and enjoys cooking. She insisted that she make the meal and that I was not allowed to bring anything. Kalina is my boyfriend’s older sister. She also works at a coffee shop. She is very outgoing and enjoys laughing with others. My boyfriend, Robbie, is fairly quiet. He likes making up stories and trying to get people to believe them. Their family moved to Kentucky three years ago from California. I have met Robbie’s family once before, but this was my first time having a real conversation with Mike. I was excited to use this project as an excuse to get to know them more.

The first question we discussed was “What does citizenship mean to you?” This was when I learned that Monique is not a citizen of the United States. Monique was born and raised in the Netherlands. She speaks four different languages. When she moved to the United States, she acquired a green card. Before answering the question, I asked her if she had considered becoming a United States citizen. She said that she had definitely thought about it. The rules for citizenship have changed a lot in the past ten years. The United States is very strict about how one can go about attaining citizenship. She would most likely not be granted dual citizenship and would have to give up her citizenship in the Netherlands. Monique is not willing to give that up and is planning on continuing to live with a green card. She does pay taxes and feel that she is a part of her community just like everyone else. Kalina feels that part of being a citizen is being a good person. She gave the example that if you see a guy beating up his girlfriend, you are obligated to call the police. She feels that looking out for each other is an important part of being a citizen. Mike had another view. He believes that the definition of citizen has been warped since the government has become what he called “corporate.” He believes that instead of the government benefitting the people, the people are working so that the government can get more in debt and less out of debt. The people don’t own anything themselves anymore; the government owns everything.

We continued to the question “Does your religious background affect how you think we should treat each other?” Everyone at the table agreed. Monique elaborated more. She said that growing up as a Christian helped her learn that we need to take care of those in need. We are not to overlook those that need help. Mike added that it was once the churches’ job to take care of the needy, but the government usurped control of that job. He believes that job is done much better when private organizations are in charge. Robbie tried to steer the conversation back on track to remind everyone that we weren’t talking about welfare, but about helping the community as a whole. Robbie agreed that we all have a moral duty as citizens to help each other.

Through this dinner I learned that caring for others is very important to other people than just my family. Although religious backgrounds did affect their beliefs, this can be applied to many different, diverse groups of people. Having a religious background in this situation is not a bad thing, it’s very positive. I also learned that there are very negative views of the government out there, but people are sitting on those views and doing nothing about them. It was very interesting to hear from Monique since she has experienced life in the Netherlands and in the United States. Her outlook gave the dinner something that my family dinner couldn’t have had.

This relates to the overall importance of citizenship and being a good citizen. Like Kalina mentioned, it is important for citizens to look out for each other. It shows that we care about our neighbors, our community, our country, and even our world. It implies an unwritten duty that is higher than the laws and regulations. As seen by Monique, citizenship also doesn’t just apply to just citizens. It applies to everyone living in the United States. Somewhere in time, we decided that we have the moral obligation to care about someone other than ourselves, and that it is our duty to improve the world around us. That is being a good citizen.IMG_3351

Louisville Kentucky Kitchen Table

By Sarah

At my Kentucky Kitchen Table, I invited six guests to my house for dinner. My mother graciously offered to take the picture of us all, but her skills are not the best and she cut off halves of two faces. She also insisted that since strangers were coming to the house that we had to use nice silverware and plates to give a good impression on my guests. Nevertheless, my table included Mr. Dennis and his wife Mrs. Dennis, a couple that I know from church, Kara, who is a teacher at a middle school in Louisville, Paige who is a senior student at University of Louisville who brought along two people she knew from a diversity class, Kelsey who is a sophomore and Max who is a senior student and an immigrant from Cuba. I felt that this group provided a variety of insights and backgrounds to the table. For dinner, Kara prepared a salad with fruit and candied walnuts, I made a family recipe of Hot Brown Casserole, and the Dennis’s provided bourbon ball ice cream to round off a very “Kentucky” kind of dinner. Kelsey provided the flowers seen in the middle of the table, and Max brought some beverages.

One topic I wanted to discuss was family meals. I thought it was important to understand how these people felt and were willing to speak up based on how comfortable they were with eating at a dinner table regularly. I had grown up eating at the dinner table with my whole family every night, so this was commonplace for me. Both of the Dennis’s had agreed, Mrs. Dennis’s family was very tightly knit and Mr. Dennis’s was too, and now they had dinner nightly together in their own home. Kelsey and Paige said their families did not do it every night but did it often enough. Max said that he did not have them much recently, but growing up they were very important to keep the family together. I thought it was interesting, and after I asked this I wanted to see who spoke up the most about politics and citizenship. It seemed that those who had grown up regularly having dinner meals every night were the ones leading the conversations around the table, regardless of age. Those who had not had many, or not as many recently, were quieter and pitched in their opinions more when the rest of the group paused the conversation.

The main conversation that they all were willing to talk about was different political and citizenship topics, and I was really interested to see how they felt about being an active citizen and participating in the election coming up this year. All of us were registered to vote and so we all had a stake in the election somehow. Kara and Kelsey had said they had not voted before due to different circumstances but were now eager to participate. The Dennis’s had voted many times before and even in the last presidential race and were looking forward to voting again. Max and Paige had voted only in local or statewide elections previously but felt that that was enough for them and their civic duty until this fall when a new president is elected. We were divided almost halfway between Republicans and Democrats, with one more on the left side. It was interesting to see how everyone fit on the spectrum, especially Max’s point of view being a strong conservative and very into the political sphere of this country.

I learned that where a person is from impacts how they view their participation in their community. It is my assumption that those who forge stronger bonds with their families over discussions at regular intervals, such as family dinners nightly, possess a higher drive to participate in ongoing conversations about the world around them. Even though many of us held opposing views about politics or the nature of citizenship, it was clear that we all had some kind of idea as to what was important and what made a good participant in the citizenry of Kentucky. I felt that this was such a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from people of all different backgrounds and I am very thankful for this opportunity to experience this kind of diversity in my own household.thumb_IMG_4595_1024