should be partners in this movement, not the drivers of it. The
traditional "program" approach to working with families does not
adequately engage families as full partners in identifying challenges,
mobilizing resources, generating plans, and carrying out initiatives.
local community of families should work to retrieve its own historical,
cultural, and religious traditions about family life--and bring
them into the contemporary world of family life.
one should involved only as a consumer of some service or a spectator
a meeting; everyone is called to be a producer and contributor
groups should look only inward; all groups have an external mission
and democracy projects should have a bold vision (a BHAG--a big,
hairy, audacious goal) while working on focused, specific goals.
W. J. (forthcoming July, 2000). Family science and family citizenship:
Toward a model of community partnership with families. Family
W. J., & Beaton, J. M. (forthcoming August, 2000). Family therapists,
community, and civic renewal. Family Process
H. C., & Kari, N. N. (1996). Building America: The democratic
promise of public work. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Harry C., Kari, Nancy. N., Lewis, Jim, Skelton, Nan, & O'Donoghue,
Jennifer (2000). Creating the Commonwealth: Public Politics and
the Philosophy of Public Work. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation.
FAMILIES AND DEMOCRACY PROJECTS
in Wayzata, MN, mobilizing to take back family life from overscheduled
hyperactivity and competitive parenting that depletes family time
and family connections.
Family Life 1st is a group of citizens building a community where
family life is an honored and celebrated priority. Initial action:
a "Family Life 1st Seal of Approval" for organizations that partner
with families in creating balance between family life and outside
(big, hairy, audacious goal): to be ground zero for a national
movement of democratic parent action to take back family life
from the individualistic consumer culture
Around the Block (ECFE: Early Childhood Family Education)
Adding citizen action to a parent education program that reaches
260,000 families per year.
To engage the energy, wisdom, and talents of parents to work together
in public ways for the benefit of all children and families in
To engage parent educators to make public democracy building a
core part of their professional identity and work with parents.
actions: eliciting community concerns in parent education group,
spawning specific citizen actions, for example, pesticides, bus
safety, violent videos in community center.
to transform the traditional practice of parent education into
a laboratory for democratic learning and action
group of individuals with diabetes, family members, a physician,
a diabetic nurse, and other professional staff working democratically
to create a diabetes support partner program in Physicians' Clinic
in St. Paul's midway neighborhood.
A community of people working together to promote the well-being
of patients and families at Physicians Clinic who are touched
to create a democratic model of health care that unleashing the
capacities of people in community
to support one anothers' health.
is Public Work?