On “meanness” in American politics

President Obama visited the Illinois General Assembly this afternoon to spend about an hour exploring what he called a “a better kind of politics.” In his speech, marking the ninth anniversary of the day he announced his presidential candidacy, Obama talked about the necessary but often ignored role of collaboration across party lines and the dire need for […]

This should be fun

  “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore How can you make a service opportunity at your organization seem like a potential source of joy to a would-be volunteer?  (Note: Glossing over the true nature of a volunteer opportunity does […]

“Practicing Democracy”

When I talk about town government in this blog, I often will be speaking about the particular kind of institution that is found in rural New England. Our small towns hold annual town meetings, usually in the spring, at which voters set the framework for town business over the coming year. At town meeting, voters debate the annual budget, appropriate funds […]

Weekend reading

A few of the things I am reading this weekend.   “Baker slashes $50M in spending: Cuts part of $320 million budget fix” | CommonWealth News about the Massachusetts Governor’s cuts, which were announced Friday afternoon. According to Boston Globe coverage of the cuts, “The governor, among other things, cut $10 million in grants to small […]

“Take thinking apart”

Around this time a three years ago, I went to a workshop at the home of a friend who had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. Most of the people he invited to this workshop were in community leadership roles of one type or another. They were school administrators, senior staff from a nonprofit where he had served […]

Asking questions

Over the last 20 years, I have spent a lot of my time working for not-for-profit organizations in the US and abroad, serving as a nonprofit board member, and holding elected offices in a small Western Massachusetts town. This blog is a place for me to address questions that circle around a handful of themes from […]