Ideas Worth Sharing

We all have ideas worth sharing with others, and this is the place to do it. I am particularly interested in those ideas which, if enacted, might make a significant difference in the world in which we live. I'll start with a few of my own ideas which I've mulled over and nurtured for years. I welcome your constructive feedback and will post ideas from others that I think fit my criteria. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

I'm still working on getting the word out that this web log exists, but I don't know whether any new readers have been drawn here. If you're new to this site or returning for another idea, WELCOME. I'd love to hear from you--just click where it says Click Here at the end of today's idea and let me know how you found this site and what you think of the ideas presented here. I'd especially like to hear your ideas worth sharing.


Any family that lives in a residential neighborhood of single-family homes can initiate this idea. Imagine what your block would be like if each homeowner built a fence from the front corner of their house to the front corner of the next house all around the block, then all interior fences were removed. Voila! The side and back yards of the block would become a large, safe playground for all the block's children and pets. The only access to this interior play area would be through the houses which, presumably, would be locked when there were no adults present in them to supervise the kids' comings and goings. The parents could cooperate in planning and developing this playground.

Perhaps they would choose to put in a large circle of cement sidewalk for bikes, skates, skateboards, and Big Wheels. Maybe there could be a large hill of dirt to run up, play "King of the Mountain" on, roll or slide down, and ride dirt bikes up and down. Instead of several rusty, shaky swing sets in separate yards, the parents could invest their joint money and labor in building a large climbing adventure structure for all the kids to enjoy. Maybe there would be a large, old tree somewhere in the playground with low branches that the kids could climb or where they could build a tree house. And there could be a community garden where the kids could grow their own Halloween pumpkins and eat juicy tomatoes fresh from the vine on a hot summer day. I’m sure you have ideas of your own as to what a playground needs to be a child paradise for the kids in your neighborhood.

If there are stay-at-home moms or dads on the block, perhaps the parents employed outside the home could hire them to supervise the playground and everyone’s kids after school until their parents arrive home. They could be responsible for calling the parents at work if their kids don't arrive promptly after school. The kids who live and play on such a block would get to know each other well and look out for one another and be friends at school as well as at home.

Pruning, mowing and playground maintenance chores could become block work parties followed by a picnic lunch. Neighbors would become friends and could offer one another support for the ups and downs of raising a family.

Imagine a community filled with such neighborhood blocks--it could be a great place to live! And my guess is that property values would go up in the blocks where home ownership would include membership in a cooperative playground. What do you think?

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Thursday, August 22, 2002

Here's a bit of feedback on IDEA #3 printed on this site with the permission of the author:

This Nurturing Arts school sounds pretty "new agey" to me, but makes sense. Care would have to be taken to be realist enough to allow these people to work successfully or create viable businesses and programs that use their skills. Those unpleasant realities of business practices, fundraising, grant writing, etc. would be essential in their curriculum....--Luc

This sounds like a good suggestion to me and fits right in with having the students run businesses like a produce stand, restaurant, day care center, etc.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

This past week I've registered this web log on some directories so people who don't already know me can find this site, read the ideas posted here and send their own contributions of ideas worth sharing. If you are new or returning to this site, WELCOME. At the end of each week's idea you'll find a sentence inviting you to send in constructive feedback and comments and your own ideas--just click on the Click Here at the end of that sentence and let me know you've been here and how you found out about the site. Thanks.

IDEA #3 School of the Nurturing Arts

Every community needs a School of the Nurturing Arts, just as every community needs the graduates of such a school. In some communities the School of the Nurturing Arts may be a charter high school, in some a part of the local community college, in others a separate division within a public or private college or university, and in still others a consolidation of private schools for everything from beauticians and masseuses to dog trainers, Master Gardeners, day care operators, and in-home caretakers.

A School of the Nurturing Arts would have the nurture of every living being--plant, animal, and human-- as its focus. Following the principle that "we cannot give that which we do not have", the School of the Nurturing Arts would nurture its students at every level--body, mind and spirit--so as to produce graduates capable of a lifetime of giving, nurturing and taking care of their fellow living beings without themselves becoming depleted.

Just as the heart of nurture is nourishment, the heart of a fully-developed School of the Nurturing Arts would be the care of the soil which grows the vegetables, fruits and grains which feed the animals and humans (students and staff). The biological and horticultural sciences would be learned in a hands-on environment fostering careful observation and appreciation of our living biosphere. Awe and reverence in the presence of every life form would provide nourishment for the souls of staff and students alike. Meals prepared and eaten together from the fruits of their own labor would unite the teaching-learning community. Some schools might run community gardens, a produce stand or even a restaurant.

In addition to studying biology, horticulture, nutrition, food processing, cooking and serving, students at a School of the Nurturing Arts would study physiology, movement (exercise, sport and dance), first aid, massage, grooming, dressing, behavior and deportment. All of these would be applied to animals (pets, livestock, and service animals) as well as to humans. The school might well run a service animal training facility (e.g., seeing eye dogs), a day care center, a respite program for elders with dementia, and/or a care facility for injured wild animals.

A School of the Nurturing Arts would offer weekly processing circles for dealing with emotions and integrating the learning experience. It would offer classes in arts and crafts for the expression of the creative spirit of each student and staff member. The creation and performance of music would be encouraged and supported. A multicultural approach would be taken to all areas of the curriculum and learning community’s life.

The graduates of a School for the Nurturing Arts would be deeply committed to the nurturing of the community of life around them and would have a broad and deep foundation for work in any of the nurturing, healing and cultural areas. Specialist certificates could be offered for advanced work completed in any of the curriculum areas. Our society would be richer at every level for having graduates of a School of the Nurturing Arts as chefs, nutritionists, farmers, coaches, day care and respite providers, veterinary assistants, animal trainers and groomers, horticulturists, masseuses, beauticians, nannies, artists, musicians, parents, foster parents, and caretakers of every kind.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2002

This past week I've been busy learning how to add a hotlink to my weblog and how to link this blog to my email account so that you can quickly and easily send your constructive feedback, comments and ideas worth sharing to me from this site. I've also sent an announcement of the startup of this web log to those family members and friends whose email address I know. I plan to add a new idea (my own or someone else's) to this site every Wednesday, so check in weekly or monthly to check out the latest ideas worth sharing.

IDEA # 2:

I'm old enough to remember when Help Wanted ads were classified under two major categories: men's jobs and women's jobs. One of the benefits to society of the women's liberation movement was the elimination of these two over-arching categories and the listing of jobs under clerical, professional, and other gender-neutral categories. I think it is time to introduce a new classification system that subsumes these gender-neutral categories under the divisions of Supplemental Income, Living Wage, and Family Wage jobs.

Supplemental Income job listings would be for those part-time and minimum wage jobs whose pay and benefits are sufficient only to supplement the income of those who have other means of support. People who might be interested in these jobs include teenagers living at home; college students supplementing scholarships, loans and family support; spouses of workers with Living Wage or Family Wage jobs; recipients of disability or other income assistance; and retirees receiving Social Security and pension benefits.

Living Wage jobs would provide for all the living expenses of the person holding the job, including employee health insurance and retirement savings. Each community (or newspaper, temporary service, or employment agency) would individually assess what it costs an individual worker to be fully self-supporting in that community (food, clothing, shelter, transportation, job skill training, taxes, medical and other professional services, and retirement savings). A job being offered in that community would then need to offer at least that amount in pay and benefits to be advertised as a Living Wage job. People who might be able to hold such jobs include those in the Supplemental Income category above as well as single individuals without dependents.

Family Wage jobs would provide for all the living expenses for the employee plus a substantial portion of the pay and benefits needed for that employee to support dependent children, a sick or disabled spouse, and/or elderly parents or other family members. This would necessarily include health insurance for all family members. It would also offer pay sufficient to provide for savings toward home ownership, college expenses for family members, and caretaking services as needed for disabled or elderly family members. In order to qualify as a Family Wage job, the employer must be offering at least 75% more in pay and benefits than the community has designated as a Living Wage in that community. People who have or anticipate having dependents would need to find Family Wage jobs.

I think there would be a benefit both to employers and potential employees to have Help Wanted ads arranged under these classifications. Employers would have to give careful thought to the maturity, stability and caliber of the employee it is seeking in any advertised position. Employees would be able to realistically assess their career plans and prospects and where to put their job-seeking efforts. Communities would be able to assess which potential employers it wants to attract to its community in order to provide the jobs that will meet the needs of the people living in that community.

I am hoping that as the Living Wage movement makes its way across America, more and more communities will encourage this new classification system for Help Wanted advertising. To send constructive feedback and comments and your own ideas worth sharing
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Wednesday, August 07, 2002

This is an exciting day for me--I have finally decided to go public with some ideas I've conceived and nurtured for years but have rarely shared outside the circle of my family and a few friends (and some not even there). What brought about this momentous decision? I sent one of my ideas (the one below) to NOW With Bill Moyers (PBS on Fridays at 9 pm) and it was selected to be read (in part) on the next program and posted on the program's website. That made me realize that my ideas really ARE worth sharing and gave me courage to finally start a web log where others could read them in full.

So here is the full version of the letter I sent to Bill Moyers on 7-20-02:

Dear Bill Moyers,
Thanks for bringing in-depth reports on important current topics to the nation on PBS. I would like to share an idea I've had with you about how to change the tax-avoidance attitude of our wealthy individuals and corporations. I think the nation would greatly benefit if the President and Congress would annually hold an honors banquet for the 100 individuals and 100 corporation heads who paid the most in taxes in the past year. This event would offer publicity, honor, access and influence to those who actually do the most for the common good through generous payment of taxes on their earnings each year. Each honoree should receive a photo of themselves with the President and their Congressional representatives and the event should receive maximum media exposure. I think each state would benefit by having such an honors banquet with its Governor and representatives for its highest paying individuals and corporations as well. Both federal and state public projects could be named after individuals and corporations who consistently do the most to support the common good through the payment of the most in taxes over many years. Perhaps such events would change the culture among the wealthy which currently calls for paying the least possible amount in taxes by whatever means possible. Thanks for listening.
--Barbara Ray

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