One of my favorite parts of Room to Read was the statement that the organization’s goal is to create, around the world, schools so ‘normal’ that “no documentary film crew would want to cover them, because they are so boring” (p. 114).
And I love that.
Sometimes, at least in my practice, there is a pull of the ‘exotic’, a fascination, almost, with the pains and the hardships that my clients experience, that can feel uncomfortably like voyeurism. And we take such pride in helping clients to change their lives that it feels amazing, almost miraculous.
But they deserve justice, not gawking.
And we need scale and systems change, not rare miracles in a sea of tragedy.
So what would it look like, in your work and in mine, if we normalized the lives of the communities we served so much that there’s really ‘nothing to see here’?
And what would it feel like if that goal was an animating value and driving vision of our work? If we were striving, always, to make sure that our clients’ lives could unfold in the mundane ways that we know we find comforting and that, indeed, we rely on?
And, taking the boring concept even further, what difference would it make if truly transformational and extraordinarily excellent nonprofit organizations were not, at all, extraordinary, but, instead, completely expected, ‘ordinary’, and boring, in every way?
If stories like that were a dime a dozen, and organizations like that were on every street corner?
I am ready to be bored.