Brigid Whitehead —April 26, 2015
I shared my first Caring Economy conversation with a group of 7 warm, intelligent, creative and enthusiastic liberal arts students at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
The event was schedule from 6:00 to 8:00pm, but many participants stayed until much later with the conversation finally winding down at 10:15. I presented a series of approximately 45 slides, and spoke for about 35 - 40 minutes. Shortly after beginning the presentation, I asked the students to participate in the “What is Wealth” exercise and that was certainly eye opening! Not one student mentioned anything that had to do with money or things associated with money. This group of students clearly strongly value relationships, creativity and all things related to the earth; nature, travel, seeing the world, and growing and sharing healthy food! I had asked this group of students for their critique as I felt it would be very helpful to receive this feedback from a group of students who routinely learn from highly gifted, dedicated and exceptional college professors. I really valued their viewpoints and suggestions.
It was a true pleasure presenting to this group of students. They were so warm, accepting and supportive. The greatest challenge for me was in organizing the introduction which combined information about me, about Riane Eisler and her body of work and the Caring Economy Campaign itself. This went pretty well, however, I did receive feedback that at first 2 of the women were concerned that this was going to be a “return to tradition” — “women should stay home” presentation. The suggestion was made to clarify that a fundamental premise of the presentation is that “the quality of women’s lives is directly related to the quality of lives of all in the community. I will move that slide up next time.
The students also said that they felt that they would like to hear more about how the dominator conditions of our culture affect men. The young women genuinely want to understand the impact that dominator culture has on their male friends, family members and partners.
The other feedback that was offered was that the audience really appreciated when I spoke from my experience and put the presentation in my own words, which I did most of the time.
There was a variety of academic disciplines represented in the group and I loved hearing the 23 year old woman say several times, “As a behavioral scientist, I think this or that......” The philosophy majors and political science majors offered insightful observations. This was a thoughtful and intelligent group who launched so many interesting conversations among and between themselves after the presentation that I just couldn’t keep up with them all. The students did inquire about the “data” or “numbers” and I assured them Riane Eisler had developed this body of work, and that an effort is underway to get this information to policy makers in the nations capital.
Such a great group of young people! These students are engaged in so many causes and organizations essential to facilitating the kind of social change Rianne Eisler's work proposes. The Caring Economy Presentation provides a useful framework and valuable historical context these students might not otherwise have. These young activists give hope!