Essay: On being engaged

“I had no idea that was happening!”  “I never heard that!”  “I wish I would have known about that.”
Do you find yourself saying those phrases a lot?  Perhaps you are disengaged.  Would you like to be more engaged in your
school, a club, your church, your child’s school?  Here’s why you should and how you can.
If you are involved in something on a surface level, you
don’t really feel a part of things.  In
my work as an office manager of a school, I often hear that parents feel disengaged
from what’s going on at school.  Becoming
more connected to what’s going on in an organization gives you satisfaction
because you know what is happening, but also because you feel more connected to
the organization and thus you feel better about not only yourself, but also the
How can you become engaged? 
I guarantee you that the organization is probably trying desperately to
communicate with you.  At my school we
have a web site with new content updated frequently, a weekly email drawing
attention to content on the website, weekly newsletters posted electronically
and on paper, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed as well as individual
emails.  You don’t need to follow all of
those things, just pick the one that will give you the broadest coverage and
keep up with it. 
Set aside time to keep up with things.  Yes, that means that you have to take the
initiative.  If an email comes to your
inbox about the organization’s activities and you have decided that reading the
emails is the way you are going to keep up with the information then you need
to actually open and read that email. 
Remember, you want to be a part of this organization which means you
need to put in some effort to learn about what’s going on.
If you still feel out of the information loop, ask someone
how they know what’s going on.  They may
tell you about how they get their news and their story may inspire you to
follow their lead.  Or, if you can’t
possibly follow what’s going on, ask an informed friend if they will keep you
abreast of developments.  In doing this,
you are depending on someone else to prompt you, but if they happen to be a
person who enjoys disseminating information and you actually listen, then
everyone is happy.
Once you get in the flow of information, make some
friends.  If your only contact with the
organization is reading the emails you might lose interest fast.  See if you can volunteer for a one-time
event, serve on a committee or host a social of some sort.  When you meet others who are also interested
in the organization introduce yourself and do your best to get to know
them.  Having friends in the organization
will make you feel like an insider.
If you are not going to do your part to be involved with the
organization, don’t ask the staff to go out of their way to accommodate
you.  Accept that you won’t ever know
what is going on and it is not their fault that you didn’t hear of something in which you were interested.  There are many
organizations in this world and you don’t have to be a member of any of them.  The organizations do welcome your interest
and enthusiasm, but if you don’t bring those things, this organization might
not be the right fit for you.
Both in my paid work and at my church I constantly hear
people express surprise about information that has been made available to them
in a variety of ways.  Being engaged is a
part of being human.  Get yourself in
sync with the flow of an organization you care about and feel more alive.

3 thoughts on “Essay: On being engaged”

  1. As a teacher who sends a weekly newsletter to my classroom parents. It contains key dates, much information, and even questions to ask your child about the week's lessons. Then a parent will say, I didn't know about X and I want to scream. Not only do I send a physical copy each Friday, I also send a pdf version via email! Thanks for the thought-provoking essay.

  2. Oh dear, my first sentence is highly incomplete. it should really say: As a teacher who sends a weekly newsletter, I especially appreciate this essay.

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