There are four words that we, as a community, should keep in mind to drive better civic engagement. Those words are, “What will we do?”
Starting with the word “we.” In this case, “we” means all of us. Not just elected officials or government employees, but all of us. We need to act together. We need to participate. We need to consider everyone when we act.
“Do” implies action. It does not mean that you hope someone else will do something. When we do something together, we will accomplish something.
The word next word relates to that something and is “What.” As a group, we need to decide what is important and consider how we will all be affected. Deciding the “what” may be the hardest part of the process.
This leaves “will.” Will implies commitment. It is not should. It is not could. It is not can. It is not might. It is “will” which means it is going to happen. It is not a question.
Having said that though, and having run out of words, the fifth element of this phrase is that it is a question. It is an invitation to join the discussion, to become part of the “we” to help decide the “what” and to participate in doing what needs to be done.
So, I ask, “What will we do?”
Inspired by civic engagement lecture attended during Tufts University Parents Weekend 2016.