Time Banks

do not squander timeLast night I went to a meeting for new or prospective members of the Louisville TimeBank to learn more about how I can exchange my time and skills for help with something I need. My friends, it’s Possibilitarian heaven! I think what appeals to me most is the way a time bank shifts our focus from “What can you do for me?” or even “What can I do for you?” and encourages us to ask, “What can we do for each other?”

In a culture that celebrates self-sufficiency, asking for help isn’t easy. Add to that how few of us live in the same part of town where we work, that Facebook and Twitter are often our strongest connections to our peers, and telecommuting, Skype and FaceTime are becoming the norm, I’m not sure I even know who I’d ask. But the time bank knows and provides the connections that used to be made in person, on front porches or in church.

time bank yarn activityThe Louisville Time Bank organizers used yarn to illustrate the connectedness they make possible. They asked one person to ask for help (lawn care, pet sitting, music lessons) and the yarn was passed to the person who raised her/his hand to meet that need. Then that person asked for help and the yarn moved again and again and again, until it wove all around the room.

Is it naive of me to think the simple act of feeling connected could change the world? “None of the other lifeforms on the planet use money or currency of any kind. There’s a symbiotic relationship, an interdependency” (The Sharing Garden). How would we treat one another if all of our needs were tied to someone else’s needs?

Note: If the concept is new to you, visit TimeBanks.org for a more in-depth explanation, plus links for finding (or starting) a time bank near you!

“Do not squander time. That is the stuff life is made of.” Are you struggling to recall where you’ve seen this quote before? This image is a screen capture from the movie Gone with the Wind and this quote was carved in stone and sitting outside Ashley’s home, Twelve Oaks. And the green starbursts in the pic from the Louisville Time Bank meeting? I didn’t ask permission to take photos, so this is my version of protecting identities (much more fun than the black bar, don’t you think?).

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