A current initiative is engaging the voices, words and thoughts of youth in the nation’s capital on what they see and understand as social health that is or may be missing in their social experience.
The Social Health Circle brings together high school students, and young professionals in business, human services, and government. It is a space where people relax into more substantive conversations, and explore together the challenges they experience in their social environments, and the ways in which we can create more uplifting social spaces.
The first social health circle was held on May 18, 2014. It gathered a dynamic inter-generational group of high school students and young adults, all aware of the hidden suffering that unhealthy social ways create in their immediate environments, and all wishing to become part of the solution.
The conversation focused on the following central points.
1. Genuine personal healing cannot happen privately, in a vacuum, but only as we come together to create social environments that encourage and foster spiritual and material prosperity.
2. We are all people of good intentions, yet we need a shared vision of the possibility of social health to release our powers.
3. What can unite us is
An understanding of the constructive and destructive social forces that shape us
An aspiration to make our lives feel coherent and meaningful
The choice to be part of the solution
The desire to reach out to others and turn the tide
4. What holds us back is
5. Developing skills for social health
At the second social health circle, on June 1, people shared their often fragmented, isolating, and defeating experience of society, and the fears that hold us back from engaging with each other in more health-promoting and mutually uplifting ways.
One participant described his daily social environments as “manufactured”, compared to the “organic” social interactions of our circle. High-school students referred to “an intellectual disease” that they experience surrounding them.
People recognized the power of developing a language of social health that can impact what we focus on in social life, and can begin to change the quality of the social relationships. Examples were shared of how a new discourse changes national and international social policies.
All participants recognized the need to develop specific skills for fostering more social health.