Fostering Lesson 6. Fostering
Summary of skill
- The word “foster” comes from the Old English word for food, and means: to nourish or to feed, to teach or to train, to encourage, to harbor, or to nurse, to promote the development of, to help the growth of (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. 1 A – M, p. 1013)
- Different models of leadership; what you foster depends on your model; a few examples
- The “classic business model” of “leader who defines the destination and the blueprint to get there” or “to bring others on board” or to “provide for the oversight, measurement, and training needed, as defined by leaders” (Peter Block, Community, p. 87)
- Block’s model of leader “as one whose function is to engage groups of people in a way that creates accountability and commitment,” “to tend to our social fabric.” In this model, the leader:
- Creates a context that nurtures an alternative future, based on gifts, generosity, accountability, commitment
- Initiates and convenes conversations that shift people’s experience, which occurs through the way people are brought together and the nature of the questions used to engage them
- Listens and pays attention (Peter Block, Community, p. 88)
- Reflection: as a spiritual leader, how do you foster spiritual community? In your spiritual community:
- What do you nourish or feed?
- What do you teach or train?
- What do you encourage?
- What do you harbor or nurse?
- What development do you promote?
- What do you help grow?
- Partner exercise: Discuss your fostering while your partner practices Active Compassionate Listening; switch roles
Resources for reflection & discussion
- Core Lesson 006, Amy Skezas, Offering Spiritual Counseling, “Seven Basic Skills” and “Attentive LIstening with Compassion,” pp. 7 – 21
- Anne & Charles Simpkinson, “Feeding One Another” in Mark Brady, ed., The Wisdom of Listening, pp. 40 – 45
- Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to Living a Compassionate Life, pp. 8 – 23