The most success has been with community projects I work on like our local seed library. Our community members have rich experiences and are adept at sharing, being both learners and teachers, and being lifetime learners.
This weekend, we had a series of cooking workshops as a part of our Creativity in a Box library grant project. I was a little dismayed to see that several of the folks who signed up were, in my mind, accomplished cooks. What could I offer them??
It was a great day though. Everyone learned some things (including me) and also offered up some things to others. We had multiple generations (from age 11 to in their 70s), and no one had any ego. It was a model of how learning should be in my mind.
And for me, personally, it stood out as an example of how much my own facilitation skills have evolved. I can barely stand up in front of a group and “teach” anymore — it just doesn’t seem authentic (or effective). Facilitation of events like this though is beginning to feel natural. (Of course, there are the occasional events when there is a group that doesn’t engage; I still don’t know how to handle that.)
I think this kind of multi-generational peer learning has great application to some of the rural community building work I’m doing as well. It might even be the key to beginning to discuss and address some of our large national challenges.