“It takes twenty years to be an overnight success.” Eddie Cantor, performer
I keep on reminding myself of this quote every time I start a new project. It’s never easy to create something valuable and lasting. It’s never easy to create something that will be well-received, stretching and useful at the same time. Last week I started a new project in our community aimed at Polish children. I wanted the children and parents to meet, sing, read poems and do some craft together. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Children are more unpredictable than I thought and my own child is too. I was able to foresee that he might not want to participate in some activities and that he will try to taste most things, but what I didn’t predict was that he will be regularly running out of the room to press the exit button for wheelchair users to open the main door of the centre. So, as you can imagine, this combined with the efforts to advertise, plan and execute the event didn’t make the job very easy.
Nonetheless, I have made a commitment to create something for the local community and so I will press on (just like my toddler with the door button).
I have chosen a community centre in my neighbourhood rather than a Polish church or a Polish club for the event because I do like when communities venture beyond their comfort zones and when they engage with different places. I think it’s very important not to confine ourselves. It’s liberating. I also believe that once the small children will feel comfortable with coming to the centre to do the Polish activities, they will become happier at attending other activities too (those that are aimed at all children).
What’s more, I have chosen my area because there is nothing more heart-warming than living in a socially accessible neighbourhood. It makes a big difference to our daily sense of contentment. It makes us perceive the world in brighter colours too and reduces anxieties about the people who live a street away from us. Someone told me the other day that they don’t like walking down their street because they don’t know the people who occupy the houses there. Is this fear not something that we should try to counter? Don’t you think that it’s true that we perceive streets to be nicer and friendlier if we know at least one person who lives on those streets? Neighbourhood activities make sense, don’t they? Even if the only thing that they do is to reduce our fear of walking to the bus stop.
Anyhow, I hope I will rise to the challenge of entertaining toddlers and that it will take me less than twenty years…
Any ideas of how I can do it?