Cheers-log 2011-01: Too Much for us!

Must be time for a sabbatical. The people of Cheers are all feeling like Betty, the mosquito here.

But who can take time off life? We need to step back this year from involvements in programs. And yes that means we’re willing to let them fall if that’s what happens. We need to recover, and find time again for people. In 2010 the programs and powers were too much for us.

The Residents Association – one lesson is that we shouldn’t represent people, but rather inform them, and let them act if they will. We’ve been caught a few times representing the views of 50 or 100 people, then when it’s time for them to stand up and be counted, they’ve lost hope or interest. We suspect most people just don’t believe anything can change.

Local School – Here we got involved with Council, P&C, and various task groups. The staff and parents were so grateful for our efforts, but the senior staff not so much – the most senior was generating the problem. We ran head-on into politics, direct defiance and deceit. We represented parents, when they should have been allowed to all represented themselves, but it wasn’t allowed. We learned that the Ed Dept Grievance Processes actually exist to protect the department, not to investigate grievances. This goes all the way to the top, and it was just horrible being disrespected and dismissed at every level. [There was one exception to this. A guy came from Student Services to listen to what was the matter. He was the only one who asked or listened. Over the summer, he and Student Services have been axed. Now DET has effectively removed their last remaining accountability.]
Sally represented parents in the Behavior Management Group but was treated abysmally by the two outsider “experts” who came to “run their process.” Apparently their process includes treating with contempt anyone who asks questions. Very painful.
I know you think we must be exaggerating because of our personal pain, but I assure you we’re not. I’m sharing it here to illustrate that sometimes when community volunteers clash with paid power-brokers, the results can be horrible. Both Sally and I were literally floored at times, simply for questioning corrupt processes.

So this year we know better, and are asking not so much for courage as: “grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change… and the wisdom to know the difference.”

  • I’m reducing to a smaller role on Council, to assist from the side not the Chair.
  • Sally is stepping out of that task group
  • The BG Residents Association will probably fail for lack of participants
  • The local newsletter with it
  • other Cheers people are stopping their role in other programs

On the other hand, we will spend more time with people:

  • Rookies, for under 12’s on Friday nights at our house.
  • Family Camp in April
  • Watoto Choir visit
  • Round Table
  • Cheers 13 and Cheers 24
  • more BBQs


We have some recovering to do, so we’ll be recovering together!

In other news, the Elliots have left. Which was sad for us, but we were so grateful to have them during this tough year. They blogged about their time with us, and we were delighted to read:

Geoff and Sally it turns out are a couple who we connected with really well as we are very like minded and really enjoyed hanging out. I’ll always credit these guys with helping us find a direction to take our beliefs when we settle down (I’m not expanding that point here). Our friends the Westlakes are doing awesome things in Banksia Grove (along with a pile of friends) in very intentionally involving themselves in the community, school and lives of anyone who has a need to make the suburb a better place to live. They have opened their house and experience in Community outreach to all and are really making a difference.

Ha! They wrote that about us in a really bad year – Sal and I would rate last year as one of our worst in terms of circumstances and how we coped. BUT the Cheers Network really stood up and supported each other and us, more than ever! So despite our personal pains, God continues to transform us and develop disciples & maturity here in BG! That’s what made 2010 into a good year after all!

1Thess 2:8,13 comes to mind:

Because of our love for you we delighted to share not only the Good News with you, but even our own lives. You were so dear to us. …When we brought you God’s message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God’s message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe.