No 971 Posted by fw, February 09, 2014
The above William James’ quote popped into mind as I was skimming through Transition Network’s Draft Strategy, 2014/2017. There, on page 11, the final page, tucked away under the heading “Monitoring & Evaluation: how we’ll know how things are going”, is this charming little anecdote, unlocking James’ quote from my memory bank.
We’re conscious that we probably can’t and won’t know which bit of what we do will make the most difference. We remember a story told by Paul Loeb:
In the early 1960s, a friend of mine named Lisa took two of her kids to a Washington, DC, vigil in front of the White House, protesting nuclear testing. The demonstration was small, a hundred women at most. Rain poured down. The women felt frustrated and powerless. A few years later, the movement against testing had grown dramatically, and Lisa attended a major march. Benjamin Spock, the famous baby doctor, spoke. He described how he’d come to take a stand, which because of his stature had already influenced thousands, and would reach far more when he challenged the Vietnam War. Spock talked briefly about the issues, then mentioned being in DC a few years before and seeing a small group of women huddled, with their kids, in the rain. It was Lisa’s group. “I thought that if those women were out there,” he said, “their cause must be really important.”
[From Reclaiming Hope: The Peace Movement after the War by Paul Rogat Loeb]
As an aside, Transition Network’s draft strategy describes TN’s vision and purpose, the way Transition works, and sets out its priorities for the next three years. Highly recommended.