Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time Bank: Not Way Off Base After All

My second Time Bank discussion was with G, whom I had mentioned as a starting point in a previous post. She and I have had several conversations about the economics of the pagan community. Specifically, she told me how she thought I was way off in wanting to pay Kitchen Witches for all their work at Gatherings because the Craft should never be practiced for money. Also, she said there was already an informal system of pagans helping each other out by sharing skills and know-how, and since everything goes around, there is no need to bring money into it. 

She has been a part of the community and a leader in the community for longer than I have been around, and I really value her perspective. In talking about the community spirit/uniting/bringing the community together aspects of the Time Bank, she said that was work for the young. She tried to work on that front years ago, and felt like she was stymied by the hierarchical system that judged and possibly dismissed practitioners based on their teachers. "Who's your Momma? Oh her, I have a judgment about her," was how others reacted to her, she said. She did add, however, that a lot of that sentiment seems to have eased up and that another shot at community spirit might work out better in the current social climate.

She also reacted well to the idea of the Time Bank. She said a couple times that she "never thought of that," in a tone of voice that seemed to imply that she wished she had. I talked about how it formalizes the already functioning system of bartering skills among pagans in the community, and also goes one step further and helps newer community members (we are growing a lot) get clued in and connected.

A concern I think I do need to address, though, is to explain that the exchange is crucial to the whole idea of the Time Bank. I have had a few people express sentiments of wanting to just donate their time instead of spend it in the system, and that perpetuates a lot of the charity mentality that can ultimately be harmful despite all the good intentions. I think there is an outlet for donating hours that will be necessary so that admin (like me) get compensated for our work, but I would really like to break out of the "I give to you, it feels great to me, you receive and maybe feel like you are worth less because you needed it and could not pay for it" cycle. I will have to research some of the effective language that expresses these ideas in a neutral way. 

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