This morning greeted me with the sound of honking horns and ten minutes of emergency sirens. I rolled out of bed and went to the fitness center for a workout. I did not feel the need to look out the window or turn-on the TV for a news update. In New York City for meetings, I expect the urban background noise and would worry if it were too quiet. However, had the same racket been produced in my neighborhood in Boise I would have grabbed a phone and perhaps a large stick as I headed for the front door. Why does the same set of circumstances cause no alarm in one setting and would come closer to panic in another?
Environment sets expectations. Live near a hospital and you expect sirens, fly on a stormy day you can anticipate turbulence, or engage with a nonprofit and you can expect an unquenchable thirst for resources. Of course, not all of these conditions are true all the time but the expectations can be set.
It makes me wonder what expectations we are setting as our members of the social sector. Do we perpetuate the perspective or create a new paradigm? Are we the best kept secret or the cornerstone of the community? Are we explaining what value we add to the community or do we express what we need from the community?