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"The How" at Kindred

by Adana Protonentis

What do we want? Liberation! How will we get it? Together!

I’m parenting two middle schoolers. At 12 and 13, my kids are in the midst of intense growth in All The Ways. Their world is getting bigger, their bodies are getting bigger, their capacity for emotions is growing exponentially…these are intense times. Lately, we’ve been having a lot of conversations about the ‘how’ and why it matters. Whether we’re on our way to Grandma’s house or seeking consensus about how chores should work, we want to keep an eye not only on our ultimate destination, but take care with how we get there. How do we make each other feel along the way? How do we make ourselves feel along the way?

These conversations about ‘The How’ are a central part of our work at Kindred. When we think about partnering with a new organization, supporting a leader through big changes, or helping a Board nurture accountability with their community, taking care with ‘The How’ is a big part of our process. The context surrounding our work is always shifting. Our world and the organizations in it are growing and changing in All The Ways, so we look to our values to ground us and guide us in how we show up, with each other, with organizations, and with community. As we (re)introduce ourselves, we wanted to share our values with you all.

Says Who? Nothing changes if nothing changes. This value is all about taking a moment to interrogate business-as-usual. Who says it’s unprofessional to bring your emotions to work? Who says we can’t center care and connection in organizations? Who says we have to dismantle oppression, before we can start creating the world we want and need? Says Who? guides us toward creativity, non-conformity, and the freedom to acknowledge that the way we’ve always done things doesn’t have to be the way we’ll always do things.

And… And is all about wholeness and nuance. And orients us toward holding space for lots of things to be true at once, even when they are in tension with each other. And guides us toward intersectional thinking, helps us find the magic in the ‘messy middle, and encourages us to shed the limitations of binaries. And says we can be inclusive and efficient, we can be gentle and bold, we can be show up as our full selves and keep our boundaries intact.

Ease. How can I create ease for you? How can I create ease for myself? How can we create ease for each other? Ease guides us toward working sustainably, inviting pleasure into the work, embracing our interdependence, and prioritizing accessibility. Ease means we start where it moves and build on existing momentum, however big or small. Ease invites us to interrogate urgency, rest before we feel depleted, lean into relationship and community.

Taken together, these values keep Kindred, well, kindred. They help us tend to each other and ourselves, honor wholeness and complexity, and engage in audacious imagination. These values ground us and pull us forward. As we work toward liberation, these values help us make sure we’ll all feel darn good when we get there.

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