The Kwanzaa principle celebrated on the 6th day of the holiday period is Kuumba (koo-oom-ba), meaning Creativity. The principle encourages us to always do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
For some of us, that might take the form of advocating for, and helping to create and maintain, a community garden or playground. If you’re like me and you’re well past the age of 30, you probably remember neighborhood playgrounds. Ours was located near the elementary school, less than 4 blocks from my childhood home. We often played there – when we weren’t at home.
Some of you may live in an area that includes gardens – community and private. One of my favorite things to do on a beautiful late spring day is to take a long walk and admire the gardens of my neighbors. Some favor roses, others tulips, some various shades of green and white in a “shade garden”.
Leaving your community more beautiful than you inherited it can also mean tackling a problem that might NOT be solved in your lifetime, but making strides toward improvement nonetheless. Turning around a local economic base might not be easy, but do the work anyway – because it may be your children or grandchildren who benefit.
Take a little time to be creative about making YOURSELF better than where you were at the beginning of 2011. If you’ve stayed focused on achieving better health, a better-paying job, advancing your education, or improving your self-confidence and self-esteem, congratulations! By making YOU better, you also make the world around you better. When you improve your outlook, the happier, more focused and more positive YOU spreads those good vibes everywhere you go.
I’ve focused on LIVING the principles of Kwanzaa that I explored last year – at the end of 2010. I’ve taken intentional strides to promote Unity among my family and community; to increase and promote Self-Determination through my Love Your Reflection self-development program; to add my effort and my strength to others where possible in honor of Collective Work and Responsibility; I’ve gone out of my way to support local businesses and charities – that is my expression of Cooperative Economics; I’ve shared my journey toward finding my purpose in the hope that my story will help others to discover THEIR purpose, and I’ve stretched my mind and my Creativity in my search for ways to continue to make my community and all whose lives I touch (physically or electronically) better.
As we close this Kwanzaa week of preparation and contemplation for the year to come, don’t let this week be the last time you review and plan for YOUR year ahead. Take time now to consider how you might carry the worthy principles of Kwanzaa forward through every day, week and month of the new year.