Haboob Manifesto, Pt. 3.1: Ujima

But I don’t want to do that! I had a plan, see? Basically to do nothing! I mean, it is still vacation, right? Why do we have to actually do stuff? And together, no less?! Really?!? 

Collective work and responsibility. That is what the principle of Ujima is all about. “To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.” (From The Official Kwanzaa Website, here)

We can’t build community together with brothers and sisters until we build community within our own homes.

How many folks do you know who are very successful and involved in the larger community, but fight like cornered cats at home, fussing with their so-called loved ones? It is important that we live up to the expectations of our respective roles in our own home and that we find a way to ensure that everyone in the home is working together for the common good of the household.

Unfortunately, collective work and responsibility within the home does not guarantee peace, but if each member of the household strives to do his/her best, the idea of problem-solving may come easier. “Getting along” does not guarantee peace either, but it can clear the air for communication.

In the Bible, specifically 2 Corinthians 6:14 we read about unequal yoking. Many have attributed this verse to all sorts of things, including marriage, education, and so on. There have been suggestions that the aforementioned verse refers to Leviticus 19:19, which the Expositor’s Bible Commentary suggests can be best translated as “Do not make your animals fall down with an unequal yoke.” A yoke is that thing that hooks two mules, horses, or oxen together to plow; if it is not equally weighted, one animal ends up carrying more of the stress than the other.

If this principle is applied to a family, it is easier to see how an unequal yoking can contribute to one person pulling more of the weight in the family than another.

Yes, there must be balance, and that can only be determined within the confines of that home, within those relationships. Each person takes responsibility. Each person strives to fulfill his/her part of the collective work of maintaining relationships and building up the home.

Once a solid foundation is built within the family structure, members can confidently go out into society and will be better equipped to practice the principle of Ujima in other venues.

Let us all strive to improve our ability to work collectively and be responsible!