Your Community – Use It or Lose It

Who are the people in your community?  My dictionary says a community is “a group of people living in the same locality and under the same government”.  It also says, “a social group or class having the same interests.”

For me a community is a group of people to whom I am connected because we share an interest.  I may not know every member of my community but I know how and where to connect with them.  Other names people use for community might be network or tribe.

Why is my community important to me?  Today so many of us work by ourselves.  It is easy to become isolated.  Even if we work in an office setting the connections we have will be business connections – our business community.  In times of personal or professional trouble we may seek people who know us in a different context.

In 1978 we had a huge snowstorm here in the northeast US.  Schools were closed for a week and driving was prohibited.

The only way to get food was to walk to a local market.  When you live in the suburbs you get used to having to drive to everything.  Because of that some of us barely knew our neighbors!  My family (all of us including the dog) walked to the center of town to get some milk and bread.

Since everyone in the state had been cooped up in the house for 2 days we were not the only ones out walking.  People (even those we didn’t know well) stopped to chat with us and see how we were doing!  There was a certain feeling of camaraderie and helpfulness that I had never felt before.

People do come together during times of difficulty.  After September 11th so many people sought churches and synagogues.  After the terrorists from the bombing of the Boston Marathon were caught people came out of their houses onto the streets to be together. We feel a need for comfort and support from others in times of trouble and we seek it out.

So what about other times – times when we are going about our everyday activities, do we support and connect to our communities?  If we want them to be there in times of our need (job search, crisis, business building)  we need to support them when there is no immediate problem.  To keep our community strong we need to foster its growth and viability.

Churches and synagogues provide wonderful ways to get an instant community because spirituality provides a platform to get to know someone more deeply.  Not all of us want to be part of an organized religion however.

If that is the case your community can be made up of people in your town, people you graduated from school with, and/or people who belong to the same organization as you do.  Your community may come from a combination of all of those.

In fact you could build your community yourself-one group or person at a time. The point here is to plant the seeds of common interest and nurture its growth by participation so it flourishes all through your life.

Think too about the age range of the members of your community.  We tend to be attracted to groups that have people who are our contemporaries.  There is so much wisdom to be shared across generations.  A retirement community is wonderful resource and those blessed with a longer life have lots to share and still need support and caring themselves.

How are you supporting your community today?  Are you an active member?  Do you take responsibility for staying connected to your community and encourage other members of your community to stay connected too?  How are you serving the members who need your help?

 

Ask yourself these questions:

1.   What communities do you belong to?

2.   Are they serving you?

3.   Are you serving the communities you belong to?

Take Action:

Find a way to connect with your community on a regular basis.  Nurture those relationships.

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