Thursday, October 6, 2011

Creating community

Last week I was struck down by a migraine- not that it's an unusual event, but this one was different- unable to drive, I had to find someone to pick my son up at school.  I called the grandmother of a classmate, my husband, and a close friend.  Luckily, the last call got me help.  My friend, who no longer lives in this town, drove from her house to the far side of this town to pick up my son.  She bought the kids something to eat and reminded them to behave because I was in pain, and all because she could.

Thirteen months ago, she would have been a couple doors down, as would other friends who would have pitched in to help.  The economy being what it is ripped apart our little community and stretched thin all of our resources.  It brought home to me just how much greed destroys society.

Community is the idea, the feeling that binds people together in a location or in a group.  It polices our actions, it creates policy and binds individual lives together outside of marriage and genetics.  Community has been in a decline for many years in many places.  Part of it is economics- renters in corporate owned apartments, in my experience, don't bother to get to know one another and don't get involved in community affairs.  They don't form as many lasting relationships as their neighbors who own homes or rent private properties.

Community needs to be more than just saying you live in the same place or belong to the same group.  Community is trust; it's being able to civilly speak to your neighbor and work out a solution.  It's about having a vested interest in the events and policies of that place.  It's about sharing and communal good.

I think the time has come to stop worrying about making nations great or competitive.  It's time to invest in communities.  It's time to understand that schools and small businesses are great places to start.  It's time to stop letting money and power be the yardsticks by which things are judged.  It's time to stop looking away when we see a homeless elder or a family that can't make ends meet.  It's time to share both burdens and joys rather than letting a few people hoard everything. It's time to embrace our human past and form communities that benefit us all. Remember, a community is a lot like a family- there are obligations and conflicts, but they can also teach you, lift you up and celebrate with you.

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1 comment:

  1. Community is so important..I grew up on army bases..we knew the other families, played together, the other parents were extensions of my own parents. I miss that..especially since my kids miss out on that. Thank you...sometimes we need to be reminded of what we are missing out on.

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