Do you have a sense of community in your life? It could take many forms. It could be knowing your neighbors and stopping to chat while walking the dog. It could be through a church or other faith-based connection. It could be through knowing other parents if you have kids. It could be… fill in your own ways.
Of course, people vary in how important community is to them. It’s very important to me, partly because of my particular personality and also because I think community is an important element of living well in this world.
We certainly live in challenging times, and there are so many little things we can all do to give each other a hand: phoning a friend who is sick, giving a co-worker an encouraging pep talk, volunteering in local non-profits, whatever. Online I have there are numerous communities where people help each other through rough times of all sorts, via encouragement and chat or even via donations. You really never know how much difference a small thing can make to someone else.
It’s also so comforting and useful to have people we can turn to ourselves. In Mexico, where I’ve been living, I see how extended family does this all the time. But we Americans often live way too far from our families to ask them to do small favors for us. And here is where a network of local friends is invaluable. I’ve often tried to explan to Mexicans that what they do through their family ties, we do through our friendships.
I’ve always built community, wherever I lived, because I feel too much of a lack without it. What about you?
Some Tips for Building Community
- Talk to people.
- Stay in touch with friends.
- Offer to run errands when you are going shopping.
- Have potlucks at your house.
- Find a local helping organization that you care about and get involved.
Umm, I guess “get involved” sums it up!
Here is a good book at Amazon, for taking community to new levels: