5 Ways to Become Part of a Community

by andrewodom on March 5, 2014 · 2 comments

Both Crystal and I grew up in very social situations. We both had at least 3 siblings. We both went to church. We both participated in dance classes, baseball/softball games, and a slew of other activities. Our parents made sure of it. We even had the benefit of visiting with extended family on almost a daily basis. We never had time to feel lonely or overwhelmed with solitude. That has changed slightly though since becoming adults. Our days seem split by the responsibilities of parenthood (read: being consumed with the life of our child) and the desire to just “set a spell.” But since we have joined the RV world we have truly rediscovered the joys of community.

We think community is important because it offers:

  • Encouragement. Even though the bookstore is full of self-help books and all of us are able to look in the mirror and give a good pep talk we all have those moments when only the words of another can lift us up, set us straight, keep things in perspective, and/or hold our head a bit higher.
  • Perspective.
  • Happiness and Joy.
  • Accountability. Even though being held accountable can be a bitter pill to swallow it is quite often necessary and keep us honest.

In this age of FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, TXT messaging, streaming media, etc. it is easier than ever to disregard and ignore our human need for community. It seems as if direct interaction is little more than a thing of the past. The grocery story offers self-check eliminating the interaction with a cashier or sales clerk. The bank has photo deposit and ATMs cutting out your dependency on a teller. Online commerce allows us to buy even groceries and building supplies without ever stepping foot into a store. In fact, the other day I was able to tithe and give an offering online without ever even entering into the congregation or sanctuary. But let us not forget that being part of a community is healthy. It is essential even. This doesn’t mean you need to abandon yourself and your “me” time and be around others. It simply means that balance is as important as anything else and for every moment alone you should try to counter with a moment in community. Here are 5 (easy) ways we have found to become part of a community and continue to cultivate your daily interaction.

  1. Faith. If you are spiritual or religious, join a group filled with like-minded people. As practicing Christians we have enjoyed the Sunday morning chapel time our RV park offers. Furthermore, we enjoy the coffee talk before hand and the handshakes after.
  2. Food. Make food. Invite others over to share in it. Have a happy hour at your house or in your backyard. “Breaking bread” is a fantastic way to meet and converse with people.
  3. Be present. Take on a roll of being a friend who others know they can count on or even call up to talk to. It may inconvenience you at time but it is such a simple way to engage. It will also – more than likely – open up dialogue wherein you can share ideas and beliefs with each other in much greater depth. 
  4. Network and go to events. Networking has become such a corporate term in the last few years that many of us have forgotten that the definition is – quite simply - a group or system of interconnected people or things. It is being part of a group of like-minded folks. Events are just the physical manifestation of those networks. Here at the RV park we have enjoyed Saturday night dances, Friday night socials, a little game of Shuffleboard, etc. Those events have allowed us to network in with like-minded people and become part of authentic friendships. Those friendships have then given us ample opportunity to have a cold one and watch the sunset in the side yard of our neighbors while having a few minutes of much needed interaction.
  5. Cherish your family. A large part of the tiny house life and the nomad life is spent focusing on relationships. It is about cultivating the love you have for your family and the love they share with you. I can remember quite well when my parents stopped being just my folks and started also being my friends. That meant a great deal to me and to them and we learned to cherish each other thereby increasing the value of our time together.

In what ways to do you work to increase community? How does it make you feel? Can you imagine a life without community?

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