Sharing with Your Neighbors
BY MADISYN TAYLOR
If you are craving community look to your own neighbors to forge new relationships and build something new together.
Many of our relationships can be fleeting or do not deepen past a superficial level, yet these connections, as trivial as they can seem, often have the potential to grow into something much more essential. When we crave community, we should focus our attention on these casual acquaintances. To forge a bond with neighbors, we need to work together with them so that we have a context from which to begin a more mature relationship. Sharing tasks that are part of living can be a wonderful way to become a part of a larger community, make new friends, and lighten the workloads of everyone involved.
Creating a network of neighbors who agree to pool certain resources and share daily duties can be as easy as taking the initiative. If you are willing to take the first step by reaching out to the individuals and families who share your building or your street, you will likely find that others are receptive to the notion. Starting small, with just a few people, can help you orchestrate a smoothly running system. Together, you will need to decide what chores you want to do communally and what resources can be shared. Ideas for community sharing are child care, errands, housework, keeping a joint garden, cooking for the group, and carpooling. For instance, if you cook large meals for four neighbors once a week, you take off four nights after that. As you grow to trust one another, you can begin adding new members to your evolving network or introducing new tasks to your shared roster of duties.
Actions speak louder than words, so working closely with neighbors to ensure the well-being of the group can be a wonderful way to build a sense of community in your locale. Not everyone you approach will be open to the idea of becoming a part of a network of sharing. As you connect with those who do appreciate the merits of such a system, you will discover that others are just as eager as you are to create interpersonal connections that are defined by substance.
I took the above article from The Daily Om, a site that often shares short, but insightful, articles about various topics.
Today's topic had me thinking a lot about the community around me and how actions - big and small - impact my world, which in turn impacts the world of those around me.
Being in the classroom every day, I may not be asking students to perform assigned duties, but I am asking them to behave in a certain way: be respectful, be kind, be honest, etc. These requests can be shown in a number of different ways - picking up the space around a desk, saying hi to fellow students, raising hands to speak instead of interrupting, offering assistance, etc.
It also means helping to turn a negative into positive.
When students fail at their initial attempt to accomplish something, many react with feeling defeated. They may be overwhelmed or lose confidence. Sharing the journey with your neighbors means that you are supported and encouraged to try again. It means that we all learn from the mistake. It means we grow individually and as a community.
Maybe I am interpreting this article in a way that is far from the intended meaning. But when a middle school student can sense another person's stress, give that person a pat on the back to give reassurance, and continue with the project without judgment, then I am pretty sure that middle school student is well his/her way to being an essential person in the community. That student is helping to turn a stressful, and potentially negative, situation into a positive so the community - our classroom - can be productive.