What is community and what does it mean to you?
The commonly accepted meaning of community is ‘all the people living in a particular area’ or a ‘group or groups of people who share common interests’. Therefore, whether we are aware of it or not, we live in a community and as other communities exist all around us, we are naturally a part of at least one or maybe more. Our community could be a small village, a large town, a family group, a social group or any of the many variations. Communities can also be defined by a common interest – religion, sport, culture and hobbies for example. They can be big or small, sometimes formed for a specific short-term purpose and in other instances, with an indefinite life span.
Communities can provide a sense of belonging, something that many of us will experience at some time in our lives. But unfortunately, some forms of community, or perhaps the way they are organised, can bring about a sense of exclusiveness and even isolation, both within the community itself and for those who sit outside that particular community, longing to be part of it.
What is the purpose of community and what draws us to be part of a community?
We all have an inner sense of wanting to belong and be a part of something. This is innate within us.
We are not only designed to be together; we are greater together. This is who we are.
We are all naturally supportive of others and when given the space to express this freely, we find true community.
What is true community?
In true community there is a sense of connection to each other and a common purpose. Each person individually makes up a part of a much bigger whole. True community is far beyond yourself and your family – it encompasses something much broader. It is about everyone and everyone contributes simply by their way of living. We each bring something special with us to community – our signature contribution that makes the whole so rich.
Many of us know the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but do we really appreciate what the saying offers? Children need more than their parents. Our elders also have much to contribute, equally as do teenagers, other children and everyone in between. We all have something to offer and when we let ourselves receive from those in our community, life is enriched.
It not only ‘takes a village to raise a child’, it also applies to relationships, couples, families and beyond. We can’t do things alone nor are we meant to. Having a community backing us, be it in a relationship, a marriage or family, is an incredible support and allows us to be all the more grand. Equally so, there is nothing more beautiful than watching others around us soar with us supporting them all the way.
When true community is lived, it cannot be contained – it is natural for its lived qualities to then be shared with everyone. There is a feeling of a grander connection with everyone.
True community is inclusive of all of humanity.