So, you think you might like to have a real community but don’t know how to go about getting one? Well, there are a couple of ways to get one. If you think the idea of living within a real vibrant community of people who have flesh is repulsive then I would say you probably haven’t tried it or you spend a lot of time on a computer and what you are really trying to do is create a community in an impossible environment.
In that event, I say, try it…you might just like it. We were built for community. There are essentially three ways to get a community. You can join one. You can build one. You can grow one. I recommend pursuing one of the first two for starters, and growing your own along the way, which of course requires one to meet a spouse and have several children and raise them. To feel the community sense of this, you need to put in about twenty years. But it is worth the effort.
For the purposes of my little tirade, I am going to discuss joining a community and building a community. Lasting communities are usually made up of people who are not normal according to the world. In short, they are generally flakey. Our little community is made up primarily of cartoon characters. If you ask anyone who lives in a well established, enjoyable, fulfilling community, they will say the same thing.
But before we get to the how of a question, I think it is always important to address the why. So I would like to give a little background so you know how the why came about in our life, and how the why was answered. I believe our story, like most, contains some universal conflicts and some universal truths.
So, I am going to define what a community is. Now, this is my own definition by my experience from what I have found in my own life. I was born in 1963 (yes, I’m that old) and for the first ten years of my life, we lived in a small, starter home type subdivision where all of the families knew each other, where all of the children played and went to school together, where at any given time you could call on your neighbour to run you to the store, to pop over for coffee, to watch your kids while you had a doctor appointment. Most of the moms stayed home, and most of the dads worked 9 to 5 jobs in local government or local industry.
I believe for millenia this is how community functioned roughly, dependent on the era in form and parenting practices. People of similar income and lifestyle lived near each other and supported each other, and believed similar things and had similar moral norms. There was families with children or varying ages, and old people. The old people liked to talk about there life to us Youngsters. I remember fondly the privilege of being invited into their home for cookies while they told us stories of their own childhoods.
The one great missing factor in our neighbourhood was that there was no religion. It was the first generation, I believe that didn’t practice some form of worship. They were all Basically Decent People.
We moved eventually to a more rural area, a subdivision in the midst of a rural setting. The sense of this subdivision was basically the same, except there were many neighbours we did not know. People in general kept to themselves quite a bit more. By the time Sparky and I got married and built our first home in a subdivision, the neighbourhood had all but deteriorated. We didn’t know any of the people who lived near us. Even though the houses were considerably closer together than when I was a kid. Even walking on the street, you generally didn’t communicate with others that you met. You simply didn’t know them. I believe that most people socialized with people they worked with, or with more time and money to recreate, they spent time recreating with people who had common recreational interests.
Around this time we started home schooling our eldest daughter, and discovered there a sense of community within the structure of other home schooling families. It was a Christian environment, but we were spread over a large geographical area. We were the only Catholics so conversations about what Really Mattered were stilted and difficult. But we enjoyed the friendships.
Eventually we met up with a small Catholic home school community. It’s a funny story so I will tell it independently within this serial blog. Tomorrow.