On the Importance of Community
One’s surroundings can make all the difference in the world, can’t they? We used to live in a neighborhood that was boring – didn’t have young kids for our kids to play with, people hardly talked to each other and there was no sense of community. We knew we wanted to get out of there and upgrade to a nicer, more family-friendly area so about a year and a half ago we began building a new home and we moved in shortly before Thanksgiving last year.
We’re now where we dreamt of being – we’re surrounded by friends who have become family and there are swarms of kids that all play well together, no matter how many years there are between them. Almost every night in the summer you’d find us congregating in the cul-de-sac, kids running around and playing and the adults chit-chatting or playing cornhole or Kan-Jam (these may be pretty Southern games, but they are fun and Kan-Jam can be highly entertaining to watch even if you’re not playing – especially when it’s almost middle-aged guys trying to compete and still look cool without spilling their bourbon.)
Now that the weather is cooling and it’s getting darker earlier, we’ve established a weekly bonfire tradition. Kids still get together and play, though inside a bit more than just a few weeks ago as temperatures dip. We make s’mores, tell stories, and laugh with friends over our beverages of choice. We’re a varied group of friends – from teachers to engineers to entrepreneur (me) to Federal agent to nurses to corporate guys to police officer and hairdresser – we all have stories and jokes to share (some which we’ve all heard dozens of times already in the year that we all moved into this new neighborhood) and each week something stupid or crazy usually happens that creates a whole new story or joke to be shared over and over again.
Community makes such a difference, especially when it’s positive, supportive and uplifting. Everyone on our block looks out for each other; we’ve got each others’ backs and are fiercely protective. We’ve supported each other through loss, health scares and job frustrations. I’m thankful our kids have and will continue to have the most amazing childhood with tight knit friends and loads of memories. The parents are all now lifelong friends too and I can’t imagine my life without this extended family. No matter what the weather (literally and figuratively) will bring, our group will be in it together. I wish everyone could experience this sort of community and support – I think the world would be a much better place to live.