Mind You: There's work to be done to make a community
WHAT makes a community? Is it location, clubs, regional councils, population numbers, labels on maps, services, schools? What do you think?
To me, community is built from the people who are committed to caring that people are connected and supported regardless of their position or economic circumstance.
A community is remarkable. There is voluntary work done in raising funds or providing service or support when situations or events affect families, individuals, schools or projects.
The upshot is that we create our sense of community by our involvement regardless of any payoff or personal recognition. The name for that is philanthropy and it is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people".
The interesting thing is that it is a challenge for many people to give freely without thought of return because we have little example of it here in Australia.
We have been trained to trade or negotiate, to expect that if we give something then there is potentially something in return. It's like the gambler's ethos.
Consider local meat raffles, chook raffles, anything that has you putting your hand in your pocket for a charity that then gives you the chance to win something back.
Of course our sense of community is developed with some of that.
Yet philanthropy extends and strengthens that when people give freely and often anonymously without thought of return simply because they can and because they care.
The interesting thing about community is that it is made up of vastly different people, cultures, and beliefs.
Yet those things come together to enable us to live in relative peace until events force us or call us to change or to take action.
So here's a shout out to the unsung members of our community who work to provide those in need with the support that is so desperately needed, those who by their selflessness in service are at the heart of community, those who recognise that if the work they do is not done the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the mentally ill will not survive, forced out into the streets.
Here's a prompt to recognise that these people have the right to be supported and it is our responsibility to engage and give even a little.
And here's the call to action. Give where you live.
Whether it's time or money or both, you are your community and there is a need for the skills, support or voice you have that will help to make a difference to someone in need. Enjoy the journey.
Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned.