According to Webster’s Dictionary (yes, I have one on my desk) Community is ‘people living in the same area – an interacting population of various individuals in a single location’
A community can be your town, your street, your church, school, your coffee klatch, your business, rodeo family.. Whatever.
Community = people.
But what does that really mean? Think about community – or how a lack of community – affects us.
For instance, have you ever felt isolated in a crowd? Or moved, but didn’t have time to reach out to your new neighbors? Or visited somewhere and had a great time, but left feeling like you never got a true sense of the place? That’s what happens when we don’t build — or somehow manage to lose — our sense of community.
What is an Intentional Act of Community?? Why it can be anything! And easy!! As simple as chatting up a stranger on the street. Knock on that new neighbor’s door, introduce yourself, and invite them to join the coffee group at the diner. Give them your phone number and encourage them to call if they need a recipe, a ride, or a cup of coffee.
Host a neighborhood potluck, movie night, old-fashioned picnic games, or whatever it takes to get people interacting and building community.
It may be someone from the local Chamber (insert whatever group here) celebrating a business at random with a “Hey! Thanks for being here- we appreciate you” and giving them a handmade certificate or a confetti toss (Fun! I love confetti!)
Perhaps it is picking the weeds around the flowers at the town sign while walking the dog. Maybe it’s knowing you can count on the guy next door for a ride when you need it. It’s grabbing a paint brush and helping your neighbor paint the fence. Or baking cookies for hungry kids after sports practice…
Community is ALL OF US. In a small town that is very important. Intentional acts of community happen all the time without any fanfare, but they do make a difference. And they do not go unnoticed.
We were in Lovelock, NV last summer and stopped at the antique store – A gentleman that was just leaving, came back and stayed to help us get our heavy purchase into the car. That was an Intentional Act of Community.
On another trip, I stopped for gas in Reva,SD. On Mother’s Day. – the place was packed with men shopping.. The young clerk was pointing out to each man what his wife had ear-marked or mentioned would be nice. That too was an Intentional Act of Community.
Years ago, when I attended my first wholesale show for the bakery, Jo with MoJoRoast Coffee in Westhope ND purposefully sought us out and welcomed us to the business community.
Call it what you will — your neck-of-the-woods, territory, association, neighborhood, town, village, stomping grounds’ — the name doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are the community. ALL of us. We, collectively, are what makes our community a whole.
Are you randomly engaging in intentional acts of community of your own? If so, you GO! And if not, why not? Have you experienced some? What do YOU imagine Intentional Acts of Community look like?