Yes, we all chose to have our home at Huntly Wynd because of wonderful things we see – the trees, ponds, wild life, serenity, security.
Did we see ourselves belonging to a community? Quite frankly, that was not a major initial consideration in our choice. Only later did it become clear that, like it or not, we belong to a community of people waving and smiling at each other. We discovered so many things we have in common.
So then, knowing this, it is easy to assume that “this is a great community!” Or is it?
To answer this question made me do a research and discovered “The Psychology of Communities”. I also read about Carrie Randolph, author of a post titled “What Makes a Vibrant Community?
One word stands out in describing a great community: CARING. Another word is Philanthropy, which author Randolph defines as, “altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement on a local and global level”.
In 1986, social psychologists (Dr. David) McMillan and Chavis formed this theory about “Sense of Community”:
“Sense of community is a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together.”
Dr. Seymour Sarason adds: “A psychological sense of community is the perception of similarity to others, an acknowledged interdependence with others, a willingness to maintain this interdependence by giving to or doing for others what one expects from them, and the feeling that one is part of a larger dependable and stable structure.”
It is obvious that the opposite of “caring” is “selfishness”.
And here is another powerful statement explaining interdependency and influence within a community:
“People who acknowledge that others’ needs, values, and opinions matter to them are often the most influential group members, while those who always push to influence, try to dominate others, and ignore the wishes and opinions of others are often the least powerful members.” (Psychology of Communities)
Answer these please:
- Do you have a strong feeling of altruism and desire to contribute to others?
- Do you celebrate cultural expression and value/appreciate diversity?
- Do you feel a sense of neglect, alienation, apathy, loneliness?
- Are you concerned with what you must “take from this community” or what you could “contribute to it”?
Next post: Making our Community Vibrant