I’ve been thinking a lot this week about community. What is it exactly? Why is it important? Most of all, why have we moved away from it? Community, by definition, is:
1. A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common;
2. A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.
In lay terms, community is like school spirit. It’s an invisible force that bonds us to the people around us through experience, locale and acquaintance. We all have experienced a sense of community, especially those of us born before the age of technology.
Now that we have established what community is, why is it important? We as humans have a need to feel important, justified, included and accepted. When we find a home within a community, we fulfill our need for fellowship. We nurture our self worth by being around others who “get” us or understand us. They laugh with us, cry with us, hold us accountable (we hope) and celebrate life’s ups and downs with us.
If community is so beneficial for us as humans, why do we sometimes feel so alone in a world filled with people? What happened to community? Unfortunately, in a society so easily accessed by social media and online shopping, we have alienated ourselves from our oh-so necessary community.
At the Shop Small Market in Fort Worth recently, we saw the firsthand effect of community. There were small, local shop owners supporting each other, reveling in each other’s success and encouraging each other in their businesses. It was incredibly refreshing to see so many people come together in the name of community. That is what we are missing: that support and nonjudgmental love and concern for each other.
I have seen an intentional effort in the City of Fort Worth to grow the small, locally-owned market, as well as integrate a feeling of “team spirit.” I think it’s time that we get out our pom-poms and start cheering for each other! Let’s get out there, meet our neighbors, host a community BBQ, shop local vendors and farmers, and bring back the strength of our beautiful community!
And, as always … Dream Big. Choose Local.