I love The Weekend Australian Magazine – when I can get to it - and this week I managed to steal some time on Sunday morning and actually read the articles. One in particular, “That’s the Spirit” by Miriam Cosic, a discussion about people’s sense of community, caught my attention;
“We’re losing our sense of community, it’s often said. But is it true?”
That made me think.
G and I moved up to the Hills 8 years ago. We based our decision on financial limitations and a search for certain lifestyle options. It meant a move away from my family and my main circle of friends. It meant we would have to find new connections in our new suburb.
Our initial attempts to form friendships with neighbours weren’t helped by the neighbour’s dogs’ incessant barking, nor the three cars of police who turned up early one morning to have a chat with another neighbour, not realising he had moved out weeks before. And just as well!
But it wasn’t until we had our first daughter, and I attended the local Child Health parenting classes, when I met other women who felt equally out of their depth as I did. I was naturally drawn to other mothers in my age vicinity, all of whom had had careers before children, so we felt a certain affinity and formed a Mothers’ group. One of these women in particular has become an amazingly loyal and dependable friend – we babysit each other’s children and help out each other when we can. I found community through having children.
In more recent times I have found an online community – other craft bloggers who are also trying to find a way to document their creative lives and have something that belongs to them. This is bringing me great satisfaction as I can dip into this creative world while staying at home with the children.
In the end, trying to find a connection with our immediate neighbours hasn’t been a total failure. Our most recent neighbours, R and L, moved in 18 months ago. Their children are the same ages as ours. We share life similar values. We all have a meal together every couple of months. We fixed the fence so the kids can talk and play without becoming impaled on the wire. We discuss the laying habits of our respective chickens. We discuss the imminent dispatching of roosters.
And on Sunday R helped us out when we really needed it.
G was collecting wood from the official Department of Conservation site – the girls and I bought the permit for that on Friday. Unfortunately, once ensconced in the bush, G’s ute decided not to start. He was stuck, but after a 4 km walk in steel capped boots to get mobile coverage, and another 4 + 7 kms out to the road, he managed to get hold of me, and I managed to get hold of R. And R graciously agreed to help us out.
Not such a cheap firewood experience as expected but, for the cost of the car trailer hire and fish and chips with R’s family, we all arrived back home just after dark, firewood in tow.
Is our sense of community disappearing? I don’t believe so. It just changes as our lives change. We find community where we make it and where we find people who have similar life beliefs. And I’m extremely thankful that some of them live just over our back fence!
Edited to add:: School P & C meetings are also a great way to develop community. Besides, you can find out some great .....information .....along the way!!
What do you think?
Do you agree that our sense of community is disappearing?
To what communities do you belong and how did you come to be part of them?