I have been a Lasallian since I was a primary school student. There are three core values which most Lasallians live their lives by. These three core values are Faith, Service and Community. Today, I’ll be writing about the core value of community.
What is community?
Basically, I define community in two ways:
- The people other than ourselves. There is the local and the international community. The local community could consist of people like our friends, family members, teachers and neighbors or people at our workplaces while the international community covers the rest of us human beings who live on this planet Earth.
- The feeling of belonging with others. This encompasses how we feel, think, relate and act around others. Our feelings, thoughts and actions are what defines community.
Most of us know or probably already have a very good idea of what community is. But, now comes the hard part: HOW DO WE SHAPE OR CREATE A BETTER COMMUNITY?
Throughout history, that has been one of the things we humans have been trying to achieve—a better community albeit through many various methods—such as war, different types of governments and economies. So, yes I might not be the most qualified person to suggest how to create a better community but bear with me as I give my humble opinions on how to shape and create a better community.
Today, I would like to share with you 3 simple, practical and (hopefully) very effective steps to creating a better community. I call these 3 steps the “3Cs to a Better Community”.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines care simply as things done to keep someone safe, healthy, etc. as well as things that are done to keep something in good condition. Based on that definition, I would like to define care simply as things that are done to keep someone in a good condition.
With that in mind, caring is one of the key components to creating a better community. This is because community consists of people and it is when people care for each other that we can possibly create a better community. “How do we care for someone else?” you might ask. Well, it is as simple as what a Year 7 student told me when I asked him the exact same question. He said that we care for someone when we watch out for them and are concerned about them. I completely agree with his definition and would further elaborate that being concerned for someone can be as simple as asking them the question, “are you okay?” when they look sad, unwell or just generally less happy than usual. With that said, I believe that caring for others is one of the key components to create a better community.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place—George Bernard Shaw
To create a better community, we must start learning how to communicate better with one another. Most of the time, we do not really listen to someone when they speak. Instead of listening to understand, we listen to reply. While someone else speaks, we start thinking about how to reply, how to disagree with them or what to have for lunch or dinner later. And the problem with this form of communication is we do not truly understand someone and this stops us from building stronger bonds with each other and consequently a better community. One practical way to help us communicate better is to paraphrase what someone has said before thinking about how to reply. I hope that all of us will start communicating better in the hopes of building a better community.
We have all received so, so, so much from the community. A few examples are education, health care, shelter, companionship or the provision of goods and services. And it is time to give back. To contribute to the community, And ironically, we already know this. But, we don’t do it. WHYYYY???
Here’s my take. The problem is we think that to contribute to the community we have to be someone special like an Elbert Einstein, Gandhi or Mother Theresa. We think that we as normal human beings are not able to contribute to community. But, that cannot be further from the truth. We can all contribute to the community and the easiest way to do this is to use our strengths, talents and gifts to add value to someone else. You and I can contribute to community in simple ways such as writing a blog, volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping someone out with their studies or just by giving encouragement to someone. Never downplay the power of small acts done with great love.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love—Mother Teresa
Finally, I would like to ask you, what is holding you back from helping to create a better community? Is it that you do not believe that you can actually make a difference? Well, let me assure you today that whatever you do to help create a better society, you are making a difference. You may not see the difference just yet but believe me, stay the course and keep trying to make a difference, because that’s how you actually do.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can—Arthur Ashe
Thank you for reading.