Community Building Starts With This Crucial Factor
This is the first in a series of articles about community building. A book about community building should be a collaborative effort, right? This is where you come in. I’m excited at the possibility of inspiring you to be a part of this collaboration by sharing your thoughts! So please brew a mug of tea or coffee, take a comfortable seat and join in the discussion!
When I was in grade nine, I was elected class representative on the student council. At the first meeting, each representative had to join a committee, and I chose the “Newspaper and Yearbook Committee”. I soon learned that only three other students had made the same choice, and I was one of the two senior members. Worse news: The school had never had a newspaper, and it hadn’t had a yearbook in the past eight years. With a committee of four, we couldn’t do both. We decided to do a yearbook.
At the first meeting, I said, (and to this day, I don’t know where the words came from), “It’s not going to be easy. We’re going to face many obstacles, but we’re going to overcome them all, and we’re going to do this.” They all smiled and nodded. We were a Go! My impromptu speech had set the tone for the group and the project we were taking on.
In the following eight months, we did face many obstacles; we did overcome them all, and we went on to produce the school’s first-ever hardcover yearbook. How did we accomplish this? With our steadfast commitment to the project. Without this commitment, we would have given up when the problems arose, but we remained committed to the project and to the group that would see it through to completion. Sure, other factors came into play like persistence, determination, hard work and creativity but these factors were born of commitment and not the other way around.
Community building is like that. It requires the persistence born of commitment to ensure its success. It is not enough for you to be committed; all the members of the group need to be committed too.
It’s not easy to build community, though it may seem like a simple matter when you begin (more on why that’s so in a later article). A group that evolves into a true community has its battle wounds to show for it. Nothing that good comes without a high price. But you don’t mind because community is worth the effort it takes to build it. Nowhere else in life do you more keenly feel this basic truth: We’re all in this together.
As a child, did you have a “blood brother” or “blood sister”? How did that feel? When you were in school, did you become involved with a committee or club that required commitment? What is the scariest thing you’ve ever committed to? Have you experienced the comfort of knowing you were with a group of people committed to the same cause?