Food for Thought
Community Spirit

To be part of a community is a core element of being human. By almost every measure we are born to be social beings and are social beings throughout our lives. We are also raised to be in community with others. Our families are our first community. In our families, we learn how to live with other human beings and have experiences, both good and bad. The quality of our experience in this first community shapes our relationship to community throughout our lives.

As we grow up we find ourselves in other kinds of communities: schools, peer groups, sports teams, theater groups, and other clubs formed around a variety of interests. Our hobbies and passions bring us into groups of like-minded individuals who also form communities: quilting, bicycling, creative writing, people who love to cook, and others too numerous to mention. In adulthood, we may find ourselves involved with churches or synagogues, workplaces, and creating family communities of our own. If we are fortunate, the communities we are part of reflect our values and our interests.

Among the most significant communities, we are a part of is the place we live. Our town, our county, our state, and our country are all levels of community of which we are members. When we think of being in community, we usually think of our neighborhoods and our cities or towns. We each have a different level of identification, commitment, and involvement with our community, but the spirit of community is what animates us to seek belonging and to reach out to others. There are many in towns, counties, and communities who have unmet needs greater than our own. Community spirit is a source of strength, an energy we can draw upon in times of difficulty. Let us talk about being in community and community spirit.

Questions to Consider:
1) What does community mean to you? What communities have you been a part of in various periods of your life?
2) Where have you felt the most sense of belonging and in which communities have you experienced a sense of difference or alienation?
3) Do you feel identified with your city or town? If so, in what ways have you been involved with your community?
4) When you think about the term “community spirit”, what does this mean to you?
5) How do the communities you are part of help you cope with life’s difficult times?

All rights reserved © 2020 Beth Firestein, Ph.D. Wise Women Group