Community" was a concept that most people took for granted a few generations.
"Community" was a concept that most people took for granted a few generations ago. People were engaged in our communities without even trying. They grew up knowing their neighbours, saw each other at school and shops and church, and stayed in the same place to raise their families. It made sense&in early towns and settlements, communities stuck together for protection and survival.
How times have changed. Now the freedom and the independence of the individual are more valued in our society, especially in larger urban centres. Families often live hundreds of kilometers apart, and it's a good bet that many of us don't know our neighbours or the parents of our children's classmates.
And that's a shame, because a well-connected community is a valuable resource. We still need the kind of strength that a community provides. Being a part of something larger than oneself is not only worthwhile, it's imperative, especially for children.
What makes community so important to children? Community (supportive and healthy interconnected relationships beyond the family unit) can build physical, mental, and emotional health. Community involvement plays an important role in communication skills, maturity, and self esteem. It teaches children about responsibility, social involvement, and consequences. A strong community leads young people to value their cultural and personal differences and fosters the concept of positive change. In short, good communities build good families and good citizens.
Children learn by example, so it's up to parents to lead the way by getting involved. Luckily, your community is right outside your door, with endless opportunities for every member of your family.
Let Your Child Lead the Way
Your children's interests should play an important role in deciding your community involvement. If they love animals, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. If it's a love for the great outdoors, arrange a Saturday clean-up at the park. Do they care about the less fortunate? Help them to organize a food bank drive. If they just love to eat, why not throw a block party barbecue?
Whatever you choose, you're sure to feel good about it, and so will your children. After all, no matter where life takes them, being a good citizen is a transferable skill.