“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
What is a community except the place where we feel that we belong? It is a place where we feel that our voices are heard and our contributions are appreciated. Communities come in all sizes; from a single family, to an organization, a neighbourhood, a state, a region, a country, or the world. Your communities are determined by the communities that you create. So, if you do not like the one that you are in, create another one.
In January 2017, I joined the global enterprise of the John Maxwell Team because I had read the books for years and believed that it represented a community of like-minded individuals who would dream of better for their communities in spite of overwhelming odds. However, for weeks I struggled to keep pace with the orientation meetings, the technology mishaps, and the grueling pace of my newly assumed responsibilities at the office. Add to that familial and social commitments, and I had a recipe for exhaustion that made it virtually impossible to appreciate the value of the investment that I had made. I struggled to find the time and the extra energy required to get down to the business of people building which I had always instinctively loved to do.
Although I could not see it, my community was being created everyday as I tuned into the daily videos from Dr. Maxwell. They were welcomed interruptions in my days that flew by at break neck speed. The content was what I needed to hear, or what was not for me, became encouragement for a colleague or a friend. However, things clicked yesterday as I listened to another mentor in the JMT Group share his experiences in the people building business. I heard my own struggles reflected in the questions of the other callers as we all wrestled with rearranging an already hectic life to accommodate the demands of a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum on building people. But, Young One, if community is important to you, and the people who live in the communities that you create, then you have to act. You have to create communities everywhere that will support the dreams that you have.
It is real now. I no longer struggle. I know that community is essential – it is how I have survived all the storms that have blown over my life. It as also how I have celebrated the joys that have come to me, right in the midst of community. So, as I share these blogs over the coming months, once a week as I grow used to the schedule, I hope that your vision for community will grow and become clearer as my vision grows and becomes clearer about the spaces where we live, work, and play. There is no passing the buck here. There is lots of work for everyone to do in the communities that we must create.