Habit #11 – Become Part of the Larger Community

May 28, 2015

Wise Families nurture positive (4)The healthy family encourages everyone in it to become part of their larger community.   No family lives all by itself.   Every one is part of a community of families, neighborhoods and groups.   Think about just a few – your neighbors, your child’s classroom families, t-ball team families, the church community, fellow fans of the local hockey team…the list can grow exponentially if you include Facebook groups!!  Belonging to these communities and actively involving yourselves gives you a source of support that everyone needs.   Staying involved in the community, helping others without expecting anything in return, will build a sense of belonging in the community and increase the self-esteem of the whole family!

Community involvement can take many forms.   Some families do things together or individual members may pursue their own interests in the community.   My Mom was a nurse and, when we were kids, we were always expected to do projects with the local Red Cross chapter.  One year we got to ride on a parade float and sell hot dogs from a food truck – FUN!  My own family participates in food drives, Special Olympics and mission trips (but writing this I realize we could do so much more).  Volunteering at your local nursing home is one possibility.   Attending church and getting involved there is another.   Baking cookies at home and taking them to your local fire department is something else you might consider.  Getting involved in your community as a family and giving your time and talents to others can spark a real pleasure in DOING for the community.

Start this early.   When your kids are just toddlers is a good time, but it is never too late!   Show them the importance of community involvement by being involved yourself.   Talk about community issues at the dinner table or when you’re driving around town.   Ask your kids their thoughts about these issues as soon as they’re old enough to understand them.

Also, let your kids see your involvement by voting in local, state and national elections.   There are many of these from time to time, and most people ignore them.   Go to school board meetings and open meetings of your city’s Board of Directors or the Chamber of Commerce.   Show your concern for your community, your state, and our country by talking about issues and educating your kids about these issues.   That means you may have to do some research into them yourself.

When children learn to give without expecting anything in return, they become better family members and more valuable contributors to our world – we all need that!