A fellow kindergarten mom and I were recently commiserating at a birthday party. She mentioned how only a handful of parents bought tickets for an important preschool fundraiser; I added that it seems like no one ever RSVP’s any more. We discussed how another mom of different-aged kids noticed that parents don’t seem to be arranging play dates like they used to, how our neighborhood park clean up was attended by only a few families, how it was like pulling teeth to get parents to commit to helping with a teacher baby-shower. It seems that actual connection and involvement are becoming dwindling social phenomenons.
Upon this realization I was initially irritated. Where is our community? I mean families have always been busy, working jobs and raising kids, but it seems like only in recent years have people become less involved.
Maybe it’s the economy? Maybe it’s social media? Maybe people just suck?
But then I remembered this reality of social psychology, and a lightbulb went off: Perhaps we are all thinking other people are our community and losing sight of the fact that WE are the community. Maybe that, combined with social media both making us feel busier than we are AND more connected than we actually are, accounts for the decline of community involvement.
And with that thought, I decided to jump into the community and offer to bring snacks and water balloons to the end-of the-school year playdate and offer to do some cleaning for our elderly neighbors who are packing up their house to move to a condo.
Because we don’t have a community. We are a community.
Just something to think about, from the therapist whose current mental hobby is paradoxes, and who thinks the paradox of “giving friendship/support/love/wealth to get friendship/support/love/wealth” is not really a paradox at all, but perfectly logical.