I wrote yesterday about the connections between community and feelings of awe. The same day, I read this essay about the effect of smartphones on kids’ health (mental, but I think it has to be physical, too, because it’s all the same thing). Check it out if you’re interested, but there’s a suggestion that things like teen pregnancy, teen car accidents and bullying are down. Good news, but it’s mostly because all those things require teens to leave the house (well, except for cyber bullying) and they don’t as much anymore. So, good, but also, sad?
It got me thinking that we may have all forgotten how to form community and connection or never learned in the first place. I have lots of thoughts on this topic, but wondered what you think? How do you go about forming community and connection? What makes it easier? If you could break it down into baby steps, what would it look like?
So let me have it—how do you make community?
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For me, the easiest and best way to form community and connection has been to run a business, first the diner, and now a tiny bakery. It's so much work, and sometimes I wish I was quietly in my house or out on the water or in the woods, resting or putting together a puzzle, walking or paddling, just having solitude. But the businesses are so fulfilling for the way they get me out among people, and those connections and that sense of purpose and belonging is precious to me.
My old guy, age 92, likes to blame the dissolution of community not because of the arrival of television, smart phones, and 700 cable channels. He thinks it began when public hangings were banned. He claims people had post-hanging potlucks, brought lots of potato salad, and little kids walked through the crowd selling peanuts. Then I look into his ancient blue eyes and see a twinkle. The joke is on me. With him, the joke is always on me.