Have you ever thought about what your community is ? My provocation is that, “we are our community”. We can sit back in our armchairs (vs. summer lawn chairs) and throw snowballs at “them”, those folks, the entities, leaders or thought leaders that just aren’t living up to our expectations. Or,  we can embrace the opportunity of affirming and taking action on the premise and platform that “we are our community”.

I suggest that this thought is grounded in my small town upbringing. Some might find that smaller communities drive them to seeking greater privacy. That’s fine and that is respected.  For this guy,  it was an open and whole community experience. I chose to be involved and to be active, as did so many of my friends. I am blessed to have had that upbringing.

Whether it was politics (because you intimately knew your Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, the Mayor and several councillors, and school board leaders),

Education – (there were just two high schools in town and you either knew your peers in school or the rivals across town),

the Business Community (they were truly the thought leaders in business and the shopping environment and local economy and were truly the engine of “Main Street”),

Neighbours, (in small towns you actually knew everyone on your street and many folks in other pockets of town),

Family, (given that you would know people through your family, others would know you back through their families)

Social Events, (this is what brought people together socially at various points throughout the year),

Church, (given that for me, in the 60’s,  that was just part of what it was like growing up, off to church school, youth groups, cubs, scouts, music festivals, Christmas concerts, Christmas eve ceremony),

Sports,(depending on the sport, the team, the competition in the community and across the region, whether an organized team or slo-pitch tournies on weekends),

Charity, based on interests or challenges in the community or even – in my case – the Terry Fox marathon that rallied our community in anticipation of Terry’s arrival (unfortunately he ended his marathon 5 hours to the east of Kenora in Thunder Bay…but a long lasting world class inspiration, to this day, none the less!)

As I look back on the small town upbringing, in some ways I have “clicked and dragged” all of that forward; to embrace the reality that we are our community. In a larger centre, such as Toronto, we really are living in a collection of small communities. Our neighbourhoods and social aspects of our community mirror that of a smaller centres – just amidst a larger entity.

We are our community, by just making a decision to get involved. We are our community, by deciding to be active on issues, in political action, in decisions in our community small – medium or large. We are our community, by deciding what charity or not for profit has “meaning” for each of us…offering an opportunity to reach out and make a difference – by volunteering time or making a donation.

We are our community, by truly embracing that stepping forward is how we can impact our community, rather than sitting back and “hoping” that someone else will make that difference for us. Isn’t “hoping” such an action lacking verb ? It reminds me of “try”…smiles. Thanks to Robert at Legacy Transformational Consulting many years ago for distinguishing for me “try from do”.

So, given that we are our community, how might you decide to take action ? Some thoughts would be to join a political party, get involved with a local councillor’s advisory group, attend a community meeting, assist with the school Christmas or Holiday seasonal fair, ask a senior if they need a “ride”…and don’t accept when they say “no we’re ok” that it is there final response…smiles, volunteer to make a few calls for your local charity, volunteer for your kids’ sports team, ask your friends if they need help in any way at all, pledge to someone who is already involved in a cause, put the “bag” out for that cause that calls for used clothing or household items, put some loose change in the hand of a homeless person reaching out for comfort on a cold winter’s day, speak up – step up – make a difference.

We are our community and one way to make a difference is by getting involved and taking action, in whatever small or large way you see fit. What might seem trivial to you/us…could make a world of difference to someone else in their time of need.

I’d love to hear how you’re involved, and whether this has just given you that little nudge to help convince and engage you in believing that we are our community. Cheers !

@FergDevins @DevinsNetwork