18 March 2008

Community life

I've been spending a lot of time in my community lately, and therefore spending a lot of time thinking about my place within it. I used to believe that I was an island and the life that Hanno and I made for ourselves was apart from everything else. Now I know that's a naive view and that what we do affects our community and what happens around us affects us.

I believe strongly in my own individual responsibility. This is paramount to me. I am responsible for my life, I make deliberate decisions to ensure I live the way I want to live and I don't leave much to chance. I know that if I want to eat fresh backyard vegetables and eggs, Hanno or I must make a plan, save seeds or have the money to buy them, do a lot of hard physical work, tend plants, water, fertilise and watch. It's pretty much the same with the eggs, although having responsibility for living creatures adds another dimension of stewardship that I take very seriously.

Having spent so much time working in my community and seeing its strengths and weakness, I now know that I have a responsibility to do what I can to work towards making our region a healthy, safe and caring place that nurtures its people and its natural environment. It sounds like a big task, and maybe it is but I will work on my small part of it so I can add what I believe is valuable, essential and appropriate. I know my ideas for the community are different to what is there now - I want to teach life skills, because I know they're in short supply, I want to show that it's possible to live well without buying convenience and fashion, I want to show that downsizing, decluttering and destressing is not only possible, it's life changing. Others will work on different projects they think are needed, we will all add our own piece to the puzzle. Each generation that lives in my community shapes it and adds to its history.

No one can be an island unto themselves. Living in a community will mean that you use the roads, shops, the library, medical facilities, schools, parks and whatever else there is. All those facilities are there because some one, or a group of people, made a past commitment to your community. I know that unless I make my own contribution, I will be poorer for it. I want to be a part of the process that makes my community sustainable - and I mean that in every sense of the word. If we turn our backs on our community we are letting others - like politicians, bureaucrats, town planners and local councils - make all the decisions about how our communities are shaped, and what is important to us.

I don't believe they will make the decisions that will help our region thrive. Oh sure, they'll put in the roads, dams and schools, but they won't add a soul to our community. That, my friends, is our responsibility.



  1. Rhonda Jean, I have just finished reading Satish Kumar's book "You Are, Therefore I Am" and your blog post is on exactly the same theme. Satish explains why we have to nourish the community in which we live and how it will enrich us. Every community needs people like yourself. You are already teaching life skills to your own small though worldwide community and we all look forward to learning from you, or being reminded by you, what we can do to make our own and other people's lives better.


  2. Sing it Sister Sing it!!!
    I love your attitude, your style, your way!
    God Bless
    Pam Watts

  3. I always look forward to what you have to write about and am full agrreance. By the way I followed your lead and did a day in the life of me. I find how other people (especially likeminded people)spend their day ti be fasinating and insightful

  4. We elect our politicians to represent "us" it is therefore important to play an active role in telling them what we, as a community, need.
    There is no better way to do this than to get involved and listen to people's needs. Great things can happen when we do this.

  5. Amen and Amen.

    I spend a lot of time with women in my community, at school and in my sewing circle group. Dh has good relationships with the other traders in our main street. Whilst our activities are enjoyable to US, our actions also benefit others.

    No man or woman is an island ~ if only more people had the same independent sense of responsibility I'm sure our communities would be better for it.

  6. Everybody in our street got a letter yesterday, asking if there's interest in having a huge streetparty with everyone living here (adults and kids) and I hope everybody will come. We live in a big city where we need even more of a sense of community!
    Great post, Rhonda Jean!
    Christine from the NL

  7. Being a part of our community has enriched our lives. And we have met a lot of interesting people along the way!

  8. Rhonda, in a week I'm about to move from city life to a small settlement. I know community life will be much warmer and close-knit there, and I'm looking forward to becoming part of it!

  9. Great post. Mr and I feel the same way. We are letting go of this big house to become more a part of community as well. It is not all about our own wants but what is best all around. Too few think of any one other than them selfs


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