I have long believed that teaching our children the importance of community is or should be a vital part of their education. I believe this should begin in the home even before our children begin school and be fostered at home all through school.
But what about community do we teach them, maybe just the word itself, which means: to come together as one. The first community most of them are exposed to is the family, but sadly today with the prevalence of divorce and children in single parent homes, many of our children do not see community being exampled in their families. This is a problem that can be overcome by exposing our children to a larger community, say the neighborhoods they live in, but yet many of these communities are made up of a large number of single parent or dysfunctional families. This too can be overcome, by enough of the stable families in the community being there to model both family life and community life to both the children and parents of broken families, this community can also be modeled through churches and schools as they strive with these families (not just the students) but their families. Working together; churches, schools, community groups, and businesses can teach our children the value of community by coming together and working together in the communities where our children live by working on projects to make their community’s a better place to live.
When I was growing up the one the things that I commonly heard parents of my generation say was; that you need to get an education so that you can get out of this place. I really don’t think that mindset has changed much from my generation to the current one; we still want our children to get a good education so that as adults they can move on. The problem this leaves us with is this: we have the children who are more intellectually gifted and in more stable home environments moving on to bigger and better things moving out of the communities that they grew up in, but the flip side of that is the children who weren’t as intellectually gifted or in a stable home environment are left behind in the communities that they were told that they needed to get out of, I believe that for those kids, a sense of despair and hopelessness settles in them and they feel as if they are forever stuck in this place of hopelessness.
One of the answers I believe is that by teaching all kids the importance of both living in community and being a community that they won’t view it as a hopeless place or their lives as hopeless. This I believe not only benefits these children, but all of our children as they see the importance of community; both as place and as mindset. Maybe these kids as adults can work together in the community where they are to make it a much more stable place to raise up the next generation.
So much more can be written here, but it is action that will move this forward.
Faith, hope and love are what hold a community together.
A child’s worth is not determined by his or her intellect.
Seeking, working and praying for peace in this place where God has sent us.
Pastor Gary Lynch