(Sorry to be so loud – it’s going to be a fast 4 day week, so we’re going to need some extra gusto . . . Steeping the STRONG brew this morning).
I’ve been thinking about building local community a LOT these days.
I believe there are 3 pillars of community to be considered, and STRONG communities build from these foundational pillars:
- Schools & Churches
- Local Businesses
Our children “get” this far more naturally than we adults. We were all born with it and As we “mature”, we become more and more curmudgeonly . . . We allow our frantic life pace to inhibit our innate human gregarious ways.
When my family moved into a new neighborhood about a year ago, we unleashed our children on the cul-de-sac to play. They played and played and within a week had met most of the neighbors. They had discovered new friends their age, had met the parents and most other adults in the neighborhood . . . When new neighbors move in . . . Jessica and Allison are the welcoming committee while all the adults stay in their caves of “busyness”.
One neighbor introduced himself to Deb and me and said that he was glad our children were in the neighborhood because prior to us showing up, NO-ONE really knew each other after all these years of “co-existing” on the same street.
It all begins in the neighborhood . . .
Historically, SCHOOLS and Churches have been the gathering place(s) of the village and were often in the same building. The community naturally radiates outward from the school and church, and that’s where people would go to resolve the issues of the day in the community.
My observation having lived most of my life in Nashville is that the adults seem to have allowed our perceived need for “institutional prowess” to interfere with the power of the local school to bring the community together. Through the years, there have been many cool ideas (Integration with busing, Magnet Schools, creative district drawing) all requiring many children to LEAVE their neighborhoods to go elsewhere for school . . . making it even easier for the adults to suppress their gregarious ways.
This phenomenon has given rise to “Community seekers” and the emergence of an unbelievably strong “flight from the public school system” resulting in a robust Private School Market with campuses that rival most small colleges.
No longer do “Neighborhood” and “Schools” necessarily coincide . . . the community is “fractionalized”.
There’s a movement afoot to fix this problem. Groups of parents are assembling and advocating the return of the NEIGHBORHOOD school and are charging the current Public school administration to bring the children BACK into the community schools . . . to BUILD COMMUNITY.
The 3rd pillar of community building is LOCAL BUSINESS. Listen to any political speech and you’ll hear talk of the need to support the “small businesses” in these lean economic times. It’s the small businesses where the lion’s share of the “work force” works . . . and they are perishing”.
Those folks interested in strengthening their communities are seeking the LOCAL small businesses and going to them to do business . . . because those business owners are their neighbors and their kids go to the same schools.
Sure! The prices my be a tick higher in the local shop, but the experience and relationships more than justify that additional expense.
Every day, I think these complicated thoughts and wonder how we adults can distill out the garbage we have “learned” as we matured and remember our childhood propensity towards REAL community . . .
The solution may be simpler than we think.
Do as the children do . . . PLAY TOGETHER in the neighborhood.
I’m simply suggesting that we reclaim our community by intentionally being less self -absorbed and more engaged in our neighborhoods and local schools and doing more business with the local businesses.
One of the fundamental foci of the Pareto Realty “manifesto” is to build community . . . and to be a community building fire-starter. We are doing this in a very simple and organic way.
We coordinate a series of events (gatherings) and invite local folks to come.
We started these with REALTORS in the form of weekly “lunch & Learns” by inviting local vendors to “feed and Educate” the REALTORS who come.
May 5, we are hosting a LARGE event we are calling the Nashville Real Estate Consortium www.nashvilleREC.com during which we will gather @ 30 businesses and @ 200 REALTORS around the theme: Leveraging REALTOR and Local Business Relationships to Fortify Nashville Tennessee’s Economy”
You are welcome to join us (Don’t have to be a REALTOR).
More community events are in the incubator . . . and I will be adding a “Local Business Blog” with the goal of featuring a new local business every day . . . until I run out of local businesses to feature.
Let me know of any local businesses you believe could use a little “Free PR” on my blog 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful week . . . and a fun Easter.
PS: Real Estate is a LOCAL business and Pareto Realty is a LOCALLY owned and operated firm . . . Hope you’ll give me a call if you hear of anyone in need of Real Estate advice or service.