What do you think of when you see the word community? There are many different types of communities.
I have been a member of many different communities in my life. They include:
- Sporting teams
- Book clubs
- Rotary groups.
Among these are the broader communities of musicians, students and my race. They also cover the gamut of local, national and international communities. I am privileged to have had these experiences. One community I feel particularly privileged to be among today is a community of PhD students.
Definition of community
When I started my Masters study in 2006 I came across a basic definition of community that I liked. It states that
a community can be any group of people who choose to identify with each other. It adds that communities can be created through:
- Things people have in common
- Geographical location
- Cultural heritage
- A desire to strengthen relationships and share experiences.
Traditionally a community has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organised around common values. This social cohesion usually comes from a shared geographical location. The word can also refer to the national or global community.
My view of community
While growing up, I learned the most important people in your life are your family. But I have since learned that the people you choose to have in your life can be even more important than relatives. They are the good friends that are there for you no matter what. I love my family. But I have some values they do not share. Sometimes my family finds it hard to understand what I think and do.
I now surround myself with a wonderful community of friends. Some of these friends I call my family of choice. These are people who love me for who I am. They are always there when I need them. They are people I support when they need it. They are people who I love to spend time with. We have no expectations of each other. The only expectation is that we will always be there to help when needed. They are truly beautiful relationships.
We might not have much choice over the communities we find ourselves in when we are younger. But as we grow into ourselves we start to understand where our values lie and who we are as people. We change. We can also make choices about the communities that are the best fit for us.
What are some of the most important communities to you? Let us know in the comments section below.