The Benefits of Community

We all think of different things when we hear the word “community,” which is fair since it can be applied in so many ways.  When I think of community, I automatically go the reigning SuperBowl Champion Seattle Seahawks and the 12th man first! The Seahawks give credit to their success on the field to the community that supports them and if you’ve ever been to a Seahawks game you understand where that sense of community comes from.  You find yourself talking to complete strangers like you are the best of friends, high fiving and hugging them when things go your team’s way, consoling each other when things don’t (the beer helps too).

Originally communities were established for more practical reasons than sporting events.  Some of the earliest buildings archaeologists have discovered were not people’s homes; they were communal centers that were used for harvest gathering and food preparation.  Communities were also essential for survival in other ways.  Defending yourself from predation, protecting yourself and your family from hostile tribes, trading of goods and services that you needed but couldn’t produce all required that you work in groups for the benefit of all.  In our modern world, however, most of the basic necessities of life are available to us without being part of a community.  Food, clothing and shelter can all be obtained without joining a group. What part do communities play in our modern world? You know… the one where the Seattle Seahawks are the reigning SuperBowl champions? (Sorry, had to get that in again).

Humans are social animals; we require interaction with others to be our best and to contribute back to the group that we identify with is a natural instinct.  More and more people are realizing that community involvement, whether that be thru volunteerism, direct giving to a cause, church group activities and neighborhood associations are all ways to not only help their fellow man but also to cement that bond of community that only comes from working with others toward a common goal. If you are currently working with others toward the betterment of your community, hats off to you and congratulations!  If you aren’t, please consider it.  You will always get more out of it than you will ever put into it.

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

And for those of you who have started wearing the blue and green of the reigning SuperBowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, welcome to the 12th Man community.  It is glorious.   

By Jair Furnas



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