Today we’ve been encouraged to write about something that makes us smile.
It makes me smile when I hear about community development projects being auspiced by local government bodies and businesses. Like so many aspects of life in the 21st century experts are reinventing elements of life our ancestors would not have considered because they got on with life and each other, while considering the good of the neighbourhood.
Maybe it’s because we no longer live in neighbourhoods that we’ve lost the human connection. We live in suburbs. It even sounds impersonal. When we lived in neighbourhoods we interacted with each other and knew every family that lived in the street. Kids played outside and we thought nothing of being reprimanded by someone else’s mother or father. In fact word of our misdemeanour usually beat us home.
Back then we knew how to connect and be supportive of others in the ‘hood. Now it seems, we have to be taught these things. Once upon a time community development was a natural part of life. As natural as sharing a natter on the front porch at twilight or popping over to borrow a cup of sugar, checking on an elderly neighbour when her daughter went away for a few days. Today we have community nurses contracted to come in because we no longer have a relationship with our neighbours, if we even know who they are.
It makes me smile when progress resorts to reinventing what our parents, and their parents before them, took for granted. Yes, the oldies knew they needed each other, that life was so much better with company. Today any local government body worthy of our rates, will be immersed in projects to promote community development.
So it makes me smile when I see people interacting at local weekend markets, supporting another person’s efforts by purchasing locally grown produce and hand made crafty items. It makes me smile to watch a community doing what comes naturally – connecting and supporting. People thrive when they are connected.
It makes me smile to watch the ‘hood do its own version of community development. Granted, markets are based on the precept that people will travel from far and wide to attend, but locals will always gather given an appropriate occasion and environment. I fear with so many rules and regulations foist upon market vendors by local government, these meeting places will fade away as the legal costs of meeting these obligations becomes too onerous for vendors.
Until then markets and community will continue to bring a smile to my face.