A few weeks ago, I finally gave in. I agreed to go to a new home-school playgroup. I am an introvert in new situations and a bit of a control freak, so this was a stretching experience for me. However, I had people I knew who would be there and my two older kids, who have somewhat outgrown play groups, were occupied with an educational activity at another area of the same museum. I was left without excuse.
When I enter a new situation, I usually sit back and observe for a while before jumping in. I like to glean as much information as possible from observation before I start a conversation. What I saw at this playgroup surprised me.
I saw women, specifically home school moms, without the deeper connection that comes with true community. Yet, I know that one of the primary reasons for these meetings is to give moms support in their home school journey for when the days are long.
Community takes effort.
I have learned community doesn’t just happen. You can’t just call a group of people a supportive community and make it be one. That would be too easy. You have to work at it. You need to be willing to show up and have conversations. You have to share you life with the people around you – the good and the bad.
Community takes time.
It has been said that the first three times you meet with a new group of people, it will be awkward. Who likes that? I was really hoping to leave awkward back in Junior High. Building community isn’t an instant result of showing up somewhere with some people with similar interests. There are times when things click and you get that special blessing of instant rapport, but it is rare. Usually, the sense of connection and community is developed over time because people keep on showing up even when it’s awkward.
Community gives back.
When you finally get there, to that place where you know you can trust your tribe or at least a few of them, you know you’ve got the support you need. Because you have given of yourself in the good times, community gives back when the times are bad. We are very blessed to be a part of an amazing church community that knows what it means to support people in need. They show up and they give back.
Visiting the playgroup was good for me. I probably won’t make it a regular activity in our home school week, but I see its value. It is important to have the sense of belonging that comes from being part of a strong community. I know that community is being built for some of those moms and for those kids.
Where do you find your community? Let me know in the comments.