Community



Earlier this week Steve, Silas, and I gathered with some dear friends to share a meal. A Thanksgiving Part Two, if you will. It was a wonderful afternoon of nourishing food, easy conversation, and ready laughter. I've written before about the importance of cultivating and maintaining a community, but never have I felt how crucial this work really is until we started a family. The stresses of striving to live a sustainable lifestyle are one thing, but throw parenting into the mix and suddenly the judgment of others isn't just about how low I keep my thermostat or how "extreme" my trash reduction goals are, it's about how all of my choices affect this innocent little life that I have the privilege of safeguarding. And everyone, parent or not, has an opinion about what the "right" decisions might be and aren't afraid to voice them.

When we returned home after our Sunday dinner, Steve said to me what a relief it was to spend time with people whose values and choices so closely mirror our own. We didn't have to be selective about what we shared or overthink whether or not they would judge us as crazy for not wanting our baby to chew on plastic. We didn't have to hide the fact that we co-sleep or that we don't do "cry-it-out", or any of the other myriad of decisions --baby-related or otherwise -- that invoke such strong responses. There was already a baseline of shared goals and that made it so easy to not only relax, but also to openly discuss things that we don't always have an opportunity to talk about.

Of course I'm not suggesting that we -- or anyone -- should limit our social interactions to those who agree with us. There is much to be gained from healthy debate as well. But at this point in our journey as parents and as eco-warriors, what we need most is support and we feel so blessed to have found a little community that can provide that for us and in which we can offer the same in return. In the energy-depleted future that awaits us, we will truly need each other in ways that most of us have never experienced before. For those like me who were raised to believe that I-don't-need-anyone-and-everyone-is-really-out-to-get-ya, this is a hard future to embrace. But, embrace it I will.

3 comments:

  1. i agree. it is so nice to find other like-minded people to spend time with!

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  2. So true! There are times when it's nice to just be in the company of others, regardless of parenting differences. But there are also times when it's extremely refreshing not to feel like you'll constantly be challenged about some parenting or lifestyle choice. Glad you had a nice time!

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  3. Beautiful pics! I heard there was an amazing chocolate cake that went unphotographed... Or maybe it disappeared faster than the shutter could open. We had a GREAT time. :)

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