Stephanie and I met a few years ago, after admitting we should start hanging out because of the pure number of mutual friends we had in common. Her friendship is like a long, cool drink of water on a hot day to me; I appreciate how she speaks Truth, and isn’t afraid to be just who she was created to be. You can follow her words of wisdom over at Forward Thinking, but read on for the first thought-provoking nugget here.
A few weeks ago I joined a Zumba class at my local community center. Most Zumba classes I’ve attended in the past tend to attract all 30-something young women. But this one was different: it was a mixture of all ages, from women in their 60’s and 70’s to girls in their late teens. I absolutely love it, because I’m hungry to create community that spans many generations.
I have a three-month old daughter and when she was just three weeks old, my mom and dad came to visit. Something amazing happened: without my mother even saying or doing anything, my confidence in my ability to be a mother went through the roof. Prior to her arrival, I was struggling with breastfeeding, a slave to the sleep/feed schedule the books recommended, and honestly questioning whether or not I could be a good mother.
By the time she left I was full of peace. I trusted myself and my intuition, and began to truly enjoy all the things that go along with being a new mom.
This is the benefit of having many generations represented in our close circle of friends and family. Those that have gone before us have a wealth of wisdom and common sense that comes from walking the paths we are currently walking. And children remind us of the innocence and excitement of life through their lighthearted nature.
I can look back on my life and think of several times where someone older and wiser than I helped me make a critical decision that shaped my life for the better. I can also think of times where playing with a balloon in a backyard with my nephews caused me to leave behind my stress and enjoy the moment. Who knew a simple balloon could be so much fun?
Having these relationships used to be a given: parents lived with their children in their old age, the one room schoolroom enabled children of all ages to interact with one another, and extended families tended to settle down in the same geographical area.
But nowadays, this is more often the exception. Education, career, and cost of living spread families across the United States. Grandma and Grandpa are a plane ride away, our children attend schools where they interact solely with their peer group for 7+ hours a day, and even our churches separate us in to homogeneous groups: the young professionals, the single parents, the 60 and up. Without even realizing what we are doing, we have eliminated opportunities to form relationship with people outside our peer group.
So what does this mean? It means we have to be more intentional about how, and with whom we spend our time. We must create opportunities to develop these relationships. We must pursue mentors for ourselves and offer our time to be a mentor for someone else.
I have one neighbor with two teenage daughters, and another neighbor who is bedridden and in her nineties. Two golden opportunities to build a community that spans the generations. I think it’s time to get to work.
Thank you, Steph! Would you like to write a post about how your community has made the difference in your life? Message Cara today! Otherwise, help Cara’s writing continue to grow by becoming a fan of Be, Mama. Be on Facebook, or by heading the Home page, and clicking on FOLLOW button in the left-hand column.0