Thursday, July 08, 2004

Feeling Community

Globe article from July 7th (or 6th) on people's feeling of attachment to community.

A Statscan survey released recently had some interesting results about Canadians' feelings of community. While 85% of those surveyed said they had a very strong or somewhat strong sense of belonging to Canada, only 68% had the same feelings about their local communities. Not surprisingly, the smaller their communities the more likely they were to feel an attachment.

This survey seems to support what I've been feeling - that we are losing touch with our communities. While its great that almost all of us feel "Canadian", we need to localize these feelings. If we can't share a sense of belonging and responsibility with our neighbours, we will continue to lock ourselves away and allow our social constructs to deteriorate.

There is a saying, "It takes a community to raise a child". This is so true. I believe many of the negative feelings we have towards youth and crime have been fueled by this loss of community.

When I was a kid, I knew that if I did something wrong away from my house, there was a good chance I would be dragged to my house by some other parent who would present me to my parents. Similarly, if I needed help, I could find it at almost any door. Today, if you were to bring a child to their house, you can't be sure you wouldn't get assulted by their parents. And kids certainly don't feel comfortable walking up to just anyone's home.

We need to work very hard to take back our communities. We need to reach out and start caring. This will be difficult. There are too many factors that have led us here - both parents working; long commutes taking us away from our homes. We live one place, work another and play in another. But somehow, we need to do this. Its important to realize that feeling Canadian means feeling part of our community.

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