Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #14 Building Community and Helping Others

Where one will fall two shall stand, a three ply rope is not easily broken.
Paraphrased from Ecclesiastes 4:12

At first look this doesn't seem like a preparedness topic but it very much is. There is an old Chinese proverb the states "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now." This is true about a lot of things and very much true about building community.

Everyone has heard someone say that if something bad happens they are going to go off on their own or with their family and everyone else will have to fend for themselves. The lone wolf will not stand for long. If you will honestly think about wolves culture you will know this is true. The lone wolf doesn't last long. In order for a wolf to survive for very long they must be a member of a pack. People turn on outsiders quickly and unless you are a hermit you need social interaction.

Building Community

Building community is one of my biggest challenges. I can talk to anyone once a common interest is found. The initial conversation is what I find tough. Thank God for my wife. She can talk to anyone. Just getting to know your neighbors is a good start. Even opportunistic scum are less likely to steal from someone that they know by name. Just the act of knowing the people in your area increases your security. It does this in at least 3 ways. (1) Everyone knows you. It really helps if you are at least friendly. (2) People tend to look out for people they know. (3) Getting to know the people that are around you creates a loose feeling of teamwork.
Creating relationships in your community does not have to be difficult and you do not have to become best friends with your neighbors for there to be a sense on mutual benefit.

We added honeybees this year. Lots of people are afraid of bees. Some have good reason because they are allergic. Others fear is just due to lack of knowledge. Once we harvest honey we will take a small jar to our neighbors on either side of our property. This creates goodwill. People don't mind things if there is some perceived benefit to them.

Building community does not have to be limited to proximity. There are lots of groups on social media where ideas, victories, and challenges can be shared. Online communities are great but cannot take the place of people in your area. Get out there and get to know the people around you.

Helping Others

Helping others is related to building community but it is not the same thing. Helping others does not have to be preparedness related, but it can be. Being prepared is not just about yourself and your family. Keeping a set of jumper cables and using them to jump a strangers car off or helping someone change a tire is helping others. This builds your standing in the community. Each time you help someone in your community no matter how small the help they will tell someone how nice you were. If some thing bad happens your community will need a leader. Every event must have a leader. Someone who has proven their willingness to help. If you put in that effort before anything happens you could be that leader. No one should wish to be leader to lord over people but to be a helper the way leaders are supposed to be.

If I could have my wish in every town and neighborhood someone or a group of someones would stand and be the voice of reason in their own communities. Don't wait on or rely on the government. I know it sounds cliche, but be the change you want to see. It is true. Each person can make a difference in their own neighborhood. 

One Step Further

If you would like to take the extra step. You can work toward creating a group of people that have mutually agreed to help each other out. This can be done by simply getting to know people and exchanging phone numbers. Have the understanding that if a person cannot answer the call for help this time that is okay. We all have busy lives and cannot answer every time, but we should answer when we can.

This group of people, dedicated to the well being of each other can be a loose understanding or can be structured. A structured group is some times called a MAG. MAG stands for mutual assistance group. Some MAGs even have gone so far as to have bylaws. The choice is up to you.

My wife is much better at meeting new people than I am but it is something I am working on. I hope you will work on it as well.

Together we can build our 
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

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