Being together: creating community

The other day, I was watching a mockingbird relentlessly attacking a cat.  The mockingbird viewed the cat as a threat to its family.  The cat was calmly walking, ignoring the bird.  At other times, the cat is intimidated and disappears.

Recently, in a superhero movie, one hero whined to another that an aggressive player in his video game was calling him bad names.  The more dominant superhero picked up the headset and on general chat (in the game) blessed out the offending player for the verbal abuse of his friend.  Community.

On the vehicular street, I see people “let others in” to the flow of traffic.  But at many other times, I see fists shaking, mouths flapping, heads wagging and finger signals.

I understand that I cannot control others.  Oops!  When I try to control others, I get fear and resentments as a result.  Unmet expectations.  So what can I do, prayerfully, in consideration of my needs and the needs of others?  What can I do without resentment?  What must I accept, before unrealistic expectations destroy me?  What is my role?  What is my niche?  Am I graciously assisting others in learning the same?

My father reminded me not to be  “A bull in a China closet!”  Working on it, Dad!

As I was walking this morning, I was partaking of an uplifting video on “being couples.”  I heard the speaker talk about the importance of listening.  More importantly, I believe the gentleman was simply talking about what it takes to make “community.”  Perhaps the implication is that living with a person for a lifetime requires the ultimate “community.”

He explained how we, as humans are now living longer, and expected roles for each other are rapidly changing.  His suggestions included giving music lessons to children as their parents shop in the grocery store.  He talked about language-learning dialogue along the way as an important component of building community.  Community “on the fly.”  As we go along.  One day at a time.

The Art of Being a Couple | Theodore Zeldin | TEDxOxford

Back in the late 1990’s, I was in great need.  I can remember going to the local Hispanic restaurant and carrying a Spanish/English dictionary.  At that time, many of the waiters and waitresses were wanting to learn English as bad as I wanted to learn Spanish.  This “window” of time was a powerful forge for learning myself as a diner and my for friends working in the restaurant.  Many friendships were created along the way.  They have since far outpaced me in their learning.

As I have studied Blue Zones, areas where people are long-lived, “community” is one of the keys to thriving.

Living longer| Three things:  a video by me, Darrell Barnes

 


 

So how do we create community?  How do we “live and let live?”

Attributes that could lead to community:

Love:  familial, brotherly, romantic.

Joy:  knee slapping expressions of delight!  The glow of contentment in life.  Gratitude.

Peace:  serenity, the peace that passes understanding.  Acceptance.

Patience:  expectations of oneself and others.

Goodness:  understanding the unwritten and unwritten code(s) of what is good and bad.  Self-inventory.

Kindness:  reaching out, forgiveness.

Faithfulness:  to people, to commitments, to oneself.

Gentleness:  to treat others as I would wish to be treated.

Self-control:  what is best for the community?

 


 

As a living component of my habitat, do I create peace and harmony?  If not, why not?  What are the solutions?  What can I personally implement, just for today?

 


 

Your thoughts?

Brother Barnes   :   ]

80 Comments

  1. Dr. Barnes
    Thank you so much for being so inspiration every class and sharing your knowledge. This article is so eye opening and everyone needs to read it.

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    1. I so agree with you!! He has been an inspiration to me so far and I think everyone needs to read this so we can all come together as a community.

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  2. I really appreciate the opportunity to read this. The examples you gave express the great difference between an attitude of selfishness and community. It’s no surprise that you listed the fruits of the spirit. I have had the opportunity to personally experience communities all over the world, an opportunity not given to many. We all have an extremely strong desire to be a part of a community. I do not believe this is by chance. Thank you for being part of my community!

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  3. It is amazes me how much you care about the community and trying to make us have more unity. I’m really glad that you find a way to include this into your lessons. We all sometimes need to evaluate the energy we put into our community.

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  4. Dr. Barnes thank you for being you!!! You have established a safe community within our classroom. Deciding to go back to school after many years, was a hard decision. You have made this transition less intimidating for me. Patience has been one of the hardest attributes I have faced, but I am learning daily. In my own classroom, I have to exhibit patience with students. Now that I am a student, I am truly feeling the need of someone having patience with me. Faithfulness was actually one of my words for 2019. I have been practicing faithfulness in many aspects of my personal and professional life. In order for me to get the results I want, it will take me being faithful to the things and people that are important.

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  5. I think changing the world, for the good or bad, depends entirely on that persons outlook. If he/she is a Debby downer then they won’t tend to care for others or do good. I think this was a good outlook on the population as good and bad. People should always try and see the good in things. Rather that be nature, humans or anything!

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  6. To quote my favorite author, Khalil Gibran, “The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.” Your dedication to your students, not only academically but personally as well, is only one of the many reasons you are a great teacher. Thank you for creating this community. I am proud to be a part of it!

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  7. When it comes to joining together to make our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world better, one of the most important things we can do is to find out what we have in common. When we share something with the people around us no matter how small or insignificant it seems it can help us make connections we never realized we could. I truly believe that when you are working within a community of like-minded people that the wisdom of crowds is considerably greater than any one person working alone. Our divergent world views and lenses mean that we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.

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  8. We went over this in biology class. Now when I go out on a journey I look around at the different people, places, and things as we all live together in one place.

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  9. What an inspiration to have you take valuable time out of class to discuss this concept with students. As an older student, it makes you think about your values & question how far off you have become with age (what you need to change) and as for the younger students I hope this inspires them to become better adults and citizens. It is easy to get off track … more challenging to stay focused and true to oneself and one’s community.

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    1. I definitely agree with this comment. It is very easy to get off track with just life woes. I will take the challenge to stay focused, true to myself, and my community.

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  10. Dr. Barnes,

    I love the thought that we as a community could help shape the rest of the community. I believe in treating everyone how I would want to be treated. We are only here for a short time & I see no point in being hateful & making life miserable for everyone around me. Many people these days live in such a self absorbed, fast paced, world. It would be nice to see people slow down & remember these “fruits of the spirit” (as I have always known them.)

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    1. Changing the world begins with me. And you. It’s an inside job.

      It’s good to be together, living in peace and harmony. The “fruits” mentioned are a great pathway to that destination.

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  11. The world would be such a better place if we all showed a little more patience! Everything doesn’t have to be immediate. I’m working on being more patient my self. Oh, and was that an avengers reference in the second paragraph? 🙂

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  12. Dr. Barnes,

    The talk given in lab was awesome last week! I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about the importance of community! Most of the time we get caught up in every day life events or want to do everything on our own that we forget how simple it is to seek help or to help others when they need it. I most certainly agree with your attributes of community. Thank you so much for reminding us about these beautiful things in life.

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  13. Dr. Barnes,
    Thank you so much for the inspiration you shared during our lab last week. Of all times to hear something like what you said, it was perfect timing. I’ve been so stressed with school, that I have been slacking on self-care and taking a step back to look at what I’ve got going for me. I am so thankful to have a community everywhere that I go, and I am looking forward to building relationships in the community that we have in our class, with such a diverse group of people.

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  14. Dr. Barnes,
    Hearing you speak so passionately about community and wisdom during our lab last week really warmed my heart. As a very spiritual person, I feel that everything happens for a reason. That conversation was yet another confirmation of that belief because I felt so much relief hearing you speak about the things that matter to you. I needed to hear it and you spoke it, not knowing that it would reach into those dark crevices of my mind that were in need of a refresher that night. Thank you for your insight. I look forward to spending this semester in your class.
    Hanna Glover

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  15. Those qualities are needed for a strong community, but with that you as a person have to have those qualities about and within yourself. You can’t be an angry miserable person, and expect for roses and butterflies to surround you. I think one of the major downfalls of our “communities” is that people are so focused on how the appear to others and what they are “supposed” to do and appear as that they lose who they are entirely. You can’t be happy with yourself until you are being yourself. Once you’ve established that then you can’t really contribute to whatever community you belong to.

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  16. You have some great insight on the importance of community and how it affects every aspect of our lives. I strongly believe that a sense of community is crucial to one’s success, growth, and happiness. I particularly enjoyed your examples and even the subtlety of watching drivers let others in to the flow of traffic as contributing to this idea of living in unity. It reminds me that there are so many simple ways we can do this daily. With all the violence and hate we are surrounded by in our world today, I think it is so important to take time to reflect on how we can live out the fruits of the Spirit you mentioned above in our lives and hopefully spread a little joy and kindness to those in our circle of influence. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to do this with your post!

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  17. Mr. Barnes,
    I think your idea and concept of creating a community among each other is a very noble idea. Our culture today is very self centered and self absorbed so the idea of community that helps one another is sometimes lost today. Most people do not think of the greater good, they are only focused on what’s good for themselves. If the students in your classes and the people who read your blog lead by example to foster a feeling of community among each other it is a huge step in the right direction. Thank you for your insight and for caring about your community.

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  18. Your example of teaching your Hispanic friends English is a way of giving back to the community. If there were more people who thought like you, the world would be much better off. Making a difference one day at a time with one person at a time just from being selfless, that is what our community needs!

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    1. I agree Sarah! “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
      ― Mother Teresa

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  19. This is amazing Mr.Barnes !!! I think it is very important that you are trying to teach others the importance of being a community. People will most definitely benefit from this .

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  20. There are so many parts to creating and being in a community. Many people see the superficial aspect of it and don’t care to take a closer look. You got those who only think of themselves thinking that its every man for themselves. Then you have other people who put others first because that is how they see their community becoming better. Your post explains many great examples that make people think of different situations in a community.

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  21. Well written and very interesting. This is a great topic that helps lead you to understand yourself and everyone else around in a much deeper way.

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  22. Community is very important to my family & I, so I really appreciate your post! Thank you for explaining and expressing community.

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  23. Great post barnes. Everyone who reads this will definitely benefit from it. Definitely going to share it with my family. Keep spreading positivity brother Barnes!

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  24. The society that we live in now a days are so greatly composed of self centered residents. I remember back when cell phones wasnt a major contributor and in order to interact you had to actually talk to one another without the use of cellphones. I love a giving community but depending on where your located its almost impossible. Great read though

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  25. I love the idea of community benefiting from each other and learning from one another. In today’s world people can be so concerned with themselves only as well as too stubborn to seek help from others. Every single person in the world can learn something from somebody else regardless of their differences. People can so easily be of service to one another if they make even the slightest effort!

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  26. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. our purpose should be to build each other up and to love unconditionally in spite of our differences.

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  27. I truly believe that when you are working within a community of like-minded people that the wisdom of crowds is considerably greater than any one person working alone. Our divergent world views and lenses mean that we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.

    Like

  28. Human beings were created to be in community with one another. The benefit of having mutually beneficial community cannot be overstated. One great thing the internet and social media platforms have done is expose our need for community more. However, we sometimes lose that community building skill in real life. This post is really thought provoking and makes me wonder where I can do better in my own communities. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. YES, I ABSOLUTELY agree about losing our community connections in person! Too often we get consumed with the convenience of communicating over cell phones/through social media, that when the time comes for us to authentically EXPERIENCE life in real-time, we are almost stunted, socially, to have the patience and listening skills to really establish genuine human connections with one another. Mindfulness/awareness has to be key to seeking that balance our social media lives with our real-time lives!

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  29. I really do love everything about this blog. I mean EVERYTHING!! We live in a world where everyone rather be negative instead of being positive..I pray more people see this blog.

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  30. In this modern world, where we are all hooked up to some electronic device, it might be difficult to look up and see if we are or belong in a certain community. A community is defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
    But if we look at our friends list on our social accounts and think about it, we must have something in common to have them set aside in that special category.
    In my personal opinion, we need to have more than an online community, we need to take some screen time off and get to know the people around us, show genuine interest, and start bringing our community together. If we have person to person interaction, it would be easier to put into works the qualities described above (the fruits of the spirit) we may not have them all, but setting a goal to work on one at a time will make us better human beings and we will add a positive contribution.

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  31. You have already changed the world for the good, by writing this blog. It only takes one person to do a simple thing to make something good. Look at the people that have already commented on your post. If they, which I think they have, in turn follow your lead then everything has become better. So, you have helped your community. Keep spreading the love!!!

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  32. The society now and especially my generation needs to take the time to read this. I feel they will actually benefit from this. It seem like the world today does not want to be apart of a “community.” It needs to be known a community can help each other grow.

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    1. So true! And now that we have everything on our phone its fairlly easy to seclude ourselves from everything around us. But from my own experience, when we take time to know the people that surround us, we make friendships and good memories. That’s an experience that our “social” networks can’t beat!

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  33. Are those the fruits of the spirit I see? I was saved around a year ago so seeing this post is truly awesome. I’m so thankful I had a professor with a heart for God and others as well.

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  34. I believe, and would hope, that if we cultivate and exhibit the attributes you listed … Love, Joy, Peace, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control; we wouldn’t have undue expectations. We would be accepting of all regardless of quirks, inconsistencies, flaws, backgrounds…etc. We would demonstrate those attributes within our own relationships, or community… whether family, friends, or romantic … regardless of what we receive in return. We should always have open arms in order to build our “community” and realize that sometimes just “being together” is enough….. It starts by spreading the love !

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      1. I would have to agree with Carolyn. You asked would could you do? I believe you have already answered that question. Treat people the way you want to be treated, helping others without having to be asked, give a simple smile, and most important always be true to yourself.

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    1. This post was very refreshing to read! In today’s world, that can tend to be filled with judgement and rejection, I think everyone can benefit from reading this. ‘Love thy neighbor as yourself.’

      Like

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