January 15, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2005
Postings Wednesdays and weekends

Building Community Through Shared Memories...

"So," a friend asked me after reading last Sunday's posting, "since you're talking about "shared memories" as a working definition for "community," what's the difference between a shared experience and shared memories?" What a great question!

To me, a shared experience means people and a commonality: perhaps in the same place, perhaps at the same time, perhaps doing the same thing, perhaps even interacting. But, I think a shared memory goes a step further and includes the concept of connecting.

Beyond a purely personal sense, think about the explosion of the shuttle Challenger. What takes that from shared experience to shared memory is the ways in which we connected at the time, and how we continue to connect through memories of the event whenever it comes up. The same is true of other "cohort" experiences that cross all socioeconomic considerations, events that we as a people have lived through together - for an older generation Pearl Harbor, for baby boomers the assassination of JFK, and most recently for all of us, 911. For many, these shared memories provide a powerful sense of community.

But how about our daily lives, often rushed, filled with unending demands on our time and energy, demands that make maintaining familyships and friendships a challenge. We need to make memories, share memories, treasure memories, and of course reinforce them. But, HOW?

Making memories would seem easy, but keeping-in-touch has come increasingly to depend on email, the telephone and other, well... not-really-shared togetherness. So, first off, we need to re-commit to actually seeing people, getting together. And, that's never as easy as it sounds, is it? I cannot believe what it took a few weeks ago to "negotiate" a date for dinner with two other couples!!

So, think about it... with whom would you like to strenghten your connection, your sense of community?? Someone in the family, a group you've lost track of, a few old friends you realize you miss? Now that the "who" is firmly in mind, how about the "what?" Something as simple as a walk, a few games of cards, working together on a small project? Okay, got an idea? Good! Now... the biggie... WHEN?

Let's check in next week and see what we've both come up with. Then we can look at wonderful ways to build on this, or to use it to re-connect... Community is so very valuable and so well worth a little time and thought. Don't you think??

See you Wednesday! Mary

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