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Real Community in 2017

There has been a trend of late to shorten the traditional New Year’s resolutions into a single word—one word to define your year, to help you frame it or give you a goal to work toward. It could be something like “hope”, “courage”, or “adventure”.

If I had a word to frame 2017, it would be “community”. A lot of the things we have taken for granted in the settled order of things seem to have been shaken. There is always a great irony that community is the thread that binds us together as humans. Yet it’s the thing we seem to lack the most.

We’ve certainly been thinking a lot about what community means this past year. November marked our 9th year as homeowners in Tennessee, in an older suburb that is somewhat looked down upon (as less well-off and well-development) by the larger city around us. In spite of that, it’s been a great place to live and raise our family.

We would like to see our town’s image change, but it’s been hard for us to get connected beyond our immediate neighborhood. We didn’t grow up here, neither of us have worked at local businesses, and most of our social outlets are located in other parts of the metro area or in our home, including school.

When our children were little we pushed the stroller up and down our street a lot, but as our children have gotten older and more numerous, our vehicle for chatting with the neighbors has diminished somewhat. So we find ourselves asking how we can start building or rebuilding relationships here in our city. In 2017 we are excited about making commitments to help get to know our town better through activities our children can be involved in.

Part of what we’ve come to realize is that “community” never happens without simply and patiently “being there.” It’s only through consistent presence that we walk with our neighbors through shared hardships and joys. Only by always showing up that we earn the trust to really get into deep, meaningful relationships with others.

In India there's a saying - a true friend is the one who shows up when hardship hits your home.

Knowing that community is the heartbeat of Dekko encourages us. They are doing in India what we seek to do here in Tennessee—building relationships to empower families and strengthen their communities. Every piece of clothing, jewelry, or décor that you get from Dekko is a little window into the extended family of our artisans, partners, and distributors.

What about you? How have you seen your community grow or been a part of developing deeper relationships in your neighborhood or through your business? Tell us your stories through comments, or on Facebook or Instagram .

Photo credit: Brady Black

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