The power of community

November 5, 2013

Community can be a very powerful thing, and we may not appreciate it until we actually give some thought to the communities to which we belong. During this season of thankfulness and giving, be mindful of your community, and be grateful.

It’s the time of year when people think about what they’re thankful for. During the month of November, some people are posting each day on Facebook one thing that they’re grateful for. I’ll spare you 30 of them and stick with one.

I’m thankful for community.

In my use of the word, I’m going with dictionary.com’s third defintion: a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.

Traditionally, community has meant the locale in which you live. But it can be so much more than that. Community can be virtual, such as the ODs on Facebook group or an online parenting messaging forum. It can be your small group of friends or a big group with which you feel affinity, such as Tea Party Republicans or fellow Burning Man attendees.

I’m grateful for many communities: my family, of course, both my husband and daughter, and the wider group of us, including my second cousin who is living in Rio de Janeiro. I also have experienced wonderful communities at both of my daughter’s schools. The concept of community is front and center there, and it’s amazing to see it in action. I’m definitely going to miss the Abington Friends School community once she goes to college in 2 short years.

Professionally, I’m grateful for the optometric community at large, including our readers. I really enjoy hanging out with you guys! Narrowing it down a bit, I feel community with the contact lens folks because I spent so much time with them during my career. I also love the community of Women of Vision. I’m adding a new community in my professional life: that of the Public Health and Environmental Vision Section of the American Academy of Optometry. I qualified as a candidate for Diplomate a few weeks ago in Seattle.

Community can be a very powerful thing, and we may not appreciate it until we actually give some thought to the communities to which we belong. During this season of thankfulness and giving, be mindful of your community, and be grateful.ODT