I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
For some strange reason, the topic of community came up at 3 different times, with 3 different groups of people on 3 different parts of community last week. While I often talk about the different communities that I belong to, I was really dumbfounded about the recurrent theme last week.
The first time it came up was because of changes to a specific community. In this case, it was a change that was going to eventually happen, it just came about a lot sooner rather than later. I know that change is difficult, but it is how we cope with this change that determines the success or failure that we feel. I believe that if we go into it with open eyes, there is a very good chance that we will come to appreciate the change.
The next conversation was making people feel a part of a community. All too often, we do not always give people a chance at belonging to a community. In some instances, being put into a community is not always by choice. Being a part of the disability community was the farthest thing from my mind growing up. But here I am. How we treat people within a particular community is what makes a welcoming community. While we may not agree with their political or relgious beliefs, they all should be welcomed into their own community.
The final conversation had to do with people within our communities that we may not even realize exist. They can be our neighbors, people we see at the store or at church. People we see walking down the street. We may see people so many times that we know them by sight, maybe say hello or give a nod, but we really do not know anything about them. What do they do for a living, where are they from. It was only in the last 5 or 6 years that a neighbor was from the same area of Indiana I grew up in. The family had a brother that was one of my High School teachers.
In the last couple of weeks there have been many comments from residents about our community Am I happy with everything that happens in my community, no I am not. Are there things that I would like to see change, I sure do. But you know what, there are parts of my community that I would not change.
The warm and welcome feeling that we received when we first started attending Nativity of the Lord Church a couple of years ago. This was especially great when the kids became active in the Sunday Mass as readers and altar servers. The acceptance of my entire family has been overwhelming at times.
The Cudahy St Francis Little Baseball Association. This has been a great experience for all of my family. We have met a lot of great people. My kids have made some great friends. They took a chance on starting a Challenger Baseball Division. It has grown from about 8 the first year to close to 25 now going on its 6th season.
The Cudahy Schools, yes we are very active in all of our kids educations. Each teacher that we have worked with has ensured that our kids are challenged every day. They have allowed them to establish their own identity. I have no greater feeling then to go to school and a kid comes up and says, hey aren't you Tyler or Madi or Spencer's dad. I believe it is because of the environment that they are in that this is possible.
These are just 3 example of things I would not change. I am sure that each and every one of us has a reason that we continue to part of a particular community. It could be the community we live in, worship in, work in or play in. I am sure that if we were so unhappy about the community we would look for a new community to belong to. But making that change can be difficult because we have grown safe in the community that we are in now.
I think that there are 2 parts to ones successful communities. First, how much do you want to put into it. How much are willing to give to make the communty successful. The second part is allowing people, especially new people, into a community. If somebody does not feel welcome, you will never know what you may be missing out on.