No commute today, just window gazing.

I didn’t have my normal 1-2 hours in the car this morning or afternoon due to a sore throat that hit me like a freight train overnight and prompted me to call in sick to rest and recover.

However, regardless of my lack of commute, I didn’t stop thinking about this blog and posting an idea to share with the handful of people who read this.

I’ve spent the majority of the day looking out the window and watching an Animal Planet show about the Arizona Humane Society. The show focuses on how dogs, cats, and just about any domesticated animal on the streets or neglectful homes are rescued (or not in one case) and treated to be adopted.

An interesting mix of activities that resulted in the following idea; what if communities went back to a more “tribal” layout/structure?

Now, I’m not a pro nor have I done any formal research behind this “tribal” community – I am going solely based off of the few things I have read and, honestly, some of the movies I’ve seen.

In this type of community, I imagine something of a “web” if you were looking at it from above. There is the center, the main place, the hub and from there a spider-web of paths/streets and homes.

The tribal community has a spiritual elder or some form of “alpha” male/female/couple that is sought after for approval, advice, and decision-making. That is not the structure I am going for, I am going more along the lines of “it takes a village to raise a child” type philosophy.

What happened to these small villages? These small, tight-knit, block-party throwing, lawn-mower sharing, car-pooling utopias? @Rkaplan13 and I often debate this and she believes that the downfall was the invention of garages. This allowed people to pull their car right into their homes, avoiding all contact that happened when walking from car to front door (and vice versa). I tend to agree.

My idea is having a community center that serves as a number of things. An athletic center, a library, a kitchen, a kennel, a garden, and a classroom – all in one spot. This structure would encourage a shared space for the community to meet, greet, and interact with each other.

An athletic center for coaches to teach the community teamwork, communication, perseverance, encouragement, and hardwork.

A library for members to remember that Google doesn’t have all the answers. To remind them that group work once happened around a table and not in a virtual world. And to share stories and read aloud to the younger members of the community and the elders because nothing beats reading a story with voices acted out and pictures to be shown.

A kitchen because it seems to be that in economic crisis, community needs to support one another and there is no better way to do that then to host potlucks for the community. Each household brings a dish and then you have a huge community dinner, once a month (or once a week for smaller communities). Also, cooking is one of the most memorable experiences that young people need to take part in. Tell me you don’t have a fond memory of making cookies with Grandma or having Dad show you how to flip a pancake…almost everyone does!

A kennel because if a household cannot care for the animal they thought they could, why should they have to give it up? Why not have the community take on the responsibility and share in the care for the animal. This also would provide the community with a volunteer opportunity that is right in the neighborhood. Who wouldn’t want to hire a young teenager who has volunteered and help run a kennel/shelter for a number of years? Working with animals requires patience, a positive attitude, and big lessons in responsibility. I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from lessons in any of those areas.

A garden because it will bring the community together and share in the harvest. Growing your own spices, vegetables, and fruits to share with those around you will lead to growing friendships and a strong community bond. It also takes hardwork and a bit of skill – a skill that could prove to be useful in saving money in the future.

A classroom. Let’s face, what community couldn’t use a classroom to share ideas, give talks, provide workshops, and foster learning. If given the opportunity, or asked, how many people in your community have skills, hobbies, or professions that you would love to hear more and learn more about. I’m willing to bet quite a few.

That’s the idea for the day. Bring the community support back to the community. Create a venue where people can gather, share, learn, and grow all within walking distance or a short ride down the road from their homes.

Again, if I am mayor one day of a small town, this will happen (or atleast I’d try to make it happen).

Rock on and thanks for reading,
Joe

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