Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Doing Life Together

My oldest son asked me the other day if we could fill our house up with 50 or 100 or 1,000 kids. It's a great question. Many years ago, large families lived in much smaller houses than what my 4-person family lives in today. We welcome guests and extended family, but my oldest obviously has a very outgoing personality and would love to have friends over everyday or more people in our house on a regular basis.

We're at that point where we're wondering what to do with the many blessings that God has brought to us since moving to North Carolina. We have a much larger home, but does that mean we should be having more children of our own, or trying again to become a certified foster home, or something completely different (although the home is larger, there are still only 3 official bedrooms, so these options would likely be mutually exclusive).

The biggest challenge that I find today, is that people aren't used to doing life together. We can find a bit of community in our neighborhood or church, but it was a little surprising still to hear that a fellow mom shares homeschooling with one of her friends from co-op (really it's more that they just take turns visiting each other's house two days a week and homeschool side-by-side, so it's not as complicated as it sounds). The rest of us were really interested in that concept, but it seemed like it would be hard to find another family that had the same interests/ideas about education and kids of a similar age. But, in reality, any family could do that with any other family, we're just so used to being our own little units that we forgot how to do life together.

Many years ago, people lived in villages. They knew each other, and in most cases, helped each other. If the blacksmith or baker or butcher went out of business, there may not be another trained citizen to take over those duties. So, if childcare was needed, or a baby needed milk, or a husband unexpectedly died, the community came together and helped that person, because they were known at a very deep level.

In today's age, when many of us barely know our neighbor's names or scour the Internet to find a friend "just like us" maybe we need to take a page from history. Find a friend unlike you, find someone who needs you and be of service. Find someone who wants what you want and compromise to work it out together. In today's over connected and socially disconnected age, maybe what we need is a little more together time. 

Rather than waiting for the "perfect" homeschool family to cross paths with you, find the close enough family. Rather than waiting for the perfect neighbor to move in "someday" be the best neighbor you can be today, even to the difficult ones. Rather than waiting for the perfect age of your children, spend time with them today, because they will never be this exact age again. Rather than waiting for the perfect significant other, spend some time caring for the one you're with.

Maybe we'll all find that it wasn't society that needed to change after all, it was just you and me.

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