Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Community

I'm probably going to title half my posts "community" from now until at least July when I get more acclimatized.
I was about to title this one something really self-important like "The Marks of True Community" or some generalization about urban/rural life in GENERAL but I realized that would be, ahem, self-important of me. Really all I'm trying to do is make an observation. The object of said observation is how community functions in different places, and how what I'm experiencing here is different from other places such as the town of NYC where I got most of my life's experiencing in.
RIGHT.
QUALIFICATIONS ASIDE.
Intergenerational interactions happen here. There, I said it, in all its generalizing glory, and with all the associated implications: the backdrop is that in my urban NYC world no one interacted across the rigid boundaries of age. In fact, I remember when it was a big deal that tenth graders talked to twelfth graders. It meant we were really, really getting mature and transcending our childishness.
Here, on the other hand -- I've noticed -- children know how to talk to adults. For one, I have a six-year old committee member on Worship Team who contributes meaningfully to the planning process. And as for conversational interaction, I got engaged by a - what, a ten year old, maybe? - yesterday on the topic of "so, what countries are you interested in?" and taken aback I started talking about Africa and he happily chirped away on Asian countries he found fascinating (and why they're so interesting, and did I know such and such about them?). THAT IS SOME MAD GOOD ADULT CONVERSATION SKILL THERE. I got seriously surprised later on when the typical age-appropriate bickering set in for a few minutes, because I forgot we weren't all adults.
I really don't think this kind of interaction happened back in my little NYC world. And for serious, back in my day, I am sure that teenagers existed in our own parallel universe and barely looked at anyone else that wasn't a teacher or a frustrated parent. I guess that's harder to do when there are fewer of you around to establish a counter-culture. Or maybe
Anyway, folks, I like this. I might even proclaim it a Mark of True Community someday when I'm being less careful about qualifications.

2 comments:

  1. This intergenerational thing is going to be a challenge in the ministry position I'm applying to in the fall.

    One question your post raised for me, though, was what about your Morris community? For me, in my city, the Morris community is a haven of intergenerational interaction. In fact, I brought it up in my pre-interview for this ministry position and the pastor said "that sounds like utopia".

    I have some other patriarchy-related thoughts about talking to kids like they're people, but... maybe I have been planning to put them in the ole blog. I'll get back to you.

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  2. DUDE. yes. morris is utopia, and it's just unfortunate that we can't live there all the time.
    right. when i was blustering about qualifications, i meant "but i've seen exceptions" and you nailed one. Also, Uganda had no such problem of noncommunication (but had others, notably having children KNEEL to all elders, which is definitely, well, if not patriarchy, some kind of cruelarchy).
    i eagerly anticipate more bloggage from you.

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