We owe it to ourselves and to our children to develop a connection with our community. Become involved and step outside of our own selfish needs and wants, if only for a few hours a month. Not only is this extremely gratifying, it will make you a better person.
One day as I was delivering a workshop to help transitioning job seekers understand how to spread the word that they were seeking employment, I asked the question "Who do you know"? I asked them to begin writing down the names of people that they could talk to. One man was staring at me so I asked him if he had a question. With anger in his voice he told me that he lived in the country; his closest neighbor was a mile down the road. He continued by saying his only family was his mother who lived in a retirement home. He also declared that he did not keepin touch with his co-workers. He denied that any of these people could help him anyway.
I tell this one story as an example of the hundreds of similar excuses I have heard as to why people can't talk to anyone- they don't know anyone. (Yes, there is another underlying issue here, fear. I won't tackle that now.)
I grew up in a magical neighborhood of families with children. We ranged in age from 2 to 20. In the summer, we would all play flashlight tag in a barn for hours. In the fall, we would wait at the bus stop together. In winter, we would sled or ice skate en-masse. I grew up expecting that is the way it should be.
My parents were active in the community. We belonged to church and I sang in the church choir. We stayed at the after-service coffee hour much longer than I would have liked. My mom volunteered with numerous organizations.
We could continue to pull inside our garages and never step foot on the front porch to meet our neighbors (oh, you don't have one…funny, I guess they stopped putting those on houses when our society felt they were no longer important). We could continue to lead insular and isolated lives. We could continue to accumulate stuff to fulfill our needs. But, I believe that would be a huge mistake. This world is small and getting smaller and flatter. Interpersonal relationships are the crux of how we will develop and compete.
So set the example, let your families know, school is about getting good grades AND more.
Force them to join an activity
- Volunteer with them
- Enjoy your community
- Lead by example
Our teens and society are Narcissistic, help them to understand how they fit in the bigger picture.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.