Hamilton, New Zealand, March 13, 2017
Family and Community two most important aspects in everyone’s life.
I believe that the health of our nation is directly linked to how strong we are in these two areas.
Poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Sadly, it is easy to gravitate towards independence without stopping to think about the negative, social side-effects.
With the advent of the social media, we are often closer to someone on the other side of the world than our next-door neighbours.
As a child, I remember haymaking season on the farm.
Families would work together, moving from one farm to another.
Everyone helped, knowing that their survival depended on a strong community network.
The frozen world
My Grandma, who recently passed away at the age of 87, used to talk about life prior to refrigeration, where farmers would take turns killing an animal and sharing it among their neighbours.
After a successful fishing trip, Grandad would hang a fish on the gate of each neighbour on his way home. However, when freezers arrived, people gradually started putting all their food in their own freezer.
Technology allows us the opportunity to ‘look after ourselves,’ but we must remember to maintain our community links, knowing that we are at our strongest when we support each other. Society is not just an aggregate of individuals, it is a collective group; we are all intrinsically linked.
Let us spare a thought for those experiencing a challenging situation. I recently read a thought-provoking quote: “I would like to ask God why He allows loneliness and suffering in the world when He could do something about it. But I fear He would ask me the same question.”
My wife and I enjoy attending various local events.
They provide a feeling of togetherness, and it is wonderful seeing our children interact with other children. As parents and grandparents, we must model a sense of community to our young ones.
I recently noticed a bench seat in front of the playground at our local school, Hukanui Primary. I was told that is it is a ‘Friendship Seat.’
Children who are feeling lonely sit on the seat, and others, upon seeing them, invite them to play.
We must value and cultivate strong family and community bonds, knowing that at some point in our lives each one of us may very well find ourselves sitting on the Friendship Seat.
Jamie Strange is a teacher at the Berkley Middle School, Hamilton and Labour Party’s Candidate in Hamilton East in the forthcoming general election on September 23, 2017.