When most people talk about community, they think of a location, an area in which people live. By definition “community” is a group of people living in the same location and under the same government. Community can also be defined as a group of people with the same common interests or segments in society. However, these definitions, which can be found in any dictionary, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to explaining what community really is. Community is the memories and traditions of a certain area, as well as the interactions and responsibilities of its members. In order to truly belong to a community people must follow a set of values. These communal values are needed to provide stability among communities in this ever changing world. In the past ten years, with the advent of the internet and many other forms of communication, communities have become less interactive and isolated. In this paper I will be discussing the purpose of communal values and why they should be protected.
Having a sense of belonging within a community is very important. Many people who have moved since childhood will always remember where they grew up. It is the memories and history they have there that will always make it home. In the play The Piano Lesson, the author shows the conflict between Boy Willie and his sister Berniece both of whom are African American. The conflict of the story centers on gaining a sense of belonging from one’s past. Boy Willie wishes to buy the land where his ancestors were slaves. In doing this Boy Willie must sell an antique piano which has been in his family for generations. Berniece wishes to hold on to the antique piano because it holds the history of their family in its unique carvings. In Boy Willie’s mind, gaining the piece of land would make his life meaningful and give him a sense of belonging. This story shows how the powerful bonds of memories and history are enough to create conflict between even the closest individuals. However, sense of belonging in a community does not require the history and memories of a place. People can gain a sense of belonging from simple but meaningful acts within the community. In Scott Russell Sanders’s essay on community, he explains how simple acts such as making bread with his daughter and children from the neighborhood gives him a sense of belonging and hope. Communal interaction is necessary on many levels. Not only does it create a friendly atmosphere, it is necessary for communities to fix their problems. Many times it is the responsibility of the community to speak out about problems. Communities are “the only effective power that can limit consumption, pollution, and the degradation of nature” (Ehrenfeld 21). A program such as Neighborhood Watch is a good example of people coming together on a community level to fix and prevent problems.
Another aspect of good community, which can be seen in farm communities, is the idea of stewardship and treatment of...