Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's a Community Thing

I was recently invited to be part of a group on Facebook. It’s a closed group and someone has to invite you to be a part of it. I’m now a member of several of these private groups. I am part of their ‘community’. It’s a community of people sharing a common interest or societal definition (i.e., certain high school or place). We look out for each other. We post information that we might find helpful. It’s a group engaged in a common thread or interest. As humans, we are social creatures and want to belong to someone or something. Belonging to a community such as this helps us feel that we have a place to be.

So it is with taekwondo. We share a common interest. We spend a good portion of our daily activities intertwined with each other. We look out for each other. We are a community. Is this why the Tiger Rock organization thinks the word ‘community’ is important enough to put in the list of tenets that are recited during each class? This is one reason. We should want to belong to a group that has our best interests at heart, but we should also want to expand our community. If you were to Google any group or organization and pull up their website, you will see a link somewhere on the page asking you to join, or be a part of their group, either through volunteering, making a donation or becoming an employee of the company. They want you to belong. They want to expand who is in their community. That is exactly what we should do as martial artists. Expand our community. The question is, how?

Set an example in and out of the academy. Your friends, family, teachers, and fellow students should see your confidence when you greet someone new in your school. They should see your courage when you help out someone in need and stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves. They should see your integrity when you have a chance to cheat but you don’t, taking instead the lower grade. But with honest effort, you do better next time. They see you being courteous when you ask how you can help someone in need even when you will not gain anything of material value from it. Notice I said “material value”. You may find a lost wallet with hundreds of dollars in it. You find its owner and turn it in with all the money inside. They may be grateful but not offer you a reward. Should this deter you from helping out again? No. Community means helping even when the only rewards are the feeling you get from helping someone in need. You are expanding your community each time you reach out. Others will see the effort you put forth and want to belong to something so amazing. They join you in your efforts. You have now expanded your community and your community will be that much stronger and more alive.

Community is belonging to something great. Community is helping others when no reward is given.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this, Jean. One of the reasons our kids' school has been so great for them is that it truly functions as a community, both within and outside of those four walls.

    Being in a community - whether big of small - is a special thing. What I especially love is that, if it's a good community, leaving it doesn't mean goodbye - it just means we'll be interacting a little differently.