A Community is More than a Zip Code
A community may be viewed as a point on the map—yet it is more than just a place on a map.
A community may be measured by its latest census count—yet is more than just the number of people.
A community may be known for a function it serves—yet it exists for more than just that purpose.
A community is all three. A functioning community brings together people, place, and purpose.
Richard Leider pointed out in The Power of Purpose that life is good when we can manage to have the Three Ps of our lives align with one another: People, Place, and Purpose. His book with David Shapiro, Repacking Your Bags, states the good life is “living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work, on purpose.”
Those three Ps, also, help us understand interlocking issues affecting a community’s health and wellbeing.
My latest community service sees me sitting on a community council examining such topics with our ultimate responsibility to offer recommendations for further exploration and action as needed. As my fellow council members and I have examined the initial list of potential topics, Leider and Shapiro’s work came to my mind.
No matter what topic is addressed, the intersection of the Three Ps is evident. For instance, when learning about community assets that address “Senior Programming,” we heard about
§ Food insecurity
§ Resource Centers
§ Health programs
Each topic connects with another topic. It is difficult, for example, to focus on mentoring if one doesn’t know when or where the next meal will be—or where the table will be for that meal.
Consider your community’s assets and needs. Consider the interlocking nature of the people, place, and purpose your community attempts to serve. A functioning community is more than one event, initiative, or policy priority.
And it is so much more than a zip code.
How about your community?
[Previously published on The Growth and Resilience Network®. April 24, 2022]
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I invested 33-fulfilling years of my life as a classroom teacher. Starting with 7th-grade students and ending with college students. Along the way, I have written thirteen (published) books, written and recorded two music CDs, have written an upbeat blog since May of 2010, produced a monthly podcast channel (for five years), and created original videos for my YouTube channel (for more than a decade). I have had the pleasure and honor to deliver keynote talks and workshop facilitations in every region of the United States. I recently completed the manuscript for my first novel and am currently seeking representation for that work. I am working on a new book about wisdom.
My canine companion, Roxie, and I have become a certified pet therapy team and visit our community hospital, local schools, hospice, and the Jacksonville International Airport. Roxie, by the way, released her first book in 2020. I did the typing.
Why do I do what I do? Conversation (true dialogue) has become a lost art. Collective monologues have taken center stage. Authentic questions about the person in front of us have given way to either diatribes or inarticulate silence. I believe to build community we must have meaningful, at times difficult, and yet respectful conversations about people, places, and purpose. Before we can do that, we must see the person in front of us.