by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Artist: Susan Donati
Artist: Susan Donati

Living in a small community is being part of a family. As in a family the different members of a community are bound by common threads.

For Sarason, psychological sense of community is “the perception of similarity to others, an acknowledged interdependence with others, a willingness to maintain this interdependence by giving to or doing for others what one expects from them, and the feeling that one is part of a larger dependable and stable structure” (1974, p. 157).

McMillan & Chavis (1986) define sense of community as “a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together.”

The community is at times shirty.  We haven’t always the courtesy to live up to the small-town repute of treating one another with civility.  The fact that we are aware of isolated aloofness is evidence of a yearning – we prefer to get along. Unlike urban indifference there is no escaping the icy temperatures; we are touched by the members of our community. It is central to keep the members of the community together.  Mutual support is uplifting and advances the interests of one another.  If we don’t do it, it isn’t likely that anyone else will.

Community relationships transcend boundaries.  People of every description mix with one another.  It is nothing to be on a first-name basis with others in the community.

The history of the community is rhapsodized.  The community imparts its conglomerate features to the individuals within it.  We derive our character from the community influenced by the people in it.  Land, buildings and people complement one another.

We get to know one another.  We get to know the children and grandchildren of one another.  We share and feel the accomplishments and losses of our community.  We have the opportunity to render ourselves useful to the community, to use our particular talents to good purpose, to share our resources, to make a difference.