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Recently, my community suffered a significant loss. A beloved local teacher lost his fight with cancer, and the entire town mourned. You’d barely be able to find a family his kindness and warmth didn’t touch. He taught tech-ed for many years, and he always managed to engage and empower his students — even those who weren’t particularly into the subject matter.
His loss was a deep one for the community, but there was a bright spot. His family received an outpouring of support and love that buoyed them in the hard times following his death.
This teacher’s passing is one example of why being part of a tight-knit community is so important. Community upholds you in the tough times and cheers you on in the good times. It’s particularly vital for people like parents and those who are caring for someone ill. These caregivers often pull great strength from their community in a few different ways.
Children as Pint-Sized Mood-Boosters
Every community includes children, and sometimes, these small-but-mighty members are pillars of the community, in a way. Kids that are well cared for usually wake up in an innate state of happiness each day.
A child’s natural tendency toward happiness is a big asset to the community. When adults get bogged down by the weight of a situation or the responsibilities of living in the grown-up world, a child chasing around bubbles or singing a song can instantly inspire a smile.
Strength in Solidarity
If you or someone you know is a caregiver, particularly for an older adult or someone suffering from illness, you know social support is imperative for caregivers. Putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own and watching them deteriorate is a grueling act of love and kindness.
When caregivers share their stories, even if they’re sometimes rather bleak, they remind other caregivers they’re not alone. In fact, some websites exist entirely to connect caregivers in a community in this way.
Building Community Through Social Media
Social media is an easy way to stay in touch with your community if you’re a caregiver, parent or anyone else who needs support. It’s particularly helpful because it’s easy — you don’t even have to leave the house to engage with other members of your community.
And while standard social media sites like Facebook offer groups you can join to connect with other people in similar situations, some social media platforms focus on caregivers exclusively. For instance, the Caregiver Action Network allows you to share your inspiring story, listen to those of others and enjoy some uplifting from motivational speakers.
When tragedy strikes, you might be tempted to curl up in a ball and hide from the world. But if the passing of our beloved local teacher has taught me anything, it’s that you should do the exact opposite.
When you reach out to the community in times of trouble — or even in times of victory — you’ll always receive an outpouring of support, often from people who understand exactly what you’re experiencing.
Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.