Ok, now that you’ve got connecting with your family down to a joyful science, it’s time to think bigger! Who are you in your community? How do the people in your church, at school, in Girl Scouts, on the swim team, and even at your favorite restaurants view you? Taking time to consider and be intentional about your community will help your family create a sense of belonging.
Learn people’s names. Maybe this seems obvious, but have you ever had the same checker at Publix 6 times in a row before you realized you didn’t know their name? If you recognize their face, it would be nice to know their name. And it’s ok to ask again, if you forget! Learn the names of your mail carrier, the best bartender at your favorite late night spot, that waitress who always brings extra crayons for your kids, and the teen assistants in dance class. We all like to be noticed, and wouldn’t it be cool to be greeted by name next time – for both of you?
Become a regular. I grew up in a small town, so you really didn’t have a choice but to be a regular! When I moved to Sarasota, I loved to try new things and find all the great places around town. However, I found that I missed that feeling of the barista starting to make my tea before I even got to the counter. So, after doing a lot of trying fun new places, I found my favorite and became a regular. I often order the same thing, and I feel like the owner is my friend. I care about this place, as part of my community, so I go in more often when I know it’s the slow season and share their post on my social media to get the word out.
Shop local. Again, this could seem like a painfully obvious suggestion, but it’s definitely worth noting. Find those small businesses, owned by your neighbors, and support them! As a small business owner myself, I can promise you that their money goes back into the community to make it better and stronger. Your purchase or support makes an actual person happy, and it will make you feel good too!
Act like someone who loves your city. If all of the above sound like a lot of work, why not just work on your own mindset? As you go about your day, imagine you are someone who loves this place – how would they act? You would pick up trash more often, or enjoy the sites a bit more, or gives recommendations about your favorite spots. Sometimes you gotta fake it ‘til you make it!
What are some ways you like to connect with your community? Have you tried any of the tips above and noticed a difference? What makes you feel like you’re part of a community?
Originally featured on Kivity.com 2/8/2022