Community is a powerful thing, and as you may have read in our previous blogs, spending time in communities and working alongside each other, challenges us to think about and consider those around us and the relationships that we have with others.
It was only recently whilst visiting a local parent toddler group that I had a thought just how important building and nurturing the relationships we have is.
As I looked across a room filled with toddlers all consumed by various toys and activities, I spotted in one corner a ball pool filled with little plastic balls of varying colours. Some of the balls had escaped and were rolling off in various directions. The ball pool itself had managed to collect an assortment of other items which stuck out from under the balls, a toy car, some building blocks and even a cushion. But it made me think how much like those little spherical plastic balls we are. How our lives are made up of spheres and that in our own sphere we are surrounded by others who we share relationship with and connect with.
We may have a small sphere of just close family, we may have a larger sphere of friends, people we know from groups we are part of, our neighbours, our work colleagues. However, despite how small or large we feel our sphere is, around us there are people who make up our world, people who we are connected to, who make up our community and it’s the Ball Pool, the community that brings us together, that brings our spheres, our worlds together. We may do some things differently, there may be a building block or toy car that brings up a challenge or two, some people may feel on the outskirts but together we make our communities work, together we make our communities thrive.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to be part of a Podsmead Family Fun day, a brilliant day which saw many people in the community come together just to celebrate who they were and all that they had to offer. Hot Caribbean food was on offer, face painting, Dance and Music acts even a Dominoes tournament. It was a celebration of everybody’s spheres coming together, which saw many new connections and friendships made that will now echo into the future of the community.
(Podsmead Dance Crew at the Fun Day.)
However, It was a second thought that challenged me as I looked at the Ball Pool. What happens to the balls that continue to be spilled outside of the pool? The balls that manage to slip away unseen, knocked across the room by little feet? The questions I asked myself were, where am I in this picture? Am I part of my community? Do I share what I have to offer as much as I could? Or sometimes have I somehow slipped away unnoticed? Have I excluded others without even realising? How can I bring others into the pool with me? How can I involve and inspire the other balls that have found themselves outside of the pool?
As is the nature of community building, I am still discovering the answers to my questions. However, What I did learn from the fun day, was that no matter what I have to offer. There is plenty of space in the pool to bring my sphere.