Be a part of something
By Chris Lundstrom
We are all so lucky to live in this community. I’m not just talking about Edna, I mean the entire county. When your county has less than 15,000 people, I think your circle of acquaintances and family is larger than bigger counties because everyone is usually related.
Have you ever heard of six degrees of separation? It’s the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of “friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. You should try it sometime. I think you will be surprised.
Anyway, in Jackson County we are probably only separated by three degrees of separation, and that is even better. And better yet, there are so many ways we can connect with each other and make our community better. The easiest way is just being nice to each other, especially on social media. Think before you hit send and pretend the person is sitting in front of you. Would you really say that to them? Is it worth losing a friendship to share that post that criticizes someone or something? Emotions get out of control pretty quickly and it never ends well – for anyone. If you went to HEB after posting something even remotely mean and that person doesn’t make eye contact with you, that’s probably why. Is that really how we want to act? I hope not.
The other side of this is to not always look for a reason to be offended. There, I said it. That stinking “o” word. Stop reading meanings into what people say. If you aren’t looking to be offended, most times you won’t be and your life will be happier, I promise.
One thing that binds a community together is our relationship with each other. Those relationships are developed by our shared experiences. That doesn’t happen by sitting at home by ourselves. There are so many ways to become involved in this community and many of them require very little time but big rewards.
We have lots of clubs and organizations that are fun to be a part of. (Notice the word is a part, meaning joined together, not apart which means separated). Over the next few weeks we are going to write articles about these clubs so you can know more about them and how to join if you are interested. I bet every one of these organizations would love new members and it will help you meet new people.
If joining a club isn’t your thing or is too much of a commitment, how about just volunteering? There are lots of ways to do that and I’ve found I always have fun and get satisfaction from doing something to help others. You could give some time to Helping Hands. They need a bookkeeper now and if you are good with numbers, it would be a great way to spend a few hours a week. The senior citizen center is always looking for someone to play the piano, teach a craft, call Bingo, or help in lots of different ways to enrich the lives of our precious senior citizens. They are intelligent people with lots of interesting stories to tell.
Churches have many opportunities to help, such as teaching Sunday School or VBS, sing in the choir, help clean – I’m sure you just need to ask someone and they will direct you. Schools also can use volunteers. They always need help in concession stands during sports activities and the local PTO’s are very active. The Jackson County Memorial Library has opportunities for volunteers to read to kids and there is nothing better than sharing a book with a child. If sports are your thing, you can always help coach a team or sell nachos. Just ask someone in the organization and they will find something for you to do to help.
Have I piqued your interest yet? Because there is more! Edna and Ganado both have activities at Christmas and more help would mean they would be better than ever! Imagine what we can do! There is also the Chamber of Commerce, local volunteer fire departments and Boy and Girl Scouts. Oh yeah, and 4-H. That’s an awesome organization and it sure helps grow good kids. I know I am missing some but you surely must get the point by now. Every one of these groups does good things, and being part of it helps connect you to others in our community.
Let’s not wait until a catastrophe strikes to work together. Each one of you needs to do ONE thing. Whenever I hear someone complain that the towns don’t have anything to offer I want to shout “what are you doing to help?” Let’s plan some fun and all work together to make it happen. The City of Edna’s recent Community Block Party was a great success and it looked like everyone had a good time. City employees planned that on top of their regular responsibilities. It’s the same with other things such as Chili Spill at Brackenridge Park. They have employees to help with those events, but they sure can use volunteers. Did you ever volunteer to judge chili? That’s so much fun! Just ask how you can help! The Ganado Farmers Market is another example of volunteering gone wild. Robin Donalson does a great job to keep that market going and she would probably love some help.
I’m going to put this challenge out to each of you. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, (well, it does if you are a baby, but you know what I mean). There is something out there you can do for your community. When we know each other, it’s a lot harder to be mean to each other. At least I hope so. Do it for me. No, do it for yourself and your kids. Teach them that it is better to give than receive and we all need to pitch in to make everyone’s life better. You can do it!