Friday, November 25, 2016

Building community

It comes as no surprise to hear that we humans are a social species. And to those who are paying attention, it is also no surprise that these days many people isolate and experience a lack of community.

A new book by Sebastian Junger titled Tribe zeroes in on returning veterans and then broadens the view to point out how we're all losing our sense of community. In this book he talks about how returning veterans miss the close bonds they had in platoon life once they return home. This makes the transition home extremely difficult. They already have seen, heard and experienced things that none of the rest of us can understand. But because their very lives depended on each other while they served, they developed an intimate bond, which they miss on their return home. What they find when they return is a lack of community and a real disconnect.

My take on all this is that we surely can have a national conversation on how to regain a sense of community and how to better care for one another—and we definitely need one on how to better care for our vets once they return home. We're only just beginning to recognize PTSD and deal with that.

Perhaps it would behoove each of us to check our own lives to see how we're doing in both asking for help and reaching out to others. How are we building and maintaining community? And second, what might we do to help vets we know and care about?

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