Because we live in a town with a population of just 600 people and the nearest city has 5,000 (a 30 minute drive), and we live 4 miles down a dirt road - making time for community takes effort - time and resources.
Having a family business can make making the time more difficult (there is always more we could do, right?) - or if I look at it from the point of Ben Zander (you really should look up this man's videos on youtube - excellent!), because we have a family business we can make the time to build community.
This is along the same lines of what I wrote about "saying yes". When we said yes to going to a small homeschool gathering 35 minutes away - we knew that we would have to pay for gas for our gas guzzling old suburban and pollute the environment just a little more by doing so and leave our business and homestead for the afternoon.
Yesterday morning, my peaceful parenting group met from 10:00 am - noon. There are just five of us and it had been over a month since we last met. It was wonderful to be supported and reminded and to reconnect. Our facilitator reminded us how important it is to use our little community of 5 to share in the joys and frustrations during the in between times of our scheduled get togethers. Why is it that we need to be reminded of this? Do we too often think we should be able to handle things on our own or get worried that we will be bothering the other by taking up some of their time?
Yesterday afternoon we went back later in the afternoon to pick up Sarah because she had stayed to play with her friends after the peaceful parenting group. (I bring Sarah with me because she gets to play around the farm we are meeting at with her homeschooled friend that was born the very same day and year. The rest of the children stay home with Mike and I get to enjoy a couple of hours by myself.) So when Mike and I went inside to get Sarah at about 4:30 that same afternoon, we joined our friends for a cup of tea and met their farrier who also happens to be a blacksmith and enjoyed conversation and time visiting.. My thoughts kept going back to the time, though, that it was just about dinner time and while I did get the brown rice going before we left, I still had to make the rest.
One thing I appreciate about our farm friends is that although I am sure they have certain times of the day where the chores have to be done (milking, etc.), for the most part their lives are not dictated so much by the clock. I have noticed that they are not alone in this "free of time constraint" that I seem to lack so completely.
Around these parts when you run into someone you know on the dirt road and they start slowing down as their car approaches yours - that means you need to slow down too and start to roll down your window. The talking begins - usually just general conversation - without any thought of having to be anywhere at any certain time - at least that is the way it seems. I really like that - I like that it is about the connection - even if talk may only center on the weather. "Have you had to start up your woodstove?" By the way, yes we have.