Community {not as easy as it sounds}

Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to spend the night with a friend? It usually started with a fun day of hanging out and as the day progressed you realized that your day was about to end. But you didn’t want the fun to end! So you decide you should have a sleep over. Of course being a child, YOUR decision to spend the night with a friend is not the end of it. You needed to convince your parents and your friend’s parents that: “this is a good idea”.

Commence Operation Spend the Night

First you would likely identify who would be hosting this sleepover shin dig which was probably the easiest decision to make.

Some of the variables:

A) who is more likely to say yes?

B) who is more likely to be persuaded with the reasoning that “so and so hasn’t slept over in months!”

Once the hosting house was identified, you initiated step two. Approaching the parent of the child potentially sleeping over.

“Wait a minute” you say, “isn’t that a little backwards?” Of course, in the business world you would secure a location first but in a child’s world, the YES is more important.

So you go up to Suzie Q’s mom and ask if she can sleep over to which mom says, “If it’s okay with Janie D’s mom, it’s fine with me.” I mean, think about it. What parent in most instances would say “no” to their child sleeping over at another child’s house? {FREEDOM!!}

With that conditional ‘yes’, it’s onto the hosting parent for a response. This answer of course is almost a guarantee of a yes. Not so sure? Watch what happens next.

You approach Janie D’s mom, the prospective host, and say, “Suzie Q’s mom said that if it was okay with you that Suzie could spend the night!!! Can she mom? Can she?? Please?”

In most situations Janie’s mom would buckle just under the pressure that Suzie Q’s mom was okay with it and not wanting to look like the bad guy say “yes”.

But. In the event that you were met with resistance, the big guns would come out. Something along the lines of: “Well Suzie hasn’t spent the night in FOREVER. And I’ve gone over to her house a lot lately. Shouldn’t we return the favor. I mean Suzie’s mom already said yes!!”

To which mom almost always would buckle.

Operation Spend the Night: SUCCESS!!!

Are you as worn out as I? That was a lot of work! But ask any child if it was worth it and they’ll say, “YES!!”

Unfortunately, something happens to our relationship building tenacity when we enter adulthood. All of a sudden sleepovers AKA community oddly loses it appeal.

  • It’s too much work to drive to meet up with so and so.
  • Our lives are too busy to do lunch.
  • We have a family now and we’d really rather not keep the kids out past their bedtime.
  • I don’t really know these ladies so I’d rather stay home and be comfortable.

The excuses are as varied as our lifestyles but the true reason is the same.

Building community is uncomfortable.

When you spend time with people you do not know that well, you run the risk of not fitting in, being bored out of your mind, or wait! You just might…enjoy yourself.

Even if you know someone well, making the conscious effort to spend time with them on a regular basis takes…well…effort.

And we need it. God did not design us to be alone. We need each other.

When Dominic was born, a heavy overwhelming fog came along with our bundle of joy. I’m sure that the countless sleepless nights and unending demands of a newborn had nothing to do with it at all {read with heavy sarcasm}

In many ways we felt quarantined to our home; slaves to his routine. And for a season, this is appropriate. I think God designed humankind to begin as small helpless infants for many reasons. But mostly to teach parents to slow down and just be. {another time, another blog}

As Dominic grows and matures and as we grow and mature in our parenting, the fog seems to lessen and the need for friendships and relationships becomes increasingly greater. And just like it’s a big deal for children to coordinate a sleepover, building community as adults can be complicated.

  • Coordinating schedules
  • Getting the kids out the door
  • Budgeting the money
  • Weighing the pros and cons of messing with our kids’ sleep routines

The challenges can add up fast. But taking our cue from children orchestrating Operation Spend the Night, we should be just as tenacious in holding onto and building a community of friends.

Community should be a big deal to us and we shouldn’t stop until we get our ‘yes’.

What about you? Are you building community or building excuses?

What are some ways you could start building your community today?

Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

2 thoughts on “Community {not as easy as it sounds}

  1. What a good word! It was kinda like a punch in the gut, in a way, for me. I think my hardest thing that wasn’t mentioned is the fear and/or feeling of rejection. I don’t want to ask someone to hang out & then hear a “no”. I get that a lot (I mean, come on, everyone is busy, right?) and it gets harder and harder to ask. This post just gave me the “umph” to keep trying. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. You’re right. It is hard to hear a ‘no’ or no response at all for that matter; especially when you’ve asked so many times before.
      My encouragement to you is to not give up. And when you want to do something, invite more than one person and include people you wouldn’t naturally hang out with. I do this a lot with craft nights. Invite way more people than I could host and invite people I wouldn’t naturally hang out with. Some respond, some don’t but whether I have 2 or 10 people, the night is always pretty awesome thanks to the people who did pull out of their comfort zones and take a step toward community.

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