JoAnne's Motivational Minute
Connection & Community
By JoAnne Boettcher-Verigin
When would-be patients call us, one of their first questions is often, "If Doc is so good, why is he in such a little town?"
It’s simple, really. When we were ready to set up our practice, we decided that we wanted to raise our family in a safe environment – a place where we could know our neighbors and feel connected with the community.
After settling in Escalon, it wasn't long before we were enjoying friendships with many of the townspeople and becoming active in community life. We felt cared about. Our children had lots of friends. It was safe for them to walk to school. If any of us needed anything, there was always a friend or neighbor nearby to help.
Fifty years later, we’re still here, still providing the best biological dental care we can, building relationships with patients from all over the country who entrust us with their care.
Our town has grown, too, of course. But even though it hasn’t grown as explosively as others, it’s hardly been immune to the social changes that have affected cities, large and small, across our nation.
As David Brooks recently noted,
The weakening of the social fabric has created a range of problems. Alienated young men join ISIS so they can have a sense of belonging. Isolated teenagers shoot up schools. Many people grow up in fragmented, disorganized neighborhoods. Political polarization grows because people often don’t interact with those on the other side. Racial animosity stubbornly persists.
"Strong identities,” he added, “can come only when people are embedded in a rich social fabric.”
Happily, it seems that more people are now seeking to restore and enrich that fabric.
Maybe you saw in the news how more millennials are now opting to live at home with their parents, even after they’ve finished school and started on their careers. Interestingly, it’s not just about saving money. The change began even before the Great Recession hit.
Or maybe you’ve heard about the rise of a new kind of communal living, where people have private apartments but they’re clustered around shared community spaces. The promise of social connection is a selling point.
Such trends suggest that we’re finally recognizing the need for connection with others – that we can’t just go it alone, that we need to matter to others…and that others really do matter to us.
How will YOU nurture your family and social connections today?
Image by Gomez1209, via Wikimedia Commons