Mum's the Word: Children are learning the importance of their communities

Mum's the Word: Children are learning the importance of their communities

Irish people’s responses to lockdown and Covid-19 have been truly amazing.

Communities across the country have come together to help those in need and pull together in ways I think most of us didn’t expect.

Dealing with this pandemic has undeniably put us all in a position whereby we have to conduct our daily lives completely differently. Businesses have had to adapt, schools have had to adapt, and there really is no aspect of our lives that we haven’t had to modify in someway or another.

But what this time period has taught me and I believe is also showing my daughter, is the importance of community.

Society has always run well when communities function well together. Growing up, our neighbours were more like family and many of them made up my parents’ closest friends.

We talked to them daily, we knew what was happening in their lives and most of all we were always there whenever anyone needed help. Kinda like now!

Instead of saying it’s a pity it took a global pandemic to get people back to the things in life that are really important, look at it as one of the many positives that can come out of the current situation.

We have lived on our street for 16 years and in the past few weeks I have spoken to some neighbours I haven’t held a conversation with before. We have played bingo as a group four times and had the absolute craic. We are talking more to one another, for sometimes hours a day, where as before it was mainly brief hellos. And most of all everyone is checking in on those most in need or those cocooning.

We cleaned our street together for an hour one day last week and my daughter Joan was helping with this. This had a big affect on her, showing her the importance of not only of pride in your area but also the importance of team work and everyone pulling together to improve our living spaces.

During this clean-up, one neighbour handed out sweet drinks to all the kids. Joan loved them as she hadn’t had one before. In passing, she told our neighbour how good the drink was and the next day we got a knock on the door with two packs of those drinks left on our step.

I always remember growing up feeling so close to our neighbours and although I didn’t pinpoint it then, I had this sense of comfort around the street we grew up on. It was the norm years ago for neighbours to be close. Somehow, as life got busier and people became more transient, most places grew apart. People often don’t know their neighbours at all or communities didn’t come together for any gatherings.

But now we see so many online videos of communities in towns and parts of Dublin who have come together in fun and creative ways — massive dance parties or collective bingo, or special parcels and food being left just out of kindness on each other’s doorsteps.

This is only teaching our children good things. How to be considerate, how to be kind and generous. It is also teaching them how important the people who live near them can be and how they will one day grow up and have a responsibility to be mindful of their communities and contribute to them in helpful ways.

Ironically we are now, at a time when we have to be apart, we have never been closer. I am proud of how we are responding as a nation and I know that this will have a lasting impression on all of our kids and for the better.

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