We recently had a wonderful discussion on our facebook page. The question posed was What is a Caring Community?

It is perhaps the discussion to date that has had most contributors and here I will try to sum up the sharing of the ideas as the conversation evolved.

A caring community is proposing help as a gift without expecting a return.
Supporting each other because you wish to do so and out of compassion for others not because you want something from them. Anything else is not caring but alternative forms payment. Like trading off services without money involved and all that, which often comes from a feeling of lack or not wanting to pay with money, not valuing the other persons time, service or goods appropriately. Caring means giving out of compassion without expectations.

So how can one suggest increasing caring in our community?
Honouring people who make positive contributions and mention them so others get stimulated to follow.  Empowering the carers to care more by shining a bit more spotlight their way and encouraging more people to care openly and more often. It is a beautiful and poignant suggestion to put into action.  Listening, truly listening to the other, to be at the service of the individual and the community.

However in looking after others, caring, must start with the self.

It would seem too, that caring means sharing but what of value can we share with each other?  The world is full of unmet needs and unused resources, and matching our resources with the needs of others is a way of caring.

Empathy. Empathy for oneself and the community around oneself.

Caring starts with oneself, if you wish for that caring to be sustainable. As even Caring uses energy, good energy, but still energy nonetheless. So, just like in aeroplanes, attach the oxygen mask to yourself first and breathe in, then help those sitting next to you to do the same. This particular metaphor is one that comes up time and time again in the Everyday.earth community.

A caring community is showing love to yourself and others in every situation.  Daily acts of kindness to ourselves and those we surround ourselves with is key to making caring even more frequent in our world. Trying to put oneself in the shoes of others, try to see with their eyes. Then, bridging the gap between how we see things and how others, experience it.

The suggestion was made to create an economic system based on genuine attention to the physical, psychological and emotional needs of human beings.

A caring economy is a real community. It’s organic. It’s born out of a need for real deep connection, something that I feel we have lost in our quest for growth in the current economy. A care economy only needs care to survive and a caring community to grow. Yes, basic needs must be met, and we are all deeply entangled in the current economy, so the move towards a care economy starts with small acts in our day to day lives, as we live and survive in the current economy. Do something, for nothing more than pure care for another human being, and you will feel rewards far greater than any felt from overtime worked in the growth economy.

The care economy values our most precious resource; time. It treats us all as humans with needs and it proposes that these needs can be met by something that is not controlled by suits in a central bank.
A caring act can have an infinite impact on an individual. Give someone in need €5, and you have done a good deed. But give that same person your hand, and sit down with them as they buy their own coffee and you have given them something far greater than the price of a cup of coffee.

For sure our discussion about What is a Caring economy and a caring community will continue to evolve. However once again someone in the discussion referred to the ancestors, which I personally love,  so I will this complete this explanation with this thought and direct quote from the group.

Sharing is Caring,
Caring is Giving,
Giving is Living.

It was a phrase my grandfather taught me years ago and I love it. I really think a caring community is showing love to yourself and others in every situation. We need more kindness in this world.