Last week I visited my daughter in Springfield.  After a night of yummy food and maybe a few drinks, we had a really great discussion, one that we revisited the next day and honestly I have thought about all week.   At one of her group training/team building events at work they were asked what would they do if they had unlimited resources/money.  She posed this question to me.  Of course, I said I would travel.  She booed me for that comment because it was the same answer as a lot of her colleagues.  She relented her judgement of me but gave her reason for being disappointed in her co-workers.  Her explanation went something like this, “They are young, life should be more than traveling and having a good time, your purpose should be deeper.”  Then she told me her answer.

“I would invest money into my hometown (Versailles). I want my town to be a place people want to visit.”   Her list went on, including some specific ideas referencing the Rock Island Trail, but this momma had already zoned out.  I was just so touched that she still had that love for her hometown community a place that she not only wanted to survive, but thrive.  She has pride for where she came from. 

Pride: noun: a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. Or, this definition I found from an article by Ogletree Deakins, a labor and employment law firm, referencing The Meaning Behind Pride: “the consciousness of one’s own dignity” and “a product of praise, independent self-reflection, and a fulfilled feeling of belonging.”

We throw the pride word around quite a bit.  Some are negative when using the word, pride as a sin. Others only want to see the end result, as in “Why can’t they clean their place up, show some pride.”  I think if both these groups pondered that second definition they could find something they could both agree on.  “A fulfilled feeling of belonging.” 

Fulfilled feeling of belonging, no way that seems prideful.  A fulfilled feeling of belonging, will result in achievements that are widely admired.  It is such a simple thing to say, but so hard for most of us to feel.

Being a human can be hard, but we can help each other through it.  Belonging means finding a way to relate to each other, to leave our judgement at the door and, yes, to be kind.  I think we are naturally self-centered; it is probably left over from when we had to daily fight for survival.  It is why we tend to answer the “what would you do with $” question with things for us, but if we feel pride, we feel that we belong, maybe we see outside of ourselves.  

I am so grateful that my daughter still has those feelings for her community.  I hope the library can help foster those feelings for our patrons.  We all just want to feel like we belong, we desire pride but it isn’t all up to us, so think about that next time you find yourself not understanding others.  “Why are they like that?”  Nope.  “What can I do to make them feel comfortable, like they are important, like they belong?” 

My answer is still to travel, but I promise I would look for things I could share with my hometown.   I would help my kiddo with her dream because I too love my community, I too feel pride for the place that made me and always made me feel like I belonged.    

Upcoming Events: 1/20 Story Time in the Community room (masks required for adults) at 10am