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What Happened to the Community?

Do you remember when, as children, we spend the whole day or an afternoon with the neighbours’ kids in their house: playing, eating, and doing whatever else children do? Nobody had to plan those spontaneous visit weeks in advance. You just turned up at the front door, and if your friend/s could come out and play or invite you in for tea, you were all in. As children, we should be playing as much as possible and having someone else to play with us was a mandatory requirement for any happy childhood.

Back in my childhood, the whole society relied on spontaneous acts of kindness; it was nothing out of the ordinary. Relying on your neighbours, especially when the kids were concerned, was not a sign of weakness. We were all part of the same community, and as part of it, the neighbourly help was very much common practice.

Fast forward to 2018, and it seems to me that the innocence of those years is completely gone and people hardly ever get together to create supportive communities that one could rely on. Especially communities that can actively help with children. We all know it takes a village to raise a child, but we don’t act this way anymore.

For nearly five years Mikolay went to a Steiner school. If you don’t know much about Steiner education one of the biggest things is for parents to create support around the school community. When you are part of that community, you do what communities do best, support one another. Needing help and asking for it, or having gazillions of playdates is nothing unusual and it shouldn’t be treated as such.

Since leaving the Steiner environment (Little M. has profound dyslexia and his school was not willing and capable of accommodating him) we tried to organise playdates with the neighbours’ children or Little M’s football mates but all in vain. As if people didn’t believe that someone was willing to look after their kids for no other reason than allowing them to play together and get to know each other better.

I’m a strong believer in community spirit. Call me naive but helping one another and being kind to one another is what makes life fuller in my personal opinion. However, like everything in life it must be a give-take situation; you can’t be only a giver or a taker because it’s not how a community works.

We are social species and without other humans, we cannot last very long. I feel that one of the greatest gifts we can offer/give to our children is to show them how communities work, especially in our modern times. I think that communities can provide us with the social and moral support we need.


Filed under: Clever Girl, Polish Gal in London, Untitled Novel

About the Author

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Magda Olchawska is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and screenwriter. She writes not only about making films and writing but also about financially independent and sustainable lifestyle. Her current projects include Ecotopia Universe and School Runs.


  1. Magda, this is another one you knocked out of the park. Yes, I remember those days. And I now guilty of not desiring the spontenaity as I did as a younger person. Thank you for causing to reflect on this.

    • Magda Olchawska

      Hi James,
      Glad to hear that others feel the same way. To be honest it is pretty upsetting maybe even painful that people are turning away from the community. Hopefully, we will wake up. Without a strong supporting community, we all suffer.

      • Magda, your heart is in the right place. You are also a very knowledgeable and thinking person.
        Your statement:
        “Hopefully, we will wake up.” – Reality is some have chosen to wake up. It is my belief that a Grand Creator is taking note of these precious little ones. Why? because of your next statement:
        “Without a strong supporting community, we all suffer.” – Yes, we know the have nots (poor) do, but you are correct again that eventually it affects “Have” as well.

        All the same I have complete confidence the ultimate Divine Force will step in at the right time. Magda, you have a beautiful (unselfish) way of thinking.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Whitney Houston ‘God Bless The Child’ (LIVE) w/lyrics

        • Magda Olchawska

          Trying my best James.
          I believe that the social and political crisis we are experiencing right now is connected to the fact that community doesn’t exist any more. People are so busy that even when you offer to do something for them they either ignore you or take advantage of your kindness without returning the kindness. The community is build of selfless acts of kindness and needs to go both ways, otherwise, it is not a community.

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