When you hear the famous quote “It takes a village to raise a child,” what comes to your mind?
This quote transports me back to when I was a child. I used to wander around the neighbourhood barefoot and in a shabby state, never fearing for my safety. You’re probably wondering what I mean. A neighbour would call me back to order or flog me if I tried to escape the safe boundaries. That’s what “community” really means. My birth parents, or blood relationship, didn’t always have to be there. The entire “village” was always on the watch!
A journalist investigating the health and longevity of Okinawans in Japan made an astounding discovery. He discovered that those who lived the longest and were the happiest all had a strong sense of community.
The elderly interviewed said, “I spend a lot of time with my friends; we talk, laugh, and support each other.” Having a strong community has benefited my health. He said “I spend a lot of time with my friends; we talk and laugh, and we are all there for one another.” Being able to have a strong community has been incredibly beneficial to my overall well-being. ”
Looking back in retrospect, I would agree with the benefits of community life.
What is a community?
The oxford dictionary defines community as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”
What is an Alma mater
An Alma mater is the school, college, or university that someone has graduated from. The term is associated with pride in one’s school.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is being able to appreciate the things that we have received emotionally, materially, spiritually and even the bad things that could have happened to us, but didn’t. We express gratitude towards the giver of the thing that we feel grateful for. Being able to go look back or go back, and show appreciation to someone or a community is powerful.
Why is gratitude important?
In the book of Luke 17:12, Jesus healed 10 lepers, unfortunately, only one of them was grateful enough for being made whole and happy again. He went back and said thank you to Jesus, and his healing was cemented through gratitude.
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in act.” Henric Frederic Amiel
In the Greek version of the Holy bible, the word ‘gratitude’ is mentioned 157 times whilst the word thankfulness is only mentioned 38 times. There’s no doubt that, God is very big on action, not on words. If you are thankful in your heart, then you must show gratitude in your action.
More so, according to positive psychology research done by the Harvard University, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. People who express gratitude tend to;
- Feel happier
- Enjoy good times
- Enjoy Healthier lives
- Strengthen relationships with others
- Overcome obstacles better
How can we show gratitude?
Most Christians who experience breakthroughs, whose prayers are answered, or who get better from a near death experience, tend to organise a special occasion to bring gifts and money to God’s altar. God bless them for their gratitude!.
How can you and I emulate this noble act?
I attended a Cameroon boarding school called Regina Pacis College Mutengene from age 11 to 17. Possibly my boarding school community raised me, for which I am eternally grateful.
I met amazing people in senior classes, junior classes, and among my classmates, some of whom remain dear friends today.
You know, like sleeping during evening studies, or feigning illness to avoid all school activities, or even breaking school rules to go into town and engage in naughty activities.
How can one thank their Alma mater?
1. Membership subscription.
This may come across as a casual thing to do, yet its meaning is more profound. In life, we generally subscribe to things that we want and are happy to be identified with or for. We subscribe to gyms, Netflix, and several things.
The act of subscribing to your ex-(Alma mater) school’s association is a way of expressing gratitude for the time spent with the people, teachers, and school’s values.
2. Sponsorship offers
This point is similar to #4, but it’s about further education. I once read about a small Kenyan community where moms raised one child at a time. They’d pick the smartest kids in their community and pay for one to attend a good university or study abroad. Because they had limited resources, combined efforts This happens every year. Their community produced the most educated, successful, and wealthy children. Children from different families become doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, directors, etc. The kids knew where their fortunes came from and would return to help build their community. jobs, schools, water, hospitals. What if ex-students sponsored one child to greatness? Wouldn’t that create a strong association and a successful group with common interests?
3. Organise and participate in giveaways.
For many of us who went through boarding school, we experienced life first-hand and we know what it means to be away from home. While some students may have come from financially comfortable families, there are always others who are struggling.
My sense of community and sharing grew during boarding school. Some students were never visited on visiting Sundays, so their classmates invited them to share. Others needed toiletries, snacks, and other basics, so we shared. Ex-students can identify such kids individually or in groups and bless them.
4. Create sustainable projects for growth
This may be the one single thing that impacts the lives of your alumni or current students from your former school. It is about providing an opportunity that you wish someone else had provided for you. We all go to school to get good grades, graduate, get a job, and work our way up the ladder to success. Perhaps a way to give back to your alma mater would be to expose the students and other ex-students to all the good information and opportunities you are privy to. This can be done through seminars, podcasts, YouTube videos, workshops, internships, and excursions, just to name a few.
Many ways exist to express gratitude. Being aware of our gratitude is one thing, but showing gratitude is another. We can show our communities and fraternities gratitude in simple ways. Adding value to the lives of those involved is always and will always be the right thing to do.
Recall the leper who thanked Jesus. Gratitude has a powerful, inexplicable effect. It’s almost as if we seal our blessings and our gratitude grows. Gratitude has worked wonders in my life in many ways.