The nominees for the annual Citizen of the Year have been selected. As always, every one of the nominees are more than worthy of receiving the award and it is unfortunate that only one individual can be selected. Perhaps the greatest thing about the award is it reminds us of the host of dedicated volunteers who make life in our community so much better.
The nominees represent a large group of people who give of their time and skills so we may have a little better life. They come in many forms. Look around your friends, children and interest group and you will be dazzled by how many individuals give time to making the world around us a better place. While community recognition is nice, and important, the greatest and most satisfying recognition is when someone comes up to them and says “thank you.”
From far back in time, voluntarily making a contribution to one’s community has been an important part of survival and growth. The village, as it may be described, in one of man’s best innovations.
As we become more urbanized, there is a tendency to believe we no longer live in a village. But we do. We may call them different names such as neighbourhoods or clubs or whatever, but we still live in the village. The village is where we get to know people, their personalities, their values and their skills.
Our own village may be defined as a geographic area, which is the classic definition, or may be defined by a community of interests. No matter how the village is defined it remains a collection of individuals with an understanding, and sometimes admiration, for what they contribute to our lives.
If we did not live in the village our lives would be impoverished. Indeed, our ability to survive might be at risk.
A village cannot exist without the ongoing interaction of the people living within it. That has not been a problem in times past but the electronic world may reshape how we live.
With the advent of several electronic devices and systems to support them, we see an opportunity to isolate ourselves to a degree that was not previously possible.
Play can be an individual pursuit occurring only between the person and the electronic device employed. All the required activity is contained within the software employed. There is no one else present to take a turn, throw the dice, turn a card or take another action. Just push the right sequence of buttons and the machine responds.
We communicate over the airwaves by voice and text. No need of physical expression or human action, just an electronically altered voice on the other side of the conversation. While we are doing so we can hide from the world around us.
Increasingly we use these devices and systems as a method of avoiding direct contact with others. We avoid directly interacting with others. The voice in the ear or the image on the screen too frequently replaces real people.
Watch people in a waiting room, on an airplane or other public place as they go into their imaginary electronic world to avoid contact and communication with others. The thrill and often enlightening contact with new people is gone. It will be a sad and uncomfortable world when we succeed in avoiding all contact with other humans. When that happens, the village will be gone and with it our humanity.