People ‘left the farm’ and the social resources of their community of several generations. They assemble in communities of like people. Often, they live in the ‘splendid isolation’ of a neighborhood where they don’t even know the names of their next door neighbors.
When I was a child, we had the social art of ‘borrowing’. Our family had a stay-at-home mother and a work-every-day father. We had an automobile; a model T ford that my father drove to work. This left my mother socially isolated in the house with 4 children (with no radio or TV in those days). Often, there came a time in the early afternoon when a neighbor would knock on our kitchen door. They wanted to ‘borrow’ a cup of sugar to bake a cake, or something similar. My mother would start coffee brewing in the ‘percolator’. (Did you ever see one of those noisy things – with a little glass dome in the lid?) Mrs. Clark and my mother would pull out chairs from the kitchen table and talk for a long time, exchanging the latest gossip and other important news. During this time, personal problems would be discussed and advice was given. Advice would be offered from neighbor to neighbor and from old to young. This was our ‘village’.
Today, it is not uncommon for each member of the family to have their own automobile. This was true when we raised our family. There were six people and at least six automobiles in our driveway. People are seldom home as they go to their particular events with their peer group. There is no ‘village’ to provide the unique social services that a village offers.
Writing this kind of book is a very personal thing, so I will start by telling how I got to the place in my life where I decided to write it. I have had a very active email correspondence with many people since 1996. Sometimes, the exchanges were very deep and personal as they asked me for advice regarding severe problems. (In a sense, the internet has become a village with its own demography according to each individuals email activities.) I often received very grateful comments from my correspondents, saying such things as; ‘your advice is very good and you should write a book.’, and, ‘Of all the people that I have talked to, including professional counselors, you are the only one who understood and gave to me the support that I needed.’ This kind of response has been increasing in frequency and urgency, so I finally decided that I would seriously look into the proposition. This book is the result.
I have no training in counseling but I believe that I have a degree of ‘common sense’ that has developed as I have matured. As I write, I am 93 years old. I have recognized a common thread relating to great personal distress and the lack of personal fulfillment.
People don’t know who they are!
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