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Intentional Community | David Richtenburg | TEDxYouth@LincolnStreet

so we as people born into the internet
age or lacking real interpersonal
connection most of us don’t enjoy
interacting face-to-face anymore and
honestly we’d much rather just text each
other the best way to combat this is to
live an intentional community that is
community where you choose to put others
above yourself regardless of who or what
they might be sadly this notion has
become less and less popular with the
rise of social media as we can see if
you look on Pinterest or any other major
social media site you’ll see the feed of
what today’s youth are being fed every
single day it’s an incessant constant
flow of self over others and it truly is
destroying our communities to me social
media is a lot like lead lead enters
your body and your body recognizes it as
calcium which is a vital nutrient that
your body likes to store up so lead is
thrown up in your bones and other places
in your body until it replaces all of
the calcium and then you die well social
media could do a very similar thing to
your emotional state social media comes
into your life masquerading as true
community yet it’s slowly and
systematically replaces all the true
community you once had this replacement
can happen without any real tangible
effects that you notice until one day
you’re left without any real community
and it’s all been replaced by virtual
connections that leave you unsatisfied
so another major stumbling block and
getting into community and this is kind
of my problem is I’m a major introvert
and I don’t like to do life with people
so I used to think like a lot of people
that having friends was like a little
added bonus to my life so I would get
all my stuff together I get my work done
get my life perfect and now it’s ready
to go out and spend two hours with my
friends and then I’d come back into my
little hole and avoid people for the
rest of time but I’ve since realized how
backwards and negative this is I should
have been searching out a true
accountable interpersonal community that
I could be a part of regardless of
whether I was totally put together and
perfect or not now this is partially my
own fault being someone who really
enjoys being self-reliant but I think
that we can all relate to it in one way
another our culture is one of pulling
yourself up by your bootstraps and
living for yourself and this is toxic so
four years ago was when I kind of
realized this and made this big
transition in my life four years ago was
the summer of my freshman year and
that’s when I went to summer camp for
the first time with three other guys
that are now incredibly close friends we
all went together and over the course of
the week we pranked the camp staff had a
huge soccer tournament with like 400
people everybody that was in the camp
and just had tons of crazy hooligan
adventures and this is what really
brought us together this is my first
glimpse into what real interpersonal
connection could be like and from that
point on I didn’t want to let it go so
I’m hoping that today can be your big
transition point I want you to say yes
to community yes to committing to other
people and yes to a better life so then
what can you do forget passive community
and embrace intentional community
opportunities to connect with others are
all around us you just have to be
willing to be the catalyst that actually
connects people for instance many of us
are in school high school or college
this is such a difficult time for so
many of us yet it could be made so much
easier if each of us were willing to
connect with people simply because they
are valuable and worthy of our time and
for no other reason community is such an
important thing and I think that it’s
something we can all benefit from so you
say David awesome I want to be in
community is it all going to be peach
trees and roses and perfect all the time
sadly no so community is hard and that’s
where a lot of the value comes in but I
guarantee that you will have difficult
times that you will encounter so I’ve
put together a little list of a few tips
that you can apply in your life if
you’re in community and things that you
can work through and use so the first is
to be accountable if you’re in community
and you have a real community then it
has to have a standard meeting time an
accountable meeting time and it has to
be expected that everybody in the
community is going to be there every
single week or every other week or
whenever you’re meeting and when someone
isn’t there
it’s the responsibility of everyone else
in the community to find out where that
person was and what they were doing if
something’s wrong that’s what makes it
real also if you’re living in real
community then it’s very important to
have tangible connections with the
people in your community outside of its
normal context so a coffee date a walk
or whatever creates strong robust
connections within the community that
makes the whole community stronger
finally if you’re in community then
there’s going to be people in it that
you don’t like that’s just the nature of
community and it’s it’s part of what
makes it so valuable and what grows
maturity and you but it’s going to
create conflict so the best way I found
to get through this is you just sit down
with the person you have conflict with
find out everything you can about their
side of the story because chances are if
there’s conflict then there’s
misunderstanding so this type of
community I found is beautifully
demonstrated in the Pape when students
here or here living in America and
studying at our universities my brother
got in contact with me a few months ago
and told me that he wanted to organize a
traditional pop one celebration called
baccarat Basu this celebration is based
around any sort of big event so Easter
was coming up so we chose to celebrate
that and you should know the Papua New
Guinea government only sends 80 to 90
students to America to study here at our
universities and these students are from
all over the nation of Papua end up at
universities across the nation so my
brother began a pair of prepare for the
event he got together a bunch of leaves
or ferns called waka lekha
which is just such a fun word to say
waka Lika we got tons of veggies to make
and two whole pigs so as my brother was
preparing for the event he got more and
more calls from pop ones from all over
saying that they wanted to come which
was just insane because we had no
advertising there was no way to spread
the word but soon 70 out of the 85 pop
ones that are in America were scheduled
to come down to Shoals to have some
weird tobacco tasting meat and veggies
so this is a group picture
but the event came it was a huge success
it was a fantastic experience for me and
everybody all the pop ones that were
there but the most striking thing to me
was how these people interacted most of
them didn’t know each other beforehand
yeah when they came together there was
no semblance of hesitation cliques or
any sort of just they wanted to be with
each other simply because they had
decided beforehand that they did this is
such an important lesson I think we can
all learn from it was just it was
incredible to see another culture and
how it’s so standard for them and how
it’s so foreign to us so what am I
asking you to do get out into the world
and connect with people it’s the
smallest and biggest thing you can do
thank you
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