Do We Need Old Fashioned Community?

Do we need communities where we can depend on our neighbours for a cup of sugar and much more if we need it? Do we need communities where young , middle aged and old are all important contributors to our community? You would think this would be obvious, but in our world of technology, political correctness and mobility, it is not so obvious.

The purpose of community.

As humans, we have a long history of living in community. When we lived in caves, all generations sat around the fire together creating bonds and establishing responsibility to our common good. Community was a survival mechanism. We needed each other to survive the threats, share the work and provide enough food and shelter. Every member of the community was responsible for the wellbeing of the community, and if someone consistently violated their responsibilities, they were ostracized from the community and their chances of survival were low.

Historically, communities provided us with mental, social and physical wellbeing. It was the source of our security and happiness. We took care of each other and we took comfort in trusting each other.

How community has shifted to consumer convenience

The essence and importance of this kind of community was with us until very recent times. It was only 40 years ago where we started to convince ourselves we no longer needed community in the same way.

We separated the generations into young people, adult economic contributors and old. We saw those not contributing to economic growth as burdens that we needed to pass onto professionals so we could be freed up to create more economic growth. We were told that economic self reliance was the path to happiness, we could be free from the shackles of responsibility to each other and could buy our way out of any problems we experienced, and at any rate, our governments had our backs and would take care of us if things didn’t work out.

Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t contribute economically were looked upon as drags on society who needed professionals to support them.

Community became a place of convenience to hang our hat with shopping, doctors and schools nearby as we went about our business minding our own business. We felt best if community was filled with other people like us who were contributing to the economy and those people like seniors, youth, and homeless  were on the fringe of the community.

And we could have a million friends on Facebook and other social media platforms.

The cost of the erosion of community


Mental health and depression is going through the roof, we have greater fear of each other and we are pessimistic about the future for our children. In the USA, 75% of us no longer have a connection with our neighbour, In Canada 70% of us have weak or no sense of belonging to the community we live in.

We have lost the idea of responsible citizenship and in stead became consumers of government and business services. As one podcaster recently said “We no longer live in a village?”

But we still need a village. It really does take a village to raise a child. And it takes a village to look out for each other. We feel safer when we know the people who live around us and we feel safer yet when we know they care about us. And that includes the people who are younger and the people who are older. Intergenerational communities are happy communities.

What Do the Experts Say?

I know, I know, we don’t trust experts and scientists anymore either. But happiness is one of the most researched topics there is and the research comes to a common conclusion that lines up with common sense. We need each other.

We need each other for our social connections. We need each other to satisfy the fundamental human need to belong.  And we need each other to satisfy that other basic human need – to know that other people care about us.

Can we Recreate Old Fashioned Communities?

Is it possible in a world of technology, mobility and bombardment with distracting noise and busyness to have communities where we depend on each other for social connectedness, belonging and looking out for each other? Is it possible to have old fashioned communities where the generations are connected and important to the community?

We have proven that it is possible with our work in communities in Canada, USA, India and Uganda. Most of us recognize that these kind of communities contribute to our happiness, but we don’t know what to do about it.

That is why we created Happy Community Builders. It’s a place where novice and experienced people can bring their passion, skills and knowledge and combine it with others to make happier communities. Happy Community Builders is the Hogwarts for people who want happier communities. We combine our magic to make more powerful magic that changes that which cannot be named.

Three steps to making ‘community’ about people again


Do you really want our communities to continue to devolve into places of isolation and service centres? Or do you want our communities to regain their old fashioned values of belonging, caring and trust? Do you want to live in isolated busyness? Or do you want our communities to be places where young, old and in between contributes to our joy and happiness?

Here are the three steps you can take to help us recreate old fashioned communities.

  1. Believe that it is possible to have communities that are strongly connected socially, have a deep sense of belonging and look out for the wellbeing of each other.
  2. Step up and be part of creating this kind of community. You may already be either volunteering or working professionally to make your community better. But this is about willing to holistically engage the community in the bigger idea of we can all be happier if our community as a whole is happier.
  3. Tap into the experience and expertise of others. Find others who have already made communities happier and have connected them across the generations.


You might want to explore Happy Community Builders and connect with the deep and long experience that is there. Together, we are making powerful magic to change how our communities think and behave.

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