Build a Community, Not a Cave

In the movies, the myth of the lone wolf is strong. From John Wick’s revenge-fueled take down of the mobsters who killed his dog to “Mad Max” Rockatansky’s survival in the post-apocalyptic Australian outback, the one man wrecking crew is commonly glorified 

But in the end, John Wick severs ties with the community he had and strikes out more alone than before, while Mad Max winds up with a community of sorts by the end of The Road Warrior. In each case, community plays an important is abandoned , and another is created.

“Survive together or die alone”

Creating a community is imperative for long-term survival. There is strength in numbers; a superior force can eventually overwhelm a smaller force in individual battles, the Spartans at Thermopylae excepted. Having a community can help even the odds.

John Lovell of the Warrior Poet Society counsels, “community provides security and strength” and that it can require as many as 15-20 people to defend one home 24/7 plus have the people to do the things to actually survive together. The alternative is dying alone.

Ultimately, it boils down to this: if you can’t defend it, it isn’t yours.

How to build your community

In the book “Start with Why”, the author found people won’t support an idea or buy a product/service until they understand the “why” behind it. Sit down and list the reasons you want to build this community, and what you and members should get out of it.

Next comes finding the people to join with. They can come from anywhere: your family, your neighbors, your coworkers, the people you meet at your church, synagogue, or temple. Any or all of them can be part of your community. 

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17 

Your family is probably the most obvious group, and you should already have a good idea if they are people you want to rely on or work with in an emergency situation, because not everyone gets along with their family. So how do you expand beyond family?

  • Get to know your neighbors - Nobody will be as physically close as your neighbors. Have them over for dinner or a cookout. Talk with them. Help them out with projects if you’re able. Talk about everything. 
  • Work colleagues or members from your place of worship -  through the course of everyday conversations with your work colleagues or fellowship time are your church, you may be able to get a sense who might be a good addition to your community. 
  • Hobbies, sports or club members - you have a mutual interest in one area, perhaps it can expand into another. Talk to people at the range.

Ok, now what?

Your goal is to build a community of 5-15 like-minded individuals who share values but can also bring, or be willing to learn, skills that are complementary to the other members. Remember, one of the drawbacks for the lone wolf is that it’s impossible to know everything. As an example, do you know how to make a pencil?

Don’t create a group where everyone is an expert in the same thing. If all your members were firearms experts, who is going to fix the other things that need repairing, tend to the sick and injured, or grow food? Build a community capable of being there for each other for the long term, just realize creating your group isn’t going to happen overnight.

Growing pains are normal

Anyone who has been a member of a group understands group dynamics will eventually come into play and should be an expected part of your community’s growth. Here’s a brief summary of the five stages of group dynamics:

  • Forming - when the group first gets together and people learn where, or if, they fit in.
  • Storming - the growth-pains period where conflicts of interest, differing ideas or conflicting goals surface. Some of the strongest groups are those which can work through these.
  • Norming - Most of the potential conflict is gone, people believe the group serves a purpose and everyone works together.
  • Performing - the group establishes a routine and effectively works together. Groups that have effectively reached this stage have the ability to meet goals and survive challenges.
  • Adjourning - where group members prepare for the group to end. In some cases, it’s because the reason the group was formed no longer exists.

Understanding the importance of having a community is one thing; building it is where the work begins. But if you have clear goals and people around you willing to support and protect each other, you should have a balanced and successful community.

Solid foundations create sturdy buildings

Like the Roman Testudo formation, the idea of your community is to provide a mechanism which empowers, supports, and protects all the members of the group. A community of hardened individuals is like a three-legged stool:

  • Arms and armor to protect your family
  • Intellectual armor to steel your mind and learn to survive and become a better person
  • Community armor to defend against threats via mutual aid and support.

Without all three, the stool will topple. When all are present and working in harmony, stability is achieved.

Build your future on a solid foundation.

(NOTE: Shunning of modern technology is not necessarily required to build a community)

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash