My son has started to ask an interesting question every time we are headed to an event - "Who's hosting?". It gave me pause the other day because I don't think it's a typical question for an 11 year old boy to ask.
What it made me realize is that in this life we have chosen my children are constantly seeing people step up to plan and create times of gathering. They have an acute understanding that activities don't magically happen. I understand that sounds like an obvious statement but I actually think there are quite a few people in the world who think events just magically happen.
What makes me think this is that I can't count the number of times I have heard adults say things like:
- I wish there was more to do in this city.
- That sounds so fun, I wish I had events like that to attend.
- I'd take that up but no one ever invites me to things like that.
I'm always a little bewildered by these statements because I've never quite understood why so many are waiting for someone else to plan or host something. Maybe it was growing up in a town of 500 people that contributed to my innate sense of "if you want to see something happen then you should plan it." Hepburn is a tiny town and it's 25 minutes from the nearest city and yet I can't really remember a time I was ever bored living there. We were doing things ALL of the time. We were together with friends ALL of the time. Playing town wide Capture the Flag, playing 3 on 3 basketball on Mr. Priebe's driveway, watching friends ski off roofs (Scotty Lepp), filming a plethora of ridiculous talk shows and music videos, picnic hikes near the river, game nights, bonfires and on and on.
In light of all that it made me happy to see that my son recognized that 98% of the really cool experiences we have in our life are not due to a really cool venue or business but they are the result of ordinary people choosing to plan and to host. His normal is that we get to do fun things because of the people in our lives.
I love seeing the appreciation grow for being intentional with community and hosting. My kids make comments about others that show me that they are learning to value the time and energy others put in. They are also showing understanding of what it feels like to plan and set up and not have people show up. I fully understand that things come up and life can get in the way of making it to things (and I think they do as well) but I also see their disappointment and frustration.
Even when the event is at a certain venue like the art gallery, library or gym they want to know who organized it. When I answer them the typical response is "Oh, well that was nice of them."
I'm definitely someone who has become a planner. There are so many things that I want to do and try and the reality is that I just won't get to do most of them if I don't organize it. I'm not by nature an extrovert or life of the party, I have to push myself to be intentional with community. I really hope that my kids, regardless of their personality or bents, will continue to grow up seeing and valuing the time and energy put into bringing people together. I hope they also see that it's pretty simple to do.
One day this week we had 3 hours of friends and winter fun resulting from shooting off a one word text, "Sledding?". Another day more fun because someone texted us back that word. I love when friends invite us for a last minute game night. No fuss, just bring a bag of chips and a game. We have a big women's Christmas event that only requires choosing a date, time and restaurant, creating a facebook event and making a reservation. We eat, we laugh, we exchange used gifts, it's awesome. I don't have to decorate, cook or do anything else really. We had a Lantern Walk this month and again the planning was super simple. Show up with a lantern, walk in the woods, and sit around a fire after. Most gatherings really only require the basics - an idea, a time and a place.
I'd love to hear a simple gathering that you've done or want to do! Comment on Insta or Facebook with your ideas!