Opinion: Get connected

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America’s first president, George Washington, once said, “It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.”

Although Washington made himself sound a bit like one who enjoys his own companionship a fair amount, he does remind us of a pair of important truths. First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being alone. And second, we should work hard to ensure that we can always find good company. As Washington sat at Mount Vernon perched high above the Potomac, the attention of others may have been, aside from a good book, about the only form of available distraction. Today, we are awash in non-human entertainments with which to interact. Some of them in the technology world even work to convince us, if we are willing to suspend our disbelief for a moment or two, that we are interacting with other people rather than some highly developed software or device. 

Still, isn’t human interaction key? Even in a world filled with technology, don’t we need, perhaps crave, the complex and unpredictable company of our fellow human beings? If so, we are presented with Washington’s dilemma. How do we find worthy comrades in a time of increasing interpersonal isolation and failed social connective tissue? 

Enter the community leadership development organizations. Big players include Boone County Leadership (November application deadline); Marion County’s Stanley K. Lacy Leadership series (early March); and the Hamilton County Leadership Academy (end of May). Each of these, through rigorous application processes, selects a diverse but cohesive group of young (and youngish) would-be community leaders to spend most of the year learning together about how our communities are built, run and held together. These folks are tutored for the inevitable time when they will take the reins in constructing the road to our future. Interested? Apply!

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