Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To Tribe or not to Tribe?

It seems you can’t walk through a bookstore without running into a hundred titles that deal with tribal culture. I’d like to share some thoughts on why that might be true.

In our busy lives we are looking for a smaller group of like minded people to spend time with. We are looking for a deeper kind of adult connection that fosters support and growth while allowing us to contribute. The essence of our attraction to tribal cultures is our desire for community.

Much of the literature exploring this topic idealizes traditional societies. I don’t really have an issue with that. After all, we’re not trying to run off to the jungle to hunt and gather. Well, at least I’m not. We’re trying to learn from the good things that these societies create and to incorporate them in a new way into our modern lives.

The tribe has a deep understanding of its need for every member. Tribes accept diversity within the context of shared values. The flip side of this coin is that the individual learns to understand their part in the larger whole and begins to consider the tribe as they make decisions about their own lives. The individual needs the tribe and is willing to contribute in their unique way.

We are not born into our tribes. We come together based on shared values. What better reason to form a  tribe than to be with people who are like you? Experiencing the way in which our core values play out in other people’s lives gives us a broader understanding of what’s important to us. Understanding and accepting others keeps the tribe open to growth. Your tribe must support growth and development and not force you to conform to a rigid ideal.

The best tribes give us safety, acceptance and challenge us to be better people. They allow us to see the larger picture and to understand our role in it. Do you have a strong circle of close friends? Perhaps you are already a member of a tribe.

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