What skills will you pass on to your children? What about adults who did not learn skills from their parents? Can you build better community relationships by teaching skills that an adult can pass down to their children? Yes, you can and that is the focus of this heritage blog on building community.

What Are Heritage Skills?

Heritage skills are just common life skills that we all need. You hear stories of people getting married and neither one of them knowing how to cook. Cooking is a heritage skill. You watch someone build a garage and you wonder how they learned to do that. Building and construction are heritage skills. You want to grow your food, but you do not know how to garden. Gardening is a heritage skill. So is sewing, quilting, learning to use and understand a budget, and basic car repairs. There is a whole slew of heritage skills that young adults have not learned.

Heritage Skills and Community Building

In many households, across many communities, the passing down of heritage skills is missing. Sharing those skills, by those who have them, is an excellent tool for building close-knit communities. Those deficits are a perfect way for communities to bridge the distances that exist where there are gaps between culture, socioeconomics, and stagnation Many communities already have community centers and those centers easily become places where teaching and learning of heritage skills can occur. Some skills need special locations, but creative thinking and grant writing are also tools that make those facilities available in all communities.

Being Creative in Finding a Way

Joining with other groups, such as Habitat for Humanity, is a great resource for your community, but the bigger goal is that such a group helps people learn how to build. So with such a partnership, your community begins to rebuild itself. Other options also exist. Community fundraising events help fund projects, such as building a home economics teaching center. Don’t be shy about asking for corporate donations from mega-corporations, such as Home Depot, which may donate used or open-box appliances. They may also donate lumber to build a community garden. There are plenty of ways to build community and some of those ways are not straightforward. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and certainly do not shy away from being creative.

Showing Is More Powerful Than Telling

Help from the community itself might be harder to come by than it appears. Others may have tried before you to bridge the gaps with your communities and failed. Failure can be good because it teaches us about hidden obstacles that we can address before asking for help. So be prepared to ask questions and to also learn. A good place to start is to gather data and the best way to do that is to do surveys. Set up a table, put up a box, and print off some options and you are ready to begin. What does this community need? A library? A community garden? A place to teach others how to cook, sew, or build? The questions you ask help you find answers that will guide you in the direction where you can show people progress and that is a good way to find others to help.

Broken and divided communities can come together to learn from each other, not as teachers and students, but as equals. We all have things to learn so why not teach what you know?