Remember "Leave It To Beaver?" Remember TV shows with small towns? In the hustle and bustle of our days and our world, we often forget that there are still small towns in the U.S. This week I went to the "Chicken Broil" in Manchester, MI. The "Broil" (as it is called for short!) started in the 1950's. It started when a "new" way of cooking chicken was being used and a few business men in the area decided to give it a try. It caught on and they realized that this could be a great fundraiser for their small town and allow them to give back to their community.
As their history says: "It is important to look briefly at the world of the 1950's to really understand how the Broil came into being." It was a simpler time when many adults who were in this small town had grown up here. Most people knew almost everyone they met on Main Street. Stores stayed open a couple of nights a week. In the summertime the stores closed one afternoon a week to allow the business people to play golf! When a merchant died, the stores closed out of respect during the funeral. The school district was smaller than we are now used to and most knew one another.
These intimate and friendly relationships became a powerful force that binds groups and people together. This was the beginning of what many of us think of as "small groups." Small groups are formed when there is a large organization that needs to "get things done." We used to call them committees! We often think of these groups when we think of business but many churches, neighborhoods and other organizations use this concept. It is easy to see that the need for small groups comes when we are part of a much larger group or organization. We often feel that we are a number not an individual. We often feel that we do not have an identity.
Being a part of a group feels good to most of us. It feels good to know that we are a part of something. Most often there is a common goal as a member of the group. Sometimes it is business or professionally driven. Sometimes it is because of our family and our children that we become a part of a group. Sometimes it is even just for fun. Whatever that common goal may be, we are together forming a reason or a purpose and it feels good to belong. Belonging is a basic need of most people. We feel better when we work towards a common good and essentially give back to society and to others.
Sometimes we struggle to find our own identity. Perhaps you can begin by seeing which small group might be a good fit for you. Chances are you are already part of a small group and you do not recognize it as such. Become part of a group that makes you feel worthwhile. Give back to others and see what comes back to you. What is your small group?