Villagers hold, as a personal value, that we should not be dependent on government for our welfare. Dependence on distant entities breeds a sense of entitlement, which is the opposite of gratitude. There is broad agreement among clergy, philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, scientists and thinkers that gratitude is the foundation of happiness.
We should be “self-reliant”. That requires faith and work. But it does not mean that we want to be alone. In the Village, we strongly value the giving and receiving of service within a tightly knit community.
An inspiring talk by Dale G. Renlund starts with the premise that “the greater the distance between the giver and receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement.” Here is a link. The opposite is also true. A generous and direct exchange (both receiving and giving between close associates) is an essential element of community. It strengthens ties, builds individuals, social resiliency and enhances gratitude and happiness.
By institutionalizing the giving and receiving of service through our weekly Village Projects, we remind ourselves of these values and create good habits.
But ritual service is not intended to fulfill all of these needs. It only serves as a catalyst for regular sharing between community members, thereby enhancing a general sense of gratitude, self-reliance and happiness.
Another value of Villagers is a deep commitment to living our religious convictions, whatever they may be. The speaker in this talk goes on to illustrate the principle of distance as it relates to entitlement vs. gratitude in our relationships with God.
We believe that social relationships are important, whether with family, neighbors or deity. In healthy relationships, there is no room for entitlement, only gratitude that brings us closer together.
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