Photo credit: Judy Griesdieck
We all need others in our lives who care about us, and care deeply, yet too many people are leading isolated and lonely lives. In a GHC, all adults strive to provide for each other and for the children consistent, predictable, nurturing relationships that foster well-being even in times of change, crisis, or suffering.
Caring relationships are essential to happiness. As GHC residents tell us, they can even transform a person’s life. Jim, A GHC resident, spoke about the transformation in his life due to relationships.
We have been at Hope for almost four years… We had retired and we were undecided as to what we wanted to do. You get to a point in your life; you know you feel like, ‘Well, I am used up. Nothing’s left.’
But then we got involved with Hope… It’s so gratifying to see the changes in these children and to feel like we have a part in that. We see the children come in and realize the needs they have. They are so hungry for love and attention. And then we give this to them. And it is so rewarding.
I know the primary focus is on the children, but they also make us feel so good because they are concerned about us. I can hardly step outdoors without one of the children asking, ‘How is Grandma Mary doing? Is she feeling okay?’ And they are real concerned…. Things like that make you feel a part of something.
Caring, sharing communities
In a caring community there is an atmosphere of cooperation and connectedness – a spirit of shared or collective responsibility where there is awareness that neighbors need and care about each other. As one GHC elder said:
We share about the children, you know, talk about the children. We talk about the children at breakfast and when we go out for lunch. We sit up there in the library and talk. If we come across a minor problem, we talk it over. I’ll call and I’ll say, “Well, what do you think I should do?” We help each other with the kids. You helped me last week, you know, and I’ll help you. That’s what we do. We share. It’s caring an sharing. It’s a caring and sharing community.
GHCs embrace the power of relationships, believing that caring relationships and caring communities give life its deepest significance.