Because of my love for language and the derivation of words — and because of what I continue to learn about the incredible power and the singular value of community through our work at LVVS — I found myself thinking about the derivation of the word: community.

The word, of course, derives from commune. And regardless of the dictionary you use, you’re likely to find commune defined like this:

commune (verb):
1. to converse or talk together
2. to exchange thoughts or feelings
3. to be in communication or rapport

That’s quite perfect in its applicability to our work. Taking each of those definitions in oder, here’s why I think so:

  1. To converse or talk together. In addition to the fact that we — the members of the organization — speak with each other as our means of sharing ideas, establishing direction, and making plans, we impart that same ability to our students.
  2. To exchange thoughts or feelings. Even without language — even before our students and tutors establish the bonds of verbal communication (there’s that commune word again) — they exchange thoughts and feelings. You can witness it. You can sense it. You can see it here.
  3. To be in communication or rapport. Every time we get the support of — or cooperation from — any individual, organization, for-profit or nonprofit corporation, or business of any size or stripe, we’re establishing communication and rapport. We wouldn’t get that support without establishing both.

This is precisely what we’re doing at LVVS: In conjunction with all of the individuals with whom — and all of the organizations with which — we interact, we’re putting commune in our communication and in the community we share.

Nobody has to tell us to do it. No legislation has to require us to do it. No one needs to remind us to do it. None of us has to be pushed, pulled, cajoled or wheedled. We do it out of compassion for our fellows and because of our commitment to do right things.

If you think that’s not right, try telling it to these folks. They didn’t need to be told. And they know exactly what commune means.

There’s still plenty of time to join them.

Image by johnhain, courtesy of