When we moved into our house about 11 1/2 years ago, my dad told me to never enclose the porch.
He wasn’t saying it because of how it would affect the value of the house. He was saying it because in this day and age we have lost our front porches.
The front porch is where you sit and have a glass of sweet tea with your neighbors.
The front porch is where you hang out with your family.
The front porch is a place of community.
And my dad is right, we have lost that.
Look around you, how many houses do you see being built today with big front porches? Not many. The front porch has been replaced with the deck in the back yard, and surrounded by a privacy fence.
It all leads back to the individualization of our society.
We don’t live in community anymore. We live our own lives, surrounded by our own stuff, and cut off from the rest of the human world.
We say we are more connected through social media, but we are not.
We have lost the art of face-to-face communication.
But that is where my front porch comes in.
I love to sit on my porch swing, read a book, crochet, and sip a cold (or warm) drink. But I love it even more when members of my family join me. I love it even more when my neighbors come outside and we chat for a bit. I love it even more when some of our friends and/or neighbors join us on the porch for conversation and a bowl of soup.
This is how you live in community – you make yourself available and you choose to interact face-to-face with the people around you.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my iPhone, iPad, Facebook and Twitter as much as the next person, but it feels so much more real to sit on my swing, laugh, share stories, and share life with the people I love, the people I live near, and the people with whom I live.
And these are the memories that stay with me, these real-life moments with family and friends.
How are you instituting “porch time” in your life? How are you purposing to spend time with the people you love and get to know the people who live near you? I would love to hear your stories.