People often talk about “the real meaning of Christmas” with a vague air of unease that perhaps the things we focus on as a society are not quite meeting our human needs.
A wealth of new academic learning from across the disciplines is currently helping us understand that far from the “dog eat dog”, competitive image we may have of ourselves, human beings are naturally social animals, who despite our individual vulnerability survived and succeeded as a species through our ability to work together for the common good.
Our wellbeing is intrinsically linked to our relationships, both with our family, but also, importantly, with our community. A lack of social support in relation to inequality and marginalisation, has an important part to play in the development of children and the wellbeing of individuals and families.
If we focus on “family values” we miss the point, that wider society’s support, or lack thereof, has a profound effect on how families, and in particular, children, thrive.
“For the common good” is Green Party of England and Wales’ new tagline. With it comes an understanding of how all people are interdependent, the wellbeing of each of us fundamentally bound up with how society at large supports us. It runs counter to the current neo-liberal idea that humans are, and should be, driven by individualism.
It should be obvious, and at the same time it is an almost revolutionary concept: We are all responsible for each other’s wellbeing.
So this holiday season, let’s extend our caring and sharing to a wider idea of community and remember that our own wellbeing, and that of each generation, is tied to the support and wellbeing of others.