Community and the Pack

I’ve noticed something about the Peanut. It is remarkably easier to get her to do something she is supposed to do at Elizabeth’s house in front of her “pseudo-siblings.” Like eat her dinner and not throw things on the floor, or pick up toys, or say thank you and not throw fits. She just behaves better over there.

My mom spent this week helping out (thanks mom!) and I told her about this observation. Well yeah, she said, it is the pack mentality. The Peanut is a part of that pack, so she is going to act in a way that identifies with the pack. Lucky for me her pack is generally well behaved. So she picks up this good behavior.

I remember feeling this way as a kid, particularly at my grandparent’s lake house. There are just things that Frances do! And when I didn’t behave the way I was supposed to I felt particular shame because I wasn’t acting the way I was expected too, I wasn’t aligning myself with the pack of cousins.

The pack mentality is particularly evident when you teach in the vastly different communities that I have taught in. If you are a students, at Roswell, it is just easier to do what you are supposed to do. Because everyone else is following the rules and you will stand out for not doing the right thing. At Banneker, the opposite was true. It took a lot of resistance to the pack to consistently do what you were supposed to do.

In some ways I think this is why God wants us in community with other believers. It is easier to live a Godly life when I identify with a Godly group. Because I identify with 1027 church and one of their goals is to give generously of their time, then it is easier for me to do the same personally and not just corporately. It aligns me with the pack. Heck, one of the things my church says is important is telling my story. I’m not sure it is a coincidence that more than one of us has a blog. It is part of who we are. It aligns us with the intentions of our pack.

I know pack mentality isn’t always a good thing. I teach teenagers, believe me, I know. But if you choose your pack wisely…..I think it can be. How many times have you heard parents say “we don’t do that.” Identifying the rule as a family behavior pattern helps.

Who is your pack?

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