In the work we do at CLASS and with the Interdependence Network, we are often talking about the importance of social capital in our lives and how we can help people build more relationships. Of course, this is not an easy task as often perceptions and stereotypes can challenge the process.
While I was musing on this issue I took time to pause and participate in my grandson’s first birthday party a few weeks back. Little Connor was the center of attention at the party, sticking his hands into his cake, enjoying the balloons, and flashing that dazzling smile. And surrounding him were all of our families and friends of the families and over the 2 day celebration there were close to 50 folks who participated.
As I watched all of this it dawned on me, that Connor is well on his way in building social capital. Given the size of our families, and the large range of friends that his mom and dad have, offer him a solid launching pad to relationships. And as he ages, this network will only get bigger as new friendships are added - some developed by his family, and others he begins to develop through the socialization opportunities that will come down the pike.
Further, as he grows and comes to observe his parents and family engaging, he should begin to develop solid relationship building skills that will serve him well over his years. These are all good trends that should make for a strong and successful life for Connor.
From this observation then I noted, no one starts at ground zero in building social capital. We all launch off the backs of our families and the friends they already have amassed. These initial aspects of social capital, the ones we inherit from our family and their friends are the early building blocks for a better life.