A. Jordan Rothschild from the Life Paths Research Program is my guest blogger today.
Southerners are known for their hospitality, manners, and overall community-oriented behavior, to the point that Southern Hospitality has become a stereotype. Do small-town Southerners really live up to their reputation as welcoming? As part of a larger study on character development and personal strengths, Life Paths Research Program is working to better understand the many ways that Southerners help out their neighbors. We have found that individuals in the community are interested in helping their neighbors and family in three main categories: donating time, spiritual support, lending a hand.
1) TIME: Even if people don’t have much money to spare, they find other ways to give. Just a few ways that some people contribute to their community include volunteering at a food bank, making meals for neighbors in need, helping a lost animal, and watching over a house for a neighbor. For instance, a majority of people (68%) have picked up an item in town for a friend or looked after a sick relative.
2) SUPPORT: Being in the heart of the Bible Belt, we also found evidence of religious generosity. We found that 75% of males and 68% of females said they gave at least $25 to a charity or church. Many also tried to give spiritual support by offering spiritual advice and praying for friends and family. For example, 69% of females and 63% of males said they participated in a prayer circle or prayed for a sick friend, relative, or fellow church member.