You can sit there and take offense as you read this, similarly, you can instantly dismiss my opinion. Whatever way you choose to deal, or not, it would be a mistake to assume my opinion is a lone one. I hope we can check our attitudes and transcend bias for building a better life together.
At the same time, not everyone has a small town mentality (I would think most don’t) but enough do to make it noticeable. Those that don’t might find courage or see the value of encouraging change of those that do. We can’t just pretend to be a friendly place, we have to be friendly or accept decline.
The small town mentality could come about as innocuously as a bus driver, driving the same route every day could ingrain wrong assumptions. He/she would subconsciously expect certain things to be so. If a traffic light is green 9 out of 10 times he approaches, he will expect the light to be green.
Those that are aware they feel superior, are actually appointing themselves as more deserving. If a fish considers itself important and big because of his wealth or influence, he/she has judged himself against his neighbor. What happens when you expand the barrel? There is always someone…I think everyone knows the rest of this phrase of someone better off than you and there’s always someone worse off than you.
Before I provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts for building a stronger community, consider this first:
If you grow up and live in the same area all your life, you have been blessed with stability and solid roots. If you retire in the same house you grew up in, you’re double blessed because your odds are better for building and keeping lifelong friends. Blessed, in this capacity also means gifts of familiarity, history, intimate knowledge, feelings of connectedness, nostalgia and stuff I haven’t even thought of. Lucky you, that’s worthy of treasuring. On the other hand, an outsider’s input can be objective, valuable and/or priceless.
- Catch yourself saying, “he/she/they’re not from around here.”
- Re-evaluate “this is a close-knit community” and what it actually means.
- Recognize that pretending is pretentious; people have the ability to detect when you’re being disingenuous. There is a difference between acting friendly and being friendly.
- Appreciate that even the people you don’t care for are still helping and contributing in the community.
- Mislead people on purpose.
- Automatically dismiss people/their idea’s/ their opinions if they have no _____ (fill in the blank), in your opinion.
- Assume your community is special and it operates differently or more mysteriously than any other.
- Think for a minute it is comfortable calling attention to something like this!
- You don’t have a valuable think tank if your group is made up of all like-minded people or “yes men”.
- Because you play games with people doesn’t mean they are playing one with you. People can and do get involved for the right reasons.
- If someone tells you they have ideas, that doesn’t mean they have all the answers or that your opinion is obsolete, or that you should feel threatened. The beauty of collaboration is a process of seeking the next bit of brilliance for a variety of reasons (namely solutions). Rarely does it come from one individual, if ever at all.
- Community service does not mean self-service.
After reading this post, you may agree, disagree, don’t know or don’t care. If you’re not part of the solutions, you are either part of the problem or aiding and abetting. Could this be a reason more people don’t get involved in the community?
Next, I’ll delve into the subject of taxes in Blissfield and hope more people want to debate the need to lower them.