Susan posted the following on her neighborhood FPF in Essex Junction this week. She issues a great challenge. Are you up for it in your community and on your FPF?
I’d like to offer a one-week challenge for our neighborhood Front Porch Forum. Before we get to the challenge, though, here is a brief story I heard a while ago.
Two newcomers move into town. One of their first trips is to the local grocery store. They ask the cashier, “what’s it like around here?” The cashier pauses, “what was it like where you used to live?” “Oh, we lived in a great neighborhood. People were warm and friendly, you could trust your neighbors, and we felt very safe.” “Well,” responds the cashier, “you’re in luck. Your new neighborhood is just like that!” Some time later, two more newcomers move to town, visit the same grocery store, and ask the cashier the same question. When the cashier asks how it was where they used to live, they reply, “It was an awful place. You couldn’t trust anyone, the neighbors were unfriendly and we never felt safe there.” “Well,” responds the cashier, “I’m sorry to say that you’ll find your new neighborhood is just like that!”
OK, that was the story, here’s the challenge. What if we tried to go for one full week without a single negative post or complaint on our FPF? We could see if there are enough positive and interesting things happening around here to occupy a full week of posts. And, after the week is up, what if we could find a more productive way to discuss the legitimate concerns that inevitably arise? What if our starting place is to assume good intentions on the part of our neighbors, municipal staff and elected officials? What if we could focus more on the issues on less on personalities? What if we could make an effort to ask more questions and gain more understanding before forming our opinions? What if, when we post a concern, we also include a possible solution? It’s been said, “democracy is a conversation, and how we talk to one another is as important as what we talk about and what conclusions we reach.” This is hard work sometimes, especially when the issues are complex and people hold a wide range of viewpoints.
What if we start practicing start right now with something relatively easy; a single week of positive news?