Community Cafe promotional: “For people to collaborate in initiating significant community change, they must, first and foremost, talk to each other”.
I confess I sure didn’t much like it when the first speaker at my first table started with her opinion: “Well, Summerland needs to protect itself from all those greedy developers and Realtors that will ruin this town. All they care about is money”.
This of course was a direct criticism against who I am…a Realtor (proud of it!) and a developer (proud of it!).
Kind of threw me off and had my mind racing to hear that right at the start! I was slammed personally by someone who I don’t even know. And, trust me, with a name like Murphy, I did think of a quick response or two! (Obviously, I was glad I didn’t speak out at the time.)
However, the lady’s opinion did serve to chrystallize what Chief Louie had talked about at his Summerland presentation: Generally, people who are aggressive with their negative opinions are not the people who actually contribute much to a community.
Truly, everyone is entitled to state their opinion, but in Chief Louie’s leadership experience, he found the real truth behind hearing an aggressive opinion comes by asking within yourself: “What does this opinionated person actually contribute?”
That question was resoundingly answered for me, when the opinionated woman told the table that she actually was not from Summerland, she was only visiting, but had been invited by someone “who certainly feels the same way”! By definition, then, it seems she would not be contributing much to Summerland since she was “just visiting!”.
I understand that there will be some who will love to take the leap to say “Wow when someone’s opinion disagrees with Murphy, he says they contribute nothing”. Umm, no, not at all.
My point is that I do sincerely believe that we need to make discernments when critical, negative opinions are expressed. Summerland needs to ask the question: “Hey, what does that opinionated person actually contribute?”
Of course it’s part of the process that opinions are stated freely (or yelled and even screamed). But, now more than ever, if Summerland is going to be able to take some steps forward, we must ask the question: “What does this opinionated person actually contribute?”
Some fine examples are the letters to the editor that find fault with pretty much everything! Free country, write the letters, but let’s as readers be responsibe to consider the source: What does that critical person ever actually DO or contribute?”
And, if the answer is “gee, I don’t know” or worse, “they never contribute much of anything”…well, consider the source.
Barbara Thorburn stated in the Review: “All communities need leaders,” she said. “We need people who have a vision and can speak for us and who have the best interests of the community first.”
That statement comes from someone who has contributed, from someone who did do something. And doesn’t that sound incredibly different than “Summerland needs to protect itself from all those greedy developers and Realtors that will ruin this town. All they care about is money.”
Just some examples, but, when you hear those negative, critical voices cry out for attention, please, quietly ask: What do they contribute? What do they DO to try to help this town? And then, consider the source.
PS Remember Chief Louies call: Buck up or Shut up!