Posts Tagged ‘Community’
I often ask myself, “What would Irv and Ruth do?”
That question comes to mind when I’m trying to decide whether or not to get behind a community project – especially projects that take more tax dollars.
Irv and Ruth Hayden are lifetime family friends and parents of my boyhood friend and current golf partner, Paul.
Irv and Ruth, like many people from Atwood and my home, Longmont, have a community first rather than me first approach to the world. I contrast this to a friend who I had lunch with recently. He told me he was “selfish” when it comes to public policy issues. He was unapologetic when he gave a for instance, “If it (a tax increase) benefits my kids’ school, I’m interested. If it’s for someone else’s kids, not so interested.” He said out loud what many of us may think but would never dare put into words.
That’s not Irv and Ruth’s approach. I was back in Atwood last summer (maybe the summer before) a few days before a vote to increase sales taxes to fund a new swimming pool. Displayed prominently in the Hayden’s yard across the street from my parents’ house was a homemade yard sign. I don’t remember exactly what the sign said but something to the effect of, “Vote yes for the pool. The next generation deserves it, too.”
Irv and Ruth are in their eighties. Only two of their seven children live in Rawlins County. None of their grandchildren call Atwood home. A new swimming pool will not likely boost property values – often an argument made to get people behind a new tax. Irv and Ruth’s support for a new tax will most likely diminish and not boost the size of their personal estate.
There are many other people in Atwood in their sixties, seventies, and eighties who supported the pool tax about which the same things can be said.
Irv and Ruth, and others, don’t use self-interest as the criteria to evaluate community projects and new taxes. It’s not about, “What’s in it for me?” The question Irv and Ruth are asking is, “What’s best for the community.” And not just what’s best for the community this year or next. Irv and Ruth are asking what kind of community do we want this place to be in ten, twenty or forty years from now.
My family is the beneficiary of people who took the long view in Longmont, Colorado. People who I never knew invested in parks, community rose gardens and reservoirs. More recent community leaders rallied the community behind rec centers, museums, and ice rinks. Early residents of Longmont planted trees in our neighborhood that now tower over our home and provide us beauty and shade. Those who invested their time and money to place these treasures in our yard never saw what they grew to become. That’s taking the long view.
It can be hard to look beyond our personal needs and interests. It can be especially difficult during tough economic times. What’s more, not every idea for a community project that reaches the ballot is a good idea. Sometimes the best thing to do is vote no on new taxes.
But, it is the long view – people asking the question, “What kind of community do we want this place to be in ten, twenty or forty years from now – that creates wonderful communities to raise children and grow old. Places like Atwood and Longmont.
John and Joni Creighton were married on August 19, 1989 in St. John’s Catholic Church in rural Rawlins County. In twenty years of marriage, they have lived in Boston, Massachusetts; Falls Church, Virginia; Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado. They have called Longmont, Colorado home since 2001. Both John (1983) and Joni (1986) are graduates of Atwood High School.
John is the son of Robert and Barbara (Wilson) Creighton. He was born in Atwood on October 11, 1964. He followed the family tradition (fifth generation) attending the University of Kansas where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in economics and business administration in 1987. He received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1990.
John worked on Governor Mike Hayden’s campaign staff in 1986 and 1990. For the past 20 years, John has worked as a public leadership consultant with a focus on public opinion research. He worked for The Harwood Institute for Public Innovations from 1991-1999. John founded his own consulting firm in 1999. Most recently, John agreed to write for the community section of the online edition of a major national newspaper.
John is active in Longmont, too. He was elected to the St. Vrain Valley School District board of education in 2007, the same year he succeeded his father as president of the High Plains Bank Holding Company.
Joni is the daughter of John and Betty (Rooney) Mickey. She was born in Atwood on May 20, 1968. She was a member of the Atwood High School state cross country championship team in 1986.
Joni attended Kansas State University and graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Maryland in 1994. She worked in the emergency room of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, as a floor nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland and as a research nurse in Boulder, Colorado.
John and Joni have three children, Emma Cloe born on May 26, 1997; Joseph Paul born on August 7, 1999; and Ada Grace born on December 18, 2001. All three children were born in Boulder, Colorado. Emma, Joe and Ada Grace hold the distinction of having two grandparents serve as Mayor of Atwood – Bob Creighton, 1983-1991 and Betty Mickey, 1999-present (Betty is the first woman and longest serving Mayor in Atwood history). The children enjoy visiting Atwood where they take swimming lessons most summers.
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Submitting to The Rawlins County History Book
Bob and Lavina Creighton were married October 5, 2002 in Skiatook, Oklahoma. Bob and Lavina reconnected after the death of Bob’s first wife Barbara (Wilson) Creighton. The two were classmates from seventh through twelfth grades in Flagler, Colorado dating for a time during their senior year of high school. They re-entered each other’s lives at their fifty year high school reunion.
Bob and Lavina had many adventures traveling the country. They visited each of the 50 state capitals and all 105 county court houses in Kansas. It was Bob’s longtime dream to put together a photo collection of these civic landmarks and he was able to accomplish this goal with Lavina’s support. Lavina even convinced Bob to travel to Alaska and Hawaii, not on the original photo tour itinerary, so his collection would be complete.
Bob had two sons, Alec and John, with his wife Barbara as noted elsewhere in this volume.
After graduating from Flagler High School, Lavina attended Colorado State University before marrying Loren Patton of Scott City, Kansas. She and Loren had four children: Mike Patton and his wife Maggie live in Scott City; David Patton and his wife Tonya live in Kennewick, Washington; Debbie Dunbar and her husband Larry live in Skiatook, Oklahoma, and Todd Patton and his wife Marci live in Scott City. Lavina has eleven grand-children and two great-grandchildren.
Lavina has lived in a number of communities over the course of her life. In addition to Flagler, she spent some childhood years and many years of her adult life in Scott City. She has also lived in Gunnison, Colorado and Skiatook, Oklahoma. While living in Skiatook, Lavina worked for Barn Dandies, a children’s furniture company, doing all of the company’s sewing and upholstery work.
Bob and Lavina enjoyed five wonderful years of marriage before Bob’s life was cut short on April 5, 2005. It was one of Bob’s great joys to bring Lavina to Atwood, where she embraced the community and the community embraced her. Lavina often says that the greatest gift Bob gave her was Atwood.
Lavina continues to live in their home in Atwood. She is a member of the Courts of Praise church, manages finances for the Atwood Second Century Fund and serves on the Atwood Public Library Board. Lavina enjoys spending time with her friends in Atwood, visiting her children and grand-children and traveling.
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Submitting to The Rawlins County History Book
Bob and Barbara Creighton came to Atwood in search of a town in which they and their children could play a vital role and they found what they sought. They were proud to call Atwood home until the time of their deaths.
Robert Atkinson Creighton and Barbara Lee Wilson made their home in Atwood in 1960. They raised two sons who now have families of their own – Alec, his wife Christie and their children Ben and Rachel of Fort Morgan, Colorado and John, his wife Joni and their children, Emma, Joe and Ada Grace of Longmont, Colorado.
Barbara was a homemaker, mother, grandmother and active in the community. She served as president of P.E.O., Union Club, and Town & Country Guild, was a volunteer reader to Atwood first graders and the 1991 starter of the Lake Atwood Ten Mile race. She served on the boards of the Atwood Public Library, Kansas Quilters’ Organization, and High Plains Banking Group in Colorado. Barbara enjoyed needlework, gardening, genealogy, and was an avid reader.
Barbara stood toe-to-toe with breast cancer on two occasions. She beat the odds and triumphed over the disease in 1987. She was able to enjoy 15 additional years of life and spend time with all of her five grand-children. Barbara passed away on May 28, 2002 in the company of her husband and sons.
Bob was given the opportunity to practice law in Atwood by Forest W. Brown. His law partner when he retired in August 2005 was Charles Peckham. Bob worked with his secretary Margaret (Kanak) Hagler for 27 years.
Bob gave up competitive running in the late 1980s and focused on his law practice, banking and public service. Bob served as president of the High Plains Bank Holding Company based in his boyhood home of Flagler, Colorado. He was appointed by Governor Mike Hayden to the Kansas Board of Regents, which he served as chairman. He also served on the Kansas Hospital Closure Commission, Kansas Commission of Judicial Qualifications, Board of Governors of the KU Law School and to the Kansas University Hall Center for the Humanities Advisory Board.
In June 2005, Bob was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He always said, “If complaining would help, I’d shout the loudest. But the truth is you get the years you get.” Bob passed away on April 5, 2007 leaving behind his wife Lavina, two sons and their families.
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Submitting to The Rawlins County History Book
The Rawlins County History Book Committee is collecting family and group histories for Rawlins County History Vol. III. August 15, 2009 is the deadline to submit material.
I have been working on a few entries – my family and Joni’s family. Vol. I and Vol. II were great publications. A great way to learn about friends and neighbors, old and new.
For those of you with Rawlins County roots… don’t miss your chance to be part of history.
You can contact one of the following people for more information.
Virgie Burk 785-626-3452
Gertie Kastens -9223
Diana Tongish -3051
Wendy (Holmdahl) Fields -3322
Gaylen Horinek -3788
Gene Horinek -3636
Shirley Organ -3087
Irene Vap -3793
Ada Lee Cox -3891
Prudence Bell -2278
Gleneva Higley -3797
The Atwood Jamboree golf tournament is one of my favorite weekends of the year.
It is the weekend each year I spend time with old friends. We tell the same jokes and laugh like it’s the first time we heard them. That’s part of what makes the Jamboree and the weekend special. It’s familiar. Old friends, old jokes, old routines. It is a weekend that I truly relax.
My friend Karl Spiecker, formerly of Longmont and now Colorado Springs, is a regular at the tournament, too. A few years back Karl had a magical weekend a la Tom Watson in this year’s British Open. On Saturday, Karl shot the best round of golf he’s ever played. Saturday night, his ticket was drawn for the putting contest. On Sunday, he made the first putt to qualify for the big money shot. He rimmed out the putt for $2,500 to the groan of the crowd. He didn’t make a putt the rest of the day.
The title of this post comes from one of the familiar jokes we tell each year.
On Sundays, on hole number two, teams are given the option of shooting a clay pigeon or playing the hole. Most of the golfers in Atwood are better shots with a gun than a club. As we approach the tee off box, my playing partner of the past 20 years, Paul Hayden, shouts, “Nothing like alcohol and firearms to make a good golf tournament.” We all laugh.
Paul and my sixsome of the past few years – the Bowles brothers, Worthy and Ol’ Crow – laugh a lot over the course of the weekend. Paul reminds everyone about the pecking order, “Bowles… you’re the second best putter here.” Or calls out to groups passing on another hole, “Sandbaggers!”
The Bowles brothers play the best golf in our group usually contending for the Championship Flight title. But, Paul and I are no slouches ourselves. We have all the qualities of the great golfers.
We’re dedicated. We both play 45 holes a year counting the 36 holes we play in the Jamboree. Sometimes we only play 40 if we exit the Friday night shootout on an early hole. I used to play a practice round in Longmont before the Jamboree. But I’ve learned not to over prepare.
We’re competitive. We scratch our way into the fourth flight every year. We finish ahead of at least eight or nine teams of the 50 entered every year. The big drivers they make these days have helped us stay at the top of the bottom flight.
We’re consistent. We shoot between 72 and 75 every round we play – Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes our effort is a little unorthodox. Last year, for instance, we completed the first nine holes on Saturday in 32 strokes – we don’t quite have the sandbagging thing down. The second nine we had to use two tosses of the ball and two mulligan’s (legal in this tournament) to scratch out a 42. But there we were with our normal 74.
We’re poised under pressure. One year Paul and I won the Friday night shootout – a process of elimination game in which the low score on each hole is forced to retire. It was a nail biter. We tied with our competition on the final hole. We both shot 10 on the par five number three. We we’re the only team to get it on the green in the chip off.
We’re resourceful. We’re more than willing to shell out a few dollars to save a stroke. It costs five dollars for two shots at the clay pigeon on Sunday. If we hit the pigeon, and earn a birdie on the hole, it is guaranteed to save us at least one stroke, maybe two. Last year it took us three tries and 15 dollars but we saved the stroke. I thought Paul was a much better shot.
And, most important of all, we’re a good bet. On Saturday nights, the teams are auctioned off in a Calcutta. The teams in each Calcutta group that improve the most on the second day win money. Paul and I finish in the money about one out of every three years. I don’t want to drive our price up but I’m just saying, better odds than Vegas.
As an aside for those of you who might be curious. I once asked my Dad if the Calcutta is a legal activity. Here’s what he had to say, “When I was county attorney I was at the Calcutta. George Beims (the police chief) was there, too. No one said anything so it must be legal.” Good enough for me.
The Atwood Jamboree, along with my kids’ birthdays, is one of the few things on my calendar that I will not negotiate. The first weekend of August each year (except when the Olympics are held in the United States) I’ll be in Atwood.
I can’t wait.
Dad would give us an update on “community news” most days over lunch. He took his coffee break around 10:30 in the morning at Currier Drug. The twenty or thirty minutes in the drug store booth rolling dice (horses) and sipping coffee was a daily ritual for many folks in town. It was the place where Dad caught up on a variety of tidbits about people’s lives – illnesses, vacations, quality of the crops, achievements of children who’d moved from Atwood. He’d share this news with us over our noon meal (that’s what Dad called it, never lunch or dinner).
The group at Currier’s was different every day. There were regulars like Dad but the folks who shared his booth were never exactly from one day to the next. That’s was part of the appeal. He could catch up with one person on a Monday and someone else on a Tuesday.
The news from Currier Drug was seldom momentous. Some people might call it trivial or perhaps even gossip. But the news exchanged at Currier’s and other coffee spots in town is the kind of knowledge that binds loose networks of people into a community of friends and neighbors.
We care about people when we come to know the “trivial” details of their lives – and the lives of their extended families. Nurturing these bonds does not require long and intimate conversations. Just a snippet of news now and again at a chance encounter in the drug store or café is more than sufficient.
That’s why places like Currier Drug are so important to the civic health of a community. Ray Oldenburg wrote a whole book about it called, The Great Good Place.
Homemakers (as the job was called when I was a boy) like my mom did not take part in the coffee break ritual in the same way as people with paying jobs. He could be harder to keep up with the news. That’s why women’s clubs and coffee at the house was so important. It also is one reason we went to the post office to pick up our mail. It would have been far more convenient to have the mail delivered to the house (believe me I pointed this out on several occasions). But the daily trip to the post office was an excuse to get out of the house and a chance to “run into” someone for a little news.
Now, full confession, when I was sent to pick up the mail at the post office I was always a little leery. I didn’t get cornered by an adult in a game of twenty questions. I just wanted to get in and get out. I am guilt of peeking in the post office door to make sure that there was no one “chatty” inside who would slow me down.
Small town folks, when they are candid, will tell you that trips to the grocery store also must be carefully planned. If you have a busy day, the last thing you want to do is get caught in “rush hour” at Williams Bros. Who’s reading this from Atwood who hasn’t tried to slip in and out of the grocery without getting chatted up?
I thought often about the post office when I first subscribed to AOL in the late 90s. Several friends and acquaintances had AOL in those days (I don’t think my kids have even heard of AOL). The instant messaging feature on AOL was cool – except when it wasn’t. I loved the chance to have a quick visit with friends like Matt Cunningham during the middle of my work day half a continent away. Sometimes, though, I’d be in a hurry and a friend might “see” me online. The next thing I’d know, “bing,” I had a message begging for an instant response. I felt it was rude to ignore the person or say,”Gotta go.” So, to avoid being rude, I tried to figure out how to “peek” in AOLs door just like I did the post office so long ago.
But, I digress…
Facebook has some of the qualities of a Currier Drug. It is a place to pick up a little bit of news from a loose network of “friends.” People sometimes ask why anyone would care about what people write on Facebook – it’s just trivia and gossip. I learned in Atwood thirty years ago, that’s the kind of information communities share. It’s what keeps people feeling a sense of connection to one another during those gaps when longer visits aren’t possible or when more meaningful interactions are not needed. In that sense, trivial information is not trivial at all.
Nothing will or can replace a face-to-face relationship and a virtual community can never quite replace a geographic community – or at least I hope that it doesn’t. But, Facebook has provided a fun way to hear tidbits of news from friends, literally across the globe. I sometimes share that news with my family over our evening meal (Dad’s name for supper). It feels very familiar.
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Currier Drug from Decision Weather website
Atwood Post Office by courthouselover on Flickr
“Atwood must be the happiest place in America. Everybody’s so kind. People help each other. Lessons are learned. It was a wonderful experience. I appreciate that person so much…”
“Where’s the dark side? Where’s the pain and suffering? Where’s the betrayal?”
These weren’t the exact words but do capture the sentiment I heard at a dinner party earlier this month. A good friend was having fun teasing me about this blog. The conversation was actually pretty funny.
I promised my friend I would try to come up with something with more of an edge. But, so far, I’ve failed. I tried. But, the words just don’t come to me. The sentences don’t string together.
Atwood is not the happiest place in America. It’s no more or less happy than other places I’ve lived. But, it is the place where I first learned what happiness is.
Atwood is a place where sometimes school children are mercilessly teased and bullied while grownups look the other way. It is a place where people who are different are sometimes ostracized. Intolerance exists. It is a place where some people fail to follow through on their commitments and where mediocrity is too often tolerated. It is a place where some spouses are unfaithful and friends betray one another in ways small and large. And, it is a place where some people object to civic progress.
Just like every other place I’ve lived.
Atwood also is a place where people are generous and kind. It is a place where people go out of their way to help neighbors (even annoying neighbors) when help is needed most. It is a place where people who are scarred can find refuge and comfort, accepted for who they are. It is a place where children are nurtured and loved. It is the home of accomplished business people, inventors, scholars and artisans. It is a place where strong marriages last 50 and 60 years and where friends support one another in ways small and large. And, it is a place where people rally for the good of the community.
Just like every other place I’ve lived.
I agree that moral depravity and human heart ache make for a good read. Most best sellers contain one or the other or both. I’m just not that good at writing about these things.
I’ve been extremely fortunate in my life. The hardships I’ve faced (knock wood) have been of the minor variety. That is why I am inspired by people who are able to overcome major hardships.
Beyond that, I believe we have a choice in life. We can see in our experiences positive lessons and new opportunities. Or, we can see roadblocks and the negative. I am impressed by the people who make it a point to see possibilities. That’s why I try to live by the standard: the glass is half full.
My wife, Joni, even got me a shirt to represent this attitude. I found the hat later. When I put them together, I have a full glass.
I don’t always live up to the standard of seeing the glass half full – at least not as often as I’d like. I can spot the negative and spout out the cynical comment with the best of them. But, I’m hopeful that I will continue to see the glass half full more often than not.
I’ve quoted from the book Rain of Gold, by Victor Villasenor. It is appropriate here again. The quote that stands out in my mind is made by Dona Margarita. Dona Margarita calls a family meeting. This is a woman who has lost several children to war. She is nearly blind. Her grandchildren are crying with hunger. They have no home. No money. With all these hardships, Dona Margarita says to her family, “We must open our hearts so that we can see the possibilities in our predicament. If we do not look for the possibilities, we have nothing.”
I think this is true.
Still, in good faith to my promises to my friend Nathan, I will continue search my memory banks for a sinister tale and hope that I can turn it into a good read.
I am passionate about community and democracy. That’s why July is one of my favorite months and the 4th of July is a favorite holiday. I’m such a geek about these things that, at times to my children’s chagrin, I read them portions of The Declaration of Independence each July 4th.
We all know that those who signed The Declaration of Independence did far more than declare our nation’s freedom. They set an example. They demonstrated the hard work that is required to build a nation – and for that matter to build communities. It takes a lot of effort to find common ground. The Founding Fathers spent week upon week in the sweltering heat of Philadelphia.
I am grateful for the sense of community my family has found in Longmont. When we arrived in town, we were made to feel welcome in countless ways by generous neighbors. The circle of people with whom we feel connected expands with each passing year. For my children, Longmont will be one of the most cherished kinds of community – their home town.
Community is among our most basic human needs. Psychology studies suggest that a sense of community ranks among the biggest factors affecting people’s happiness, behind only family relationships, financial security, and meaningful work. Community even ranks ahead of health.
While those of us who grew up on the High Plains boast about our independent nature and are skeptical of psychology studies, we know that much of what we cherish in life requires community effort.
I’m passionate about community for its own sake and the happiness it bestows upon my family. But I care, too, because healthy communities are a prerequisite for a healthy democracy. This is true at all levels of democracy – national, state and local.
Recent social science research suggests that today people tend to define their communities more narrowly than in the past. To understand why, we must consider the foundation for a healthy community: shared values.
To greater extents, we all live in value enclaves. We tend to associate with people who see the world in narrowly similar ways as we do. Our patterns of association are reinforced by niche media – talk radio, cable television, internet, all forms of print – whose primary purpose is to diminish the reputation of “the other side.” It is as if an industry has been built on hatefulness.
Language that disparages people who hold different views serves one central purpose. It conveys the message that “those people” are not part of our community. They do not share our values. They are outsiders and should be shunned.
There is nothing quite so damning as labeling someone an outsider.
Conventional wisdom today seems to hold that it is impossible for a nation as diverse as ours to find common ground. We are and will continue to be hopelessly divided.
I disagree. In my work, I have the good fortune to talk to people from all walks of life. There are a core set of values that are important to us all. Among these values are security, opportunity, family, dignity and personal freedom – not to mention community.
The question is not whether we still hold values in common. Rather, are we willing to make the effort to discover and focus on our shared values? Or, will we allow civic sloth to prevail.
That’s the rub when it comes to community. Like any relationship it takes work to keep it healthy. Sometimes, a lot of hard work. And, while it’s always easier to be lazy, there’s typically a high price to pay in the end.
I submit that the future of our democracy depends as much on our willingness to focus on common values and build healthy communities as anything else we might do.
We need this foundation to sustain democratic decision making. The alternative is an all too familiar stalemate in which we ignore the most crucial issues and focus on petty differences.
We will always have disagreements within our communities. There will always be those who insist on being contemptuous in their speech and behavior. But, the ability to disagree – even passionately – in a constructive way begins with a firm commitment to our commonalities.
It’s worth the effort.
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This piece was originally published in the Longmont Daily Times Call in July 2006.
I am currently working with community organizations in Detroit and Battle Creek, Michigan. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Michigan in my career. But, this is the first time in about 10 years.
In the late 1990s, I spent a good deal of time in Flint. It is a place where I learned that, sometimes, it is very hard to find common ground with other people. But, it’s worth the effort.
Flint is a city that has faced more than its share of hardships. Once a place to which people would flock from across the country, even world, in hopes of working for General Motors, it is now a city commonly disparaged.
Over recent years, the city has had to grabble with high rates of unemployment, crime and severe racial tensions.
I had the opportunity to work with a group of non-profit executives who were meeting on a monthly basis to figure out ways to collaborate. The effort was going nowhere fast.
Everyone in the group had preconceived views of one another. People “knew” each other’s “real” motives.
Indeed, the non-profit community in Flint had a long history of turf wars driven in part by the racial tensions that plagued the whole community. Many of the executives at the table made little effort to work together. Their behavior was so passive-aggressive it was embarrassing.
After several months of no progress, those of us trying to husband collaboration were on the verge of calling off the effort. More than once I sat in my hotel room at night and wondered why in the hell I was in Flint rather than at home with my family.
As a last ditch effort, we decided to change the agenda for our December meeting. We told the group there would be no business oriented conversations. Instead, we would have a potluck.
The non-profit executives were told to bring a favorite dish and be prepared to answer one question: Why do you live in Flint? That’s the one thing they all had in common.
People were skeptical of the idea at first. So, to get buy in, we promised people we’d stick to a schedule: Each person would have 10 minutes to talk about why they lived in Flint.
The first person spoke for 15 minutes. The second person brought pictures of her childhood home in Flint. She spoke for 20 minutes about her 50 years in the community. The third person, an amateur ventriloquist, brought his dummy to help tell his story. Forty minutes later it was clear that not everyone would have a chance to tell a story on this night. But no one cared.
The group was having genuine fun together. A woman in the group asked the others if they wanted to continue the potluck at her home. Everyone agreed. That night in my hotel room I was glad to be in Flint. It was my best night there.
Day two of the potluck was just as powerful as the first. The group laughed together and there was a tear shed on more than one occasion. I can’t even tell you how long we met.
Trust formed over those two nights. The group was able to look beyond professional turf and the color of one another’s skin to focus on a common love. The non-profit executives were no longer executives. On those nights they were just folks who called Flint home.
Flint still faces more than its share of challenges. The executives who took part in this initiative still get tired and discouraged. But now they have someone to turn to that they didn’t have before. Many of the executives continue to meet for breakfast on a semi-regular basis to offer each other encouragement, swap ideas and occasionally do work together.
As for me, this experience taught me the value of taking the time to do the hard work to find common ground. And, sometimes all that takes is a little food and a few good stories.
Perhaps, not such hard work after all.