Who are the big change-makers we hear about most? Trump or Clinton, Trudeau or Ambrose, Notley, Jean, or Kenney? They all want to bring change. From places of influence in front of cheering crowds with placards or in back rooms building policy, civic and government leaders work hard to bring about a new season of prosperity. Celebrities champion causes, large foundations gather resources, petitions are signed and new campaigns are launched. This is how we are taught to bring about change.
Often bringing about change leaves most people on the sidelines. We’re told to vote, sign or give some money, maybe volunteer. But we’re mostly left feeling like ‘slacktivists.’ We click ‘like’ on a Facebook page, tweet a link, or offer some other small gesture of goodwill towards a cause we marginally feel is important. But is this increasingly passive change-making culture producing the kind of hope we really long for? Will the good and beautiful life we wish to create in Chestermere and in our neighbourhoods really come through low-involvement efforts?
I love this quote by Anne Lamott, she says, “This is how we make important changes– barely, poorly, slowly.”
It’s true. Change may have its beginning in reading an online article and clicking the ‘like’ button. However creating a truly unique, kind, entrepreneurial, and blossoming city culture sprouts only when we contribute in personal, consistent, ongoing ways. We do not have to be experts and our work does not have to be showy or impressive, we begin by being attentive, present, and active in the places where we live.
A friend of mine once said that if you want to change something, including yourself, adopt the 100-cups-of-coffee approach. Want a better career? Invite people in that industry out for a cup of coffee with you. Want to build a community project? Drink more coffee and listen to others. Do you feel there is a problem in the place where you live? You guessed it, find a corner at your local coffee shop and talk it through. These incremental connections build trust, develop friendships, dispel rumours, and create new opportunities.
The lasting ways in which we make Chestermere a better place to live is done “barely, poorly, slowly.” We may bumble and fumble through, but we always show grace when we do. We are making this city beautiful, together.
We are a city of gracious change-makers. How can you be a change-maker in Chestermere today? What small and ongoing actions can you take to offer a taste of the kind of community we believe we can become?