A positive approach

…a comment from the Claresholm Local Press

There are different ways of doing things, and last week had two very instructive examples of positive, effective ways of communicating and helping the community.

The first was at last Monday’s town council meeting when a resident of Mountain View Estates appeared as a delegation to talk about the need for more road maintenance in an area more familiarly known as the acreages, on the southwest edge of Claresholm.

Now, he could have come in wielding a sword, berating council for not having done much in the past, not addressing a situation that has been a problem that has been a concern for years, and being critical of the fact the roads were not built properly in the first place.

He did none of that.

He could have also taken his case to social media, where there is no filter, and complained about the bad roads, how awful the town is, and how this situation has gone on “forever”. This likely would have unleashed a torrent of people with no fear or shame on social media who would have just piled on and turned the situation into a big complaint session about things the town has or has not done over  the years.

He did not do that either.

In fact, Darcy Erickson is an example of the way residents can practise responsible and, well, civil citizenship.

He laid out his concerns in a clear concise manner in writing. Then he requested to be heard as a delegation at town council. He arrived a few minutes early at town council, waited his turn, and presented his case in a calm, civil manner.

He provided some history, but was not levelling any blame, or trying to re-live the past, or being critical of anyone or anything. Instead he was trying to provide context for an issue.

Then, he did what too many critics and complainers fail to do – he offered a clear, achievable solution.

If you looked at council, they were attentive, nodding their heads, and the mayor identified with the situation, having seen it for himself.

Had this matter been taken to social media, the result would have been – nothing. Council, who have the authority to actually address the situation, would not have heard the concern. Worse, if councillors, who may or may not be on social media, had read a stream of negativity that is not constructive, they may not have been disposed to listening. If they did read a concern, they would have suggested – writing a letter to council or talking to someone at the town.

The second example was at last week’s chamber of commerce meeting.

Director Keith Armstrong came across an idea he saw being used in a different community that may help draw people to Claresholm, wander around town, and have fun. It is called the mystery town tour.

Essentially, people are given clues to solve a mystery in a town, then go through that community looking for clues to solve a mystery. It has so many simple, positive benefits.

The point though, is that Armstrong did not start one sentence with, “You should…”. Instead, he contacted the organizers and is receiving more information. He did the same thing with the postage stamp contest the chamber is currently doing. He saw the idea, and took the initiative to make it happen. He presented a clear, constructive approach and showed initiative.

These two examples of open, face to face communication are the positive approach that creates positive change and makes our community better. Their positive approach should be an example to us all. ~RSV