With devasting events occurring nationally, and challenges we face right here at home, now is the time to come together for the collective good. Our perspectives may not always align, and we may come from “different ships,” but let’s be patient with each other. I have a tendency to express my thoughts before listening fully to others. This has been the case since I first learned to talk! Therefore, know that I’m writing this letter to myself as much as I am to you.
One specific local dialogue has centered around the youth artwork painted on the traffic control box on Main Street. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the artists’ statements that motivated these students’ art submissions which include themes of diversity, inclusion and kindness. And I recognize that to some in our community, the images generate discord, anxiety and political ideology. This is a real example of challenging conversations we are having in communities across our nation.
Even in Zionsville, we live in a community where citizens hold different viewpoints on national events. The truth is, every community can be described in this way. Perhaps we are wrestling with our different perspectives more openly than we have in the past. This is okay. As we have these conversations, let’s strive to listen as much as we contribute to them. Let’s agree to disagree and still look upon each other as neighbors. Let’s be kind and provide a good example to our youth.
As I write this letter, Boone County has moved into the “red” for COVID-19 transmission. With regard to COVID-19, we are all in the same boat. Mask up, stay socially distant and wash your hands frequently. Please make your plan for obtaining the vaccine when you are able to do so. Reach out to neighbors and those who are eligible to help them book their appointment online or by phone. How we move forward is inherently a team effort. We need to care for each other so we can move beyond this.
Acts of kindness and compassion energize and support our community. Resiliency depends on these characteristics showing up in every corner of our experiences. Health, economics, relationships all benefit from building stronger social networks and a greater sense of community belonging. If we can start this year focused on kindness as first priority in all situations, then we are most definitely off to a good start.