The Holiday Weekend

I just ran through today’s Chron for inspiration for this posting. Not much cheery to be found, and I had a rough day so cheery is in order. Consequently, we’ll go free-form.

Would you agree that this July holiday is becoming more of a family holiday? SFO last night was full of siblings and cousins holding welcoming signs, kids reaching to hug parents (my case), and vice versa. The resemblance made it impossible to mistake the connections as anything but familial. Today at work, people were preparing for daughters and dads to arrive. Elevators carried snippets of family picnic plans. Maybe we’re all visiting the relatives because it can be less expensive. Or easier to justify that trip to glorious SF, leaving Dubuque behind for a few days. As in: it’s a bit of splurge but you have to check in with the [relative category here] every once in a while or be ostracized. Whatever the reason, it presents opportunity.

While we’re all together, let’s talk. Ask about the mood back home. What’s the energy level downtown and in the malls? Are their mayors and city council members making good on their election promises? Has anyone ever been asked to participate in those surveys always being reported in the papers? Who turns up for local commission meetings, or the PTA these days? Really ask. If there are stories to be told, really listen. Ask for details. If there are no stories, ask the table what keeps everyone from getting involved. We know it isn’t because everything is cheery. Really ask, and really listen. Edge the conversation toward what might be done. Nothing major. Make mental notes of what people say they would like to do, and even might do, whatever it is, to be more involved in the community. Afterward, but before you forget, make notes on the November calendar page of what you heard. It will make for great table topics at Thanksgiving when we’re all together again. You know. Follow up. Show you really listened, and want to really ask and really listen again. I’ll bet the thread of conversation becomes contagious. And I’ll bet it leads incrementally to more personal contribution to what is important to you and yours. That’s progress. That’s cheery! LLII

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