A town this size is no place to hide, stand up and make a difference.

Lately our small town has taken some serious hits. We have lost some jobs and some important businesses. We have some hollow spots and there is a lot to be done.

I keep reminding myself that it isn’t Amherst that is experiencing this, it is small towns all across North America. Staying positive and hopeful takes work. It is a choice. Staying hopeful is much easier when you are doing something about it. When you contribute and choose to be engaged you automatically surround yourself with other people who are also engaged and lively. This squeezes out some of the negativity.

Do not get me wrong. When you hear people complain and whine about government continually and focus on what is wrong in a community it affects you. Even the most hopeful and engaged citizens sometimes need to sit in a room and vent to each other like I did today with another usually positive friend. We ranted. And rants are good as long as after the rant you get back to work to do something about what you ranted about.

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Otherwise the rant just needs to stop. Shut it down, sister, pack it up brother. I am tired of listening to it.  Enough is enough. I want to make things better one sweet little thing at a time.

I have had enough of the ranting and whining about what our community has lost. Don’t tell me anymore about what we lost.Start talking to me about what we could gain. Listing the businesses that have folded is not as helpful as listing the businesses that have started or still exist. If you want me to listen start talking to me about how to make the best of what we have. Tell me what you are going to do tomorrow, next week, next year to make your community a better place to live.

We are not alone. Communities across the continent have lost jobs. Populations in lots of places are aging.  People from across North America will read this blog post and it will all sound familiar to them.

If you want a good community you have to be part of the solution. Recently a woman who was considering moving here wrote me a note to see what I thought of the place because she had read  something on Facebook that was negative about the town. It really made me see how negativity spreads like a virus. She may or may not ever move here but wouldn’t it be a shame
for all of us who are working hard here if she did not because of  something negative said on fb? What if she , the potential citizen was part of the solution for the community but because people were spreading negativity posts and comments she changed her mind? It happens all the time. We lose out because of our negative attitudes and outlook.

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I am not a pollyanna. I run two businesses in a downtown that has been struggling for at least twenty five years. Together they employ 14 people part time and full time. I know that if we want our community to flourish we need to turn our focus away from what we had and towards what we have, and onwards to what we could have.

Just because you take a hit does not mean you have to go looking for another one.

Change is constant and real. Because this is our time and place it feels really personal but these kinds of changes have always happened in small towns and they will continue to.

As a community member I know that this town is full of strong minded , hardworking people who care about their community and those are the people I choose to believe in.

I choose to plant geraniums outside my door.

I choose to continue to try and make things better.

What do you choose?

 

11 thoughts on “A town this size is no place to hide, stand up and make a difference.

  1. You have written here, so eloquently, exactly how I feel. Let’s celebrate what we have, we still have so much, a watch it grow. A successful business owner once told me, “What you appreciate, appreciates!” Thank you Dianne

  2. That’s a perspective we all need to hear more of, Deanna–that economic downturns and threats to the survival of small communities are nothing new. The attitude and actions we take toward making the best of whatever happens will make all the difference. Thank you for reminding us of this.

  3. You are so right Deanne. I live in an even smaller community and you have made me think about all we have happening here. We have Saturday afternoon community walks, book groups, theatre groups, a youth group, choirs, dart nights, cards, yoga, telemark skiing opportunities, snow shoeing, ocean & river fishing, churches, ceilidhs twice weekly, and on & on. And of course we have a vibrant fishery of lobster, crab, etc and an artisan community that wins awards and continues to attract interest from those near and far. On face book you can read about us – St Ann’s Bay: follow our story. And I better mention some of our festivals – Celtic Colours and The Hiking Festival in the fall and Kitchen Fest and the Mussel Festival in June & July. I’ve taken up enough of your time. I love Amherst. It’s an amazing town with all it’s history, beauty, and fine people, But when you’re ready to take a little vacation, come see us on the beautiful Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.

  4. I love your attitude. I live in a very little town in Vermont (USA) and we struggle with the same thing. Yet we can still head up and enjoy some local musicians, or a pot luck dinner, or an afternoon with wonderful woman Hooking. Businesses come and go, trying to get clean businesses to come to our communities with good paying jobs is hard to come by. Make sure you buy local, use local materials and workers. Keep working on ways to make these small towns places that our kids will be able to stay and raise their families. Talk and share ideas with everyone,,,,and if Trump gets elected move to Canada,,haha I digress!

  5. I love this post! You are so very right…..negativity breeds ruination! I get so upset when I see people posting unkind commentaries about their towns or cities or states OR country! I think it says way more about them than it does about the places! I want to scream “smell the roses” or if you can’t smell them then get out, roll up your sleeves and plant some! Stop your complaining…..don’t add to the problems, resolve to try your best to take a step towards fixing them…..even if they are baby steps!

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