By Susan Flood
BAPA Executive Director
I know what you’re thinking when you read the title to this Village Viewpoint — my refrigerator won’t hold magnets anymore, But I implore you to stay with me on this. Truly, in my life, I can credit refrigerator magnet sayings for spurring me onward, to both success and failure. Recently I threw out “Leap and the net will appear” magnet; it caused of some real mistakes!
Today, I want to ask the Beverly/Morgan Park community to ask yourselves whether you follow the advice on one of my favorite magnets. It is credited to William James: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does”
If you are like me, this directive is challenging, and it can make you feel vulnerable and possibly uncomfortable. It is natural to want to be brave, noble, even bold, but it doesn’t call for that extreme. I wonder how adoption of this idea would bring about change in our city, our neighborhood, our blocks, our own backyards. Is it possible that when we challenge ourselves to think this way about our daily encounters in our community that we can contribute to an even better place to call home?
What if we thank the business that uses materials that are recyclable and provides ways to easily recycle them? What if we put together a flyer for a block party and drop it in everyone’s mailbox on the block? What if we manage a smile or hello to a stranger at our home train station, in the grocery store line or for a new family on the sidewalk when we drop our kids off at school? I find that merely friendly eye contact can change the way I am feeling in an instant! It‘s not a radical or dramatic, but there is no doubt that the ripple effect can lead to so much more than the simple act.
The best part is the refrigerator magnet advice works for everyone. If you are someone who feels welcome in Beverly/Morgan Park, you can cause a ripple in how welcome others feel. If you wish you felt more welcome during your daily routine in our neighborhood and you try this by someone else feel more welcome. You are bound to be someone whose example inspires others and, often, that inspires you!
All of us feel vulnerable when we put ourselves out there and try to make a difference, but if we all did, imagine the power of this great community.