By Amber Kiggens-Leifheit
MACF Executive Director
The Marshfield Area Community Foundation sponsors the Speak Your Peace Civility Project. The basic principles are simple and straightforward and involve the idea that it is often not what is said but how it is said that initiates conflict. The more we all learn about polite, civil discussion is a good thing. It is worth a try, and it may help bring our community together. This week we will examine: Be Inclusive.
Have you ever been left out of the loop at work or with friends? We all want to be accepted by others. We like the feelings of belonging to the group. Within our different groups or circles, we find common ground and social interaction.
Many of us, including me, remember those horrible middle school years when you might not been part of the group to which you wanted to belong. For some it was the jocks, the populars, the artsy ones, or the geeks. Not many longed to belong to the geek group, but that is where I found home. I remember the uncivil behaviors or the name calling if you tried to join another group in the cafeteria.
As adults today we usually eat lunch with the same group of people. When we meet as a group, we have jargon only we know and many “inside stories.” We hang with people of the same religion, ideologies, or political persuasion. We rarely move out of our comfort zones.
Ideas of how we might become more inclusive:
—Might you consider job shadowing another person or group?
—Might you invite yourself to another group meeting or lunch group?
—Might your group invite someone new to give a new or different perspective?
—How can you make newcomers feel welcome? Perhaps you could choose discussion topics that make all feel welcome and summarize ongoing discussions for newcomers.
—Try listening and speaking to someone you never liked. Make the effort to spend a few minutes with someone you always found uninteresting.
—Develop and show an interest in cultures other than your own.
If you are interested to learn more, visit marshfieldareacommunityfoundation.org/index.php?page=speak-your-peace, or give us a call at 715-384-9029.