I recently attended the Utah Rural Summit in Cedar City. There were several good discussions and Governor Herbert gave a very good speech on his 25K Rural Jobs Initiative. He challenged us all to come up with ideas and solutions. I will write more about this important issue in the near future.
Doug Griffiths was a keynote speaker at the event. He is an author and motivator, and he really got me stirred up. His book, 13 Ways To Kill Your Community, gives the perfect recipe for failure in communities, and I’m afraid it describes a few things that have taken place in our valley.
I started by reading and highlighting chapter 13, Don’t Cooperate. The emotions I felt as I read this chapter are hard to explain, but I’ll try. When we are threatened or our point of view is questioned, our pride kicks in and we sometimes say and do some pretty wild (stupid) things. Instead of working with likeminded people on a common problem or doing something that creates synergy, we surrender to our selfish nature and we start looking for scapegoats.
Our county is not unique to this sort of thing. It is quite natural to protect your own turf. It’s also common to think that those from the other end of the county are being selfish and short-sighted. The reality is that it’s quite natural to do both. I usually avoid quoting from a book, but the last paragraph of the chapter is so good, I’m going to give it to you word-for-word:
“Fundamentally, killing your community comes down to refusing to cooperate with anyone. Don’t cooperate with other people, other service clubs, other groups or other communities. Focus on what divides you more than what unites you. Concentrate on making those little arbitrary lines in the sand the real issue. That will allow you to remain fiercely independent, and eventually you will be able to die…alone.”
Mayor David Ogden