Our neighborhood encompasses 537 homes, most with more than one resident, and each of us has our own thoughts and opinions on the issue of potentially renaming places or streets. Some have strong opinions; others are hard pressed to care when other life issues loom much larger by comparison. Many of us experience multiple conflicting thoughts about it, or frame our views in what appears logical/historical/meaningful to us, or even stake out self-contradictory approaches on this or that aspect of this potentially divisive issue. A large number of us probably wish the discussion would simply disappear altogether.
When considering renaming places in Mosby Woods, each one of us has a perspective that slightly differs from everyone else around us. There are not two “sides” to a “debate” here, but instead hundreds of valid perspectives to a neighborhood dialogue.
We all also have some things in common. Each of us participating in this dialogue feels emotions in connection with it: some strong, some barely noticeable. This sort of emotion is natural when we face hard questions, or when our views are challenged by someone who does not agree with us. Yet when we are given room to name and describe our own emotions (while carefully avoiding assigning negative emotions and motives to others), it can often make our conversations more helpful and clear.
For our neighborhood dialogue to succeed in increasing our understanding of each other’s ideas, perspectives, and emotions, it must be based in Participation, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy (PRIDE). To that end, MWCA’s Community Forward initiative is chairing upcoming Listening Sessions for all who live in our neighborhood. Though these sessions will focus upon hearing our neighbors’ ideas and concerns regarding renaming issues, they also provide a space for each of us to listen to each other determinedly — with respect and empathy for each other — even as we hear about those obvious areas where we may disagree.
With hundreds or even thousands of unique viewpoints across our neighborhood, disagreement on the renaming question is inevitable. In fact, it would be impossible not to disagree with nearly everyone on some aspect or other of the issue. Our respect for each other’s views — and each other’s self-described emotions and motives — is, in the end, what will see us remain united as a community of caring neighbors.
Because there are no two sides of “us versus them” concerning this issue; there is only one. As it turns out, we are all “us.”