Welcoming vs. Dependent

We teach people how to treat us, by how we present ourselves; how we carry ourselves. It’s true of people, and it’s also true of cities.

I love that my city is welcoming to large numbers of visitors. (It’s one of the things that drew me here: that spirit of acceptance and hospitality; that tolerant urban vibe as opposed to provincial snooty beach-hamlet vibe.) What I don’t like is that we have made ourselves dependent on mass crowds and large special events. It makes for a fragile economy. And it makes for a community that’ll put up with anything (be it a sprawl development or a noxious crowd) in exchange for the almighty dollar it (supposedly) brings.

A young people’s “invade Daytona” event yesterday started out seeming like just a fun party, but ended up with multiple shootings! And a whole lot of garbage on the beach.

By presenting ourselves as a wide-open place where anything goes, and by conveying our neediness, we invite things like this. If we raise our expectations, people will feel it.

On an individual level … “We teach people how to treat us” also translates into our employers, and the businesses we buy goods and services from. We teach them how to treat us, by what we are willing to put up with in exchange for that almighty thing we feel we can’t do without, be it a dollar or a gadget or what have you.

Reducing our dependency on people and institutions that treat us and/or the planet with disregard, is something any of us can do. And it’s an ongoing process.

In a few minutes, I’ll walk down the street to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, where super-stellar community activist Rell Black of the Community Healing Project has called all interested folks to meet for a cleanup. Rell was born and raised in Daytona Beach, and he never stops working to make it better. I swear he works in his sleep!

If you want to teach the world how to treat you and your community better, my advice is: Find people like Rell, and support their efforts! Oh, and you can also connect with the Community Healing Project on Facebook.

If you happen to be reading this before 1pm EST Sunday May 24, and are in the area and want to join the cleanup, bring your mask, gloves, and trash bags to the Boardwalk at 1!

By coming together as a community, we teach the world that we respect our place and each other. We say, “Visitors, we welcome you, but you need to show respect. Our place is too good to be a raucous party dump! Anyway, we would rather be your friends than be your maids.”

Further Reading:

In Zadar, Croatia, an organ-like structure built into concrete seaside steps turns the waves of the ocean into music. I hear it’s attracting a lot of tourists. Though I can’t say for sure, I bet the site inspires so much reverence that nobody there throws trash or otherwise behaves badly.