People move to our small town of Safety Harbor, not because of long term planning, but because they are called to live here. How often do folks say: “I visited, I felt it and I knew I must live here.”
To me, Safety Harbor means a sense of community. People really care. When I walk downtown on Main Street people recognize me and let me know how happy they are to see me. When I am in distress people are quick to come to my assistance, even if they don’t really know me.
My childhood was spent in a small town with all of those characteristics. I knew this was where I had to be when I felt Safety Harbor. For the past five years, I have basked in the arms of this caring, loving community.
With great sadness, I learned that in the name of preserving our beautiful small town, some folk are resorting to hateful tactics that belie the best of what Safety Harbor has to offer. When a new resident cannot sit on her porch without being harassed by strangers; when a long-term resident is subjected to personal attack and name calling, we must stop and reflect. Are we preserving the best of our small town?
We are all created with free will, and surely we all have differences in our self-interest. But are we expressing these differences in the best way when we go on the offensive and rudely attack our neighbors?
Part of our task on earth is to acknowledge differences and create harmony through understanding, civility, and compassion. And just how can we do that? It’s easier than you may think.
Focus on the issues.
Eliminate words of personal attack.
“Do unto others . . .” Imagine how you would feel if your words hateful were directed at you or a family member.
Now present your views with reason, calm and respect.
There is a national and international climate of discord that is poisoning the airways. Safety Harbor is like an oasis, a refuge, protecting us from rancor and hostility. Now, more than ever, we must examine our hearts and our behavior so that we preserve the best of our community. Let Safety Harbor continue to live up to its legacy as a Safe Harbor.