I’ve never been what you would call a “boat person.” Even with four new kayaks (thanks Allegheny Outfitters!), my wife contends I’m not all that excited about getting on the water (I really am!). So it took me a while to fully comprehend one of my former publishers’ favorite metaphors.
At least once, and usually more than once, during every monthly staff meeting we had, she would remind us that, “All boats rise in high tides.”
Obviously, this is physically true.
When the tide comes in, the water level rises and any boats on the water will rise with it. Fairly simple, even for a non-boat person such as myself. The deeper meaning she tried to impress didn’t really resonate with me until very recently.
And it applies to all of us in Warren County.
Being a relatively new small business owner has allowed me to see how the potential of an idea can take shape and flourish when you have people dedicated to an ideal and enough community support to see it through.
That last part, the community support, that’s where we need to step up our game.
This is not to say our community doesn’t support its own.
There’s been more than enough evidence of that recently with the Warren Summer Celebration (which was, in part, birthed from community support), Warren County Pride, the Duck Derby, and the special screening of the film ‘The Long Dark Trail.’
When we want to, man, we come together and put our all behind something.
A local family in need of medical support? We’ll get them funds and referrals in the blink of an eye.
Small business destroyed by fire or natural disaster? We’ll be there the next day to help them rebuild.
One of our teams or athletes making a championship run? You better believe we’re gonna take over every venue along the way.
But when it comes to development, or new ideas to help the community grow, we sing a different tune.
It’s amazing, really, how quickly these proposals are met with almost instant rejection.
There’s a veritable chorus of “That’ll never work,” or “We don’t need that,” and “Why are we spending money on ‘’X when we should use it to fix the roads!”
One of our goals as a company is to do what we can to revitalize and grow Warren into a bustling, thriving community.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with some of the people who are deeply engaged in making that a reality. And they’ve got some fantastic, and unconventional, ideas that, if given a chance, could pave the way for a major change to the county’s fortunes.
And let’s be honest, the county has been in a prolonged low tide period with population decline, businesses either reducing or eliminating local operations, and a general malaise about the future.
To change that, we’re going to have to start throwing our support behind some of these ideas the way we do with families/businesses in need and our athletes. We’ve shown that when we collectively get behind something, there’s little we can’t do.
Will every new idea work perfectly or be presented flawlessly?
Of course not. But instead of dismissing them out of hand, let’s be constructive in our criticism.
Instead of just stating, “That’ll never work.” Why not ask, “How can we make this work?”
Instead of “We don’t need that,” try “How can we make this appealing to a larger group?”
And let’s all understand that if we find ways to generate more revenue for the community, there will be more money in the coffers to fix the roads and everything else people say they want.
We can do these things.
We can break the dam of negativity we’ve surrounded ourselves with.
And if we do, it would be wise to hop on a boat, because the tide will come in and we’ll all want to rise with it.