A call for 'generosity of spirit'
If there is one thing that residents of Lake Oswego agree on, it is a need for public civility. A strident person, even when we generally agree on the person's content or recognize the truth in what the person is saying, rubs us the wrong way. Yes, we need to have frank communication on topics that affect our city, but that communication needs to be kind and respectful — both as it relates to the speaker and the listener.
One group which has come to prominence in the last few years is our high schoolers who have taken the time to become informed and engaged about current public topics. In turn, they have been given and retained the right to vote on the city's advisory committees. They have mobilized and spoken at a council meeting for diversity, equity and inclusion on these committees. In fact, they will have a Youth Forum in Council Chambers on May 15 to give them an opportunity to express their views to members of the city council and the school board members, and for us to hear them. They and those who facilitate these events are to be congratulated.
I am looking forward to feel the energy arising from these events and hear what is on their minds. Many of these students, but not all, come from affluent households which have opened up travel opportunities. They are getting their education in the excellent Lake Oswego school system. Their parents are often highly educated. In short they have often used their good fortune to be thoughtful and well-informed. It has been pointed out that the Boomer generation and the under 30 year olds are closely aligned in their world view and if this alignment holds, could, due to the sheer numbers, change the world for the better. How I hope this is so.
It is therefore highly desirable that we all, myself included, take notice of our tone and language when we give and receive testimony at council, how we behave in public, how we add value by our presence or conversely add to the negativity in our community. Some call it civility. I call it having a generosity of spirit.
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