City boy in the country

I live in the city, but my wife and I have a Christmas tree farm. So I’ve seen the divide. I’ve been on both sides of it. I know how my farm neighbors feel when yet another city person buys the field down the road. I know how my city friends joke about life in the country. I’ve seen kindness and patience on both sides, but I’ve seen lack of understanding and frustration as well.

There are differences. In priorities, lifestyles and methods. And like any time there are differences, there can be tensions. And like any time there are tensions, they can be handled well or poorly. It’s human nature, and we are all too good at being human.

So the University of Minnesota Extension state conference was a good place to be, exploring ways to encourage effective engagement. Finding tools to connect with people in new ways and bridging divides, real or perceived.

We asked those attending to share a time they had engaged with someone in unexpected ways, and here is some of what they shared.

A Peace of My Mind continues to find new ways to use stories to connect people. We are going places I never expected and having surprising and enlightening conversations each day. There’s work to do to heal our world. There are ways we can bridge divides. We will continue to walk through the doors that open and pound on the ones that don’t.

Because we can do better. Together.


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