Page 15 - Scene Magazine 45-11 November 2020
P. 15

 Communication is a two-way street. I am responsible for not only sharing my point of view but also making certain that it was understood in the way that I intended by the receiver. If more
of us begin with this understanding in mind we may have fewer misunderstandings going forward.
   Rich and Shirley DeRuiter
Where Community Comes First.
would never have expected me to work at a bookstore, a university library, or even as an editor or publisher. I was fortunate to have many in my path that helped me along the way. As a result, I have come to appreciate the value of the definition of a word found in the dictionary; the need for parenthesis when including an area code when writing a phone number; or even spelling words completely while texting. But not all others seek to use words in the same way I do.
I am genuinely interested in learning new words, or new meanings of words from a different perspective so that I can have new and meaningful conversations with others. But the conversation can only be successful when two parties are willing, and the two parties understand words in the same ways. I believe that this is part of the breakdown when con- versations regarding disparities surface. How about racism or equity? The list could go on. Even Webster realized that a word could have many different meanings and as such some words found in his dictionary have many significantly different definitions. Furthermore, the definition
of a word can change significantly when the word is used differently based on
sentence structure. A word typically used as a noun can also be used in a sentence as an adjective, adverb, and more, and consequently, the meaning may change in ways that can lead to a conversation that requires deeper communication.
I would like to be a part of a conver- sation that defines many of the often emotionally used words so that new understanding begins. Real conversations where those involved can set aside being offended to create shared understanding, learning, and solutions. It can happen. Maybe we need to set ground rules such as working with the end in mind of a
shared goal to achieve an elevation of knowledge in order to accomplish results that create systematic, lasting change that will benefit all that live and work in our community.
Many organizations have started the conversations though none have success- fully completed the journey. It takes time and commitment. I believe the desire in our community exists and so we continu- ally seek to move forward. Declaring intent and taking actions with shared vision can make all the difference in the world.
Join us in creating a shared new vocabulary that seeks to achieve un- derstanding, knowledge, learning, and change. Until we can speak the same language, solutions are challenging to come by. It is a quest worth pursing. If you would like to be part of the conversa- tion reach out to us at Scene at ssher- or give us a call at (269) 979-1411.
Together, we can have a positive im- pact on the community that we all share.

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