Guest Opinion: All We Really Need to Know to Get Along in Central Oregon We Learned in Kindergarten
"It doesn't matter what you say you believe—it only matters what you do."
— Robert Fulghum, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"
The past couple years have been tumultuous and divisive in Central Oregon. The causes are many: a pandemic and the policies that came with it, protests and counter-protests, unaffordable housing, and now, high prices for almost everything else. We've been through a lot together, and I've often reflected on Robert Fulghum's book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things." That book's simple, but valuable life lessons are more relevant now than ever. Here's a handful:
Share Everything. Central Oregonians have been remarkably generous during this difficult time. Our generosity as a region is one of our greatest strengths. We'll need more of it, lots more in the challenging economic times ahead.
Play Fair. Playing fair is essential, but often subjective. Listening to others and honoring their perspectives is a great start. It doesn't mean we'll always agree on what is fair, equitable or even right. But when we expect the best, give people the benefit of the doubt and carefully listen, we grow in our understanding and strengthen our relationships.
Don't Hit People. Violence solves nothing. It seems Central Oregon has become more abusive in recent years—not just physically, but also verbally. Not just in person, but online. Taking mean swings at our neighbors would have been unacceptable 10 years ago. Let's bring back civility and a sense of mutual respect.
Clean up your own mess, and when you hurt someone say you're sorry. We've all been part of some relational messes over the last couple years. We need to begin cleaning up those messes by acknowledging the mess and then doing what we can to repair it. Often this requires apologizing. It also means being willing to forgive...letting go of offenses and not holding onto grudges. Showing up to the "playground" perpetually aggrieved is tiresome for all.
Wash your hands before you eat. Thanks to COVID, we've all gotten good at washing our hands, haven't we?
It doesn't matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do. It's easy to get wrapped up in what we believe, what others believe or what we think others believe because of their political party, their church, the way they look, the car they drive or the clothes they wear. But if you look at what people actually do on a daily basis, we're not all that different. We have more in common than not. We work a little, play a little, raise our families and seek to live a good life. We all love Central Oregon. Let's take a lesson from kindergarten, re-build friendships, play nice and make our region better. Together.
—Michael Sipe is a Central Oregon business and community leader.
RE: Restaurant of the Year: Chi Chinese & Sushi Bar
Been gluten free for nine years and I finally get to enjoy Chinese again. New location is so much better than the last and they have the hottest bartenders.
—Jennifer Fox via Facebook.com
Chi is our go to for sushi in central Oregon! My favorite part is a strong staff that works as a team! Well.... And great food! They definitely have the "magic" when it comes to customer service and great food!
—Justus King via Facebook.com
Educational crisis looming
An educational crisis is looming. Recent polls and studies have shown that our educators, teachers and school staff are at the breaking point. Much has been asked for before, during and after the pandemic, and the teachers have given, over and over as they always do. Substitute teachers are difficult to find, often that means if a teacher has to take time off, another teacher is now encumbered with making up the difference. What do teachers want? Time and money. Many parents are now familiar with Canvas, that is the online teaching tool that the district chose and implemented for educators to teach remotely. Now not only does a teacher have to teach in class, but they have to sign up and develop curriculum for online development at the same time. This is basically double the workload. With the same pay. Why aren't we paying our teachers more? They are professionals! They are the ones seeing/coaching/mentoring our children throughout the day more than parents do.
I was shocked to receive a phone call from a polling company asking about how I would feel if my property taxes went up again to pay for school buildings, maintenance etc. My only response which would not be logged in their form was that I would be more than willing to increase my property taxes so our teachers could be paid adequately. I fear it is falling on deaf ears.
Letter of the Week:
Thanks for bringing this issue to our readers' attention, Kit. And thanks to the educators and support staff among us who are getting close to the finish line on yet another pandemic year. Kit, come on in for your gift card to Palate!