Over the last couple years Mark and I have been trying to decide if we would make Albert Lea our home. We weren’t sure if we could create a business in our community that would support our family. Over the last several months we have decided that we are committed to our community. We have jumped in with both feet to get involved in community projects.
We want to help create a community we enjoy waking up to everyday. We want to help create a community our kids will want to come home to after they have gone out and discovered the world. When they are done roaming the world and they are ready to settle down, I want them to think, “I’m ready to go home.” I want to create a community who will welcome them back with open arms. I want them to know they have a community to back them and will help them be able to use their degree and experiences they have learned. Whether they choose to be a doctor, plumber, janitor, or a blogger, I want them to know there is room for them to grow their business here.
Since jumping into community projects and events, I can tell you first hand how excited I am for the future of Albert Lea. I see four generations learning to work together and creating a thriving, growing, welcoming community to large corporations and entrepreneurs who want to bring their business to our town.
Through each of these projects we have experienced, as many communities do, those who choose to be a blessing and those who choose to be a frustration. When our kids are interacting with each other, their cousins or friends, conflict is bound to come up. We have taught our kids two sayings: “You can choose to be a blessing or a frustration. You can chose to build up or tear down, make it better or you can get bitter.” We also teach them, “In the absence of communication, hairy monsters grow.”
These two sayings also go for communities. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a person who is a blessing and builds up. I also want to keep communication open, keep asking questions, and help problem solve the areas we need to improve. It’s true, there are areas we need to improve. Every human being, community, and nation is going to have issues to work through. It’s just part of life.
For the sake of creating a place we all want to live in, and even more important for me, creating a community that welcomes our kids back, not one that teaches them to plan on moving away, please help us grow our community!
Every community is going to have issues we need to work out. There are going to be sales taxes, property taxes, landscaping, events, and other projects we are not all going to agree on. We have brilliant people in our community with hearts that truly care about their neighbors.
We need to remember that our mayor, city managers, chamber and CVB executives are our neighbors. When we, the citizens, become a frustration and chose to only share the negative we then have to take responsibility for our community not growing. If we choose to be a frustration it makes it harder for those who believe in our community, our neighbors, who are working hard to find grant money and project money to make our community awesome!
We as citizens need to choose to be a blessing with our words throughout social media and with each other as neighbors. Family is a big reason we chose to stay in Albert Lea, but our community as a whole is also what we consider family. Partly because I’m literally related to half of the community, but also because our community genuinely sees each person as an important part of our town.
The plea I want to put out to our community is this. Our stakes in the community are high and we want to be a part of the projects, events, and businesses in our community to help strengthen and maintain the sense of home Albert Lea is to us. When our kids have grown up, have gone to college, and traveled and are ready to settle down, we want them to think “I want to go home to Albert Lea.” I want to build a community that has a strong business community that will welcome our kids back with open arms, helping them to know there will be a business place for them to come back to. Instead of training them to move away, I want to give our kids the tools they need, right in our own community, to come back. I want them to come home. Please, let us work together towards positive change and growth. Wouldn’t you rather be known as someone in our community that was part of the problem solving rather than being a ball and chain that made it harder to accomplish projects and harder to bring in progress? Let’s be awesome together! We are better together!