Since its establishment in 1862, Wasatch County has been recognized as a community that builds bridges. Some of these bridges include well-engineered structures that enable people to cross the Provo River at various locations. Other bridges, however, are built on a foundation of support, honorable relationships and understanding.
In a period of unprecedented population growth, the challenges that Wasatch County faces have never been greater. Similarly, the need for building bridges of unity is at an all-time high.
Bridges Of Support
According to Merriam-Webster, the word support is defined as “an act or instance of helping.” One way we can support or “help” our community is to support local businesses. Like a two-way bridge, our local businesses, in turn, support the community.
Too often we see a disgruntled person make sharp attacks on social media against a small business because “their food was cold” or because “their customer service wasn’t up to par.” While these are real issues that a small-business owner must address, using social media as a platform for complaining is not the best way for an angry customer to solve a problem.
Instead, we should all try to personally reach out to our local business owners in search of solutions. In this way, we can all work together to build bridges of support that help foster better experiences for both business owners and customers — now and into the future.
Bridges Of Honorable Relationships
Frequently, the residents of Wasatch County are labeled — often unfairly. Some common labels include “new move-in” or “Park City workforce.” Other labels include “Heber hick,” “Midway snob” or “Wasatch good ‘ole boy.”
These terms tend to segregate and alienate people rather than unite them. Instead of branding various groups of individuals based on where they live, where they work or how long they’ve lived in the area, a better — more honorable — approach would be to build bridges based on a foundation of meaningful relationships.
Often, those who are unfairly labeled are the same people who work in our businesses, teach our children, attend our churches and play with our children at school and at the park.
Building bridges of honorable relationships requires a broader view of how we see others. As the community continues to become better acquainted, we will hopefully grow to better appreciate others’ unique talents, perspectives and contributions — and ultimately become more united as a community.
Bridges Of Understanding
Hugh W. Pinnock once related the following story: Two ranchers who lived side by side in southwestern Montana argued and fought. Each thought that he was being cheated by the other because a rusty barbed wire fence that separated their ranches was not the true property line. The real estate records were unclear on the matter.
They told their children not to play with one another. The conflict became worse until finally, after years of exchanging words and threats, one of the ranchers said to himself, “Enough of this.”
He drove down the lane from his place to his neighbor’s. “What do you want?” his neighbor asked. “Look, you take your hired men and your sons, and I’ll take mine; and we’ll put the fence wherever you’d like it. I’ve had enough of this quarreling. I want us to be friends.”
His rawboned neighbor softened, and tears ran down both of their faces. The neighbor responded. “Hey, let’s drive to Virginia City and record that the present fence is where both of us want the property line to be.”
They did, and the problem was solved. Why? Because a neighbor simply wanted to be friends with the family next door.
As stated in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” we should all “seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Like the two ranchers, building bridges of understanding can resolve the most challenging conflicts our community may face.
Bridges For Future Generations
With much discussion revolving around city annexations, open space preservation, population growth and Main Street traffic, strong emotions can often get the best of us. If channeled properly, these emotions can help inform, educate, create understanding and ultimately lead to positive change.
As residents of Wasatch County, may we all work together to continue building bridges of support, honorable relationships and understanding. If we do so, Wasatch County will continue to be one of the finest places to work, live and play for generations to come.