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Column: Strengthening social glue with gratitude, kindness and compassion

Council Report by Coun. Tim Lavery
City councillor suggests strengthening social glue means having gratitude, kindness and compassion in all personal interactions. (File photo)

May 2023 bring happiness, health and prosperity to Salmon Arm residents.

I’m sincere in these traditional wishes for the new year but do they really address our societal context that’s carrying over from 2022?

Whether it’s nationally, provincially or locally, we seem to be a society that is palpably more polarized, fragile and pressured than ever before. We are faced with concurrent challenges that were not even on the radar just a short while ago. There are a host of reasons for this but my 2023 new year ponderings are on how we as citizens can begin to re-strengthen our civic and civil relationships.

Things aren’t broken by any means. We remain a highly desirable nation and region in which to live for so many good reasons. I do feel though that extra focus on the social glue that joins us is needed.

I’m a firm believer that the best solutions to most challenges all start locally – and the good news is that many remarkable citizens are showing us the way. We do need more of us, though, and I’m including myself here, to re-commit to being our better selves for 2023.

It’s in recognizing that many citizens may be struggling with these overlapping challenges in different ways. It’s in genuinely asking, “How are you doing? How’s your family? and How can I help?” and in being present to have the real conversations that emerge. It’s in checking in with our neighbours to make sure that they’re ok and reaching out year-round to our community organizations who support our citizens in need. It’s in the belief and hope that each of us can indeed make a difference.

Any re-strengthening lies in our interactions on a daily and personal level. I have an unswerving faith that we can and will look out for each other. To do this, we need to up our collective game a titch. It may take some time but the outcome will be a strengthened community fabric.

So, these ponderings have led me to revamp my opening new year wishes.

In 2023, for each of you and for all of us, I hope for gratitude, kindness and compassion in all of our personal interactions. May 2023 be that New Year Salmon Arm!

Tim Lavery is a councillor with the City of Salmon Arm.