We may not consciously consider these questions each day, but each day we answer those questions in word and in deed. We take courses of action accordingly in our churches; pertaining to our schools, about our government, and we have been witnessing it in downtown Hot Springs since the Majestic burned at the end of February.
Can I be honest? We are mean. We hit below the belt. We speak with venom, and we turn business into something personal. I don’t like it.
You can imagine my surprise, then, at what happened yesterday:
As a board member of the Downtown Hot Springs Merchants Association (we meet at 8:30 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Transportation Depot; join us!), I was called by the administrator of Hot Springs Community School. He said his students had some ideas about improving downtown Hot Springs. Would I be willing to listen?
Not really knowing what to expect, I agreed to meet with the students. Upon arriving, I learned they recently had taken a field trip downtown so that they could visit the area businesses and determine for themselves what steps might be helpful.
They asked me to listen to their suggestions and give my feedback. There were four components:
- Facebook presence. The students researched Facebook and learned there already was a Downtown Hot Springs page with links to downtown businesses that shared information on products and events. They proposed continuing that, getting the word out better about the page, and embedding an interactive map of the downtown area.
- Maps. They also wanted to create a hard copy of a map showing each location along Central between Whittington and Ouachita. They would like to not only provide the names of the businesses, but a brief overview of what each specializes in.
- Surveys. This committee has created, and continues to modify, a survey so that the map will be complete and effective. It even includes a question about whether patrons can purchase a cold beverage at each store … which could be quite helpful for customers on hot summer days.
- Website. They would like to have a downtown Hot Springs website that also includes the mapping discussed for the Facebook page and that would provide information and links on each location, as well as app capabilities for mobile phones. They would be willing to work with/through the Chamber of Commerce or the City of Hot Springs. They also still need the financing necessary to purchase the software to do this (about $10,000 if you would like to help them out).
There were no “can’ts.” There were only “cans.”
So, I ask you today, “What can you do to make a positive change where you are?” For downtown Hot Springs, it could be as simple as shopping there and making a positive impact on small businesses. For your church or synagogue, it could be praying for your pastor, that God would give him or her the strength to lead the congregation. For your school, it could be a note of encouragement to your child’s favorite teacher. And if any of this is too much – and there are days when it can be (I know, I am with you!) – maybe we could just be silent.
Be like the students at Hot Springs Community School. Actively seek ways to be a part of the solution.