Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

March 26, 2014

Framing community discussions is key

Frames matter. Woods or metals? Classic or contemporary? Statement-making thick or barely-there minimalist? There are lots of choices when picking out a frame, not to mention choosing a mat and whether you want glare-free or regular glass. My wife and I face this decision now and again when we decide to frame something important — a new photo of our children or a piece of art we’ve found. There’s another lesson to be learned about framing. It’s a lesson about how conversations get framed, especially conversations about communities. Perhaps a visit to fictitious Midville can illustrate the point. Think of Midville as an average community. It could be a town or a neighborhood, and its residents are good folks who care about where they live. When they gather at the corner coffee shop, the beauty parlor, at their their kid’s soccer games, or even virtually in the online discussion board, midvillebabble.com, they talk about what’s going on in the community. Each of those discussions is framed in a specific way that sets the parameters and points toward a specific direction. David Cooperrider, a professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve, noted that people and organization move in the direction of their conversations; and the way those conversations get framed helps determine that direction. Cooperrider developed something he called “appreciative inquiry,” or AI. He defines AI as “the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them.” I don’t know what conversations are like in your community, but in Midville they are not always focused on the best of the world around them. Most people are programmed to focus on problems, to diagnose what’s wrong so it can be fixed. Morning conversations in the Midville Café are often about lazy kids, backdoor political deals, and good-paying factory jobs that no longer exist: conversations about problems. See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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  • They've been known to pick a song or two Someone I know — I don't even remember who — used to have a "You may be a Redneck if ..." daily calendar. One day it read: You may be a Redneck if your mother has a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt.

    July 23, 2014

  • Expiring term heightens urgency of lawmaker’s mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January. The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities.

    July 23, 2014

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    July 23, 2014

  • A bee, or not to be It’s weird that while working in my garden I am always looking for insect damage as a positive sign. I spotted lots of torn leaves on my Dutchman’s Pipevine and was pleased. The vine is a larval food source — caterpillar food — for the Pipevine Swallowtail, one of Indiana’s many swallowtail butterflies.

    July 16, 2014

  • Basements aren’t just for tornadoes anymore The Lutheran church ladies are back in town at Beef & Boards performing “A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement.” The show runs through Aug. 17.

    July 16, 2014

  • Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.

    July 16, 2014

  • Extension Service celebrates turning 100 On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the federal Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service as a nonformal educational program designed to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives. In recognition of 2014 being the centennial year of the Extension Service, Purdue Extension – Boone County will commemorate the milestone with activities and displays at this year’s Boone County Fair.

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    July 9, 2014

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