Editorial: It takes a community…

Trent Ernst, Editor


I just read Malcolm Gladwell’s groundbreaking book, The Tipping Point.

Okay, so technically, I listened to it via Overdrive, which is a way to read and listen to books via the Tumbler Ridge Library. For free, just like a regular library book. (This has nothing to do with what I’m about to say, but it is an awesome service.)

The book was written back in 2000, and looks at how little things can make a big difference. In the book, Gladwell looks at how ideas, products, messages and even social trends spread like viruses.

In the book, Gladwell talks about our behaviour is sensitive to and strongly influenced by our environment. “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur”, writes Gladwell. He looks at how efforts to combat minor crimes such as vandalism on the New York subway led to a decline in more violent crimes city-wide.

While talking about this, he mentions Judith Harris, author of The Nurture Assumption, who argues that peer influence and community influence are more important than family influence in determining how children turn out.

“Studies of juvenile delinquency and high school drop-out rates, for example, demonstrate that a child is better off in a good neighborhood and a troubled family than he or she is in a troubled neighborhood and a good family,” writes Gladwell.

You catch that? What Harris is saying, according to Gladwell, is that you—all of you out there in Tumbler Ridge—have a stronger influence on how my children turn out than I do.

That’s scary. Because there are certain ideals I want to instill in my children: ideals of how to treat others with love and kindness and respect. Heck, if I can just get the youngest to remember to flush the toilet, that would be a major victory.

But it turns out if I want my kids to straighten up, it’s you who need to do the straightening.

So here’s some things that I’d like you all to start doing, so you can pass it on to my girls.

  • Respect yourself.
  • Respect others, even if you disagree with them.
  • Play nicely with others.
  • These three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Take risks, but not the highmarking when avalanche risk is high type of risk.
  • Wait your turn.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t grumble when you have to clean up other people’s messes. You’re making the world a better place
  • Think first. Speak later or not at all.
  • Help others.
  • Don’t take stuff too seriously.
  • Dream big.
  • Never stop learning, loving or living.
  • Boys are of the devil. Don’t trust them.
  • Failing is not failing, it’s learning what doesn’t work. It is only failing if you don’t learn.
  • People are far more valuable than possessions.
  • Listen.
  • Enjoy.
  • Don’t focus on the negative.
  • Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
  • Be the friend that you wish your friends were.
  • Be friends with people who build you up, not tear you down.

That should cover it for now. Thanks for your assistance in this matter, because it’s not just my girls that you’re helping be better people, it’s everyone around you. It’s the community.

And it’s you, too. You might think that all you are is a mine haul truck driver, or a grocery store clerk, or a mom, but that’s just what you do, and it pales in importance to who you are.