Thoughtful Agent in Ottawa: www.martinelder.ca

I just recieved a set of photos from Stephen Chappell who is teaching in Anging Province. He comments.

“A couple of pics which reveal the contrasts of present day china. Along this narrow roadway to the village stood two houses: one a three story dwelling complete with pillars and a marble balcony( landscaping to follow?) : the other, on the opposite side of the road, a humble farmer’s abode. The large structure, could be that of a well do farmer or more likely that of a rich urbanite looking for a retreat in the countryside. I trust the inhabitants of both houses will be good neighbours.

I’m sure Stephen’s opinion is accurate. On one side of the road is a newer elabourite home. It’s probably a very expensive home. On the other side is a thatched hovel. What a contrast in the two photos; Rich and poor, Elabourate and modest, Enduring and Temporary. Reminds me of part of the three pigs story. One pig made a grass house and another built a brick house and we all know what happened when the bad wolf tried to blow down the grass house. It blew down easily and the brick house stood firm.

So here’s how I read these two houses built facing each other. It’s not unlike the most expensive neighbourhoods in Ottawa. There are million dollar homes next to a quarter of a million dollar homes just like in the rest of the world. Westboro, Glebe, Alta Vista and Rockcliffe have their fair share of these.

Lets say people choose a community where schools are good and where groceries are easily picked up. There is a recreational centre. The community has older homes. Someone from the “hood” decides to add an addition. Another person decides to demolish and rebuild newer and bigger, after all they reason, renovation is more expensive than building from the ground up. So the community takes on a diversified nature and continues to attract an afluent group. It is not too long before older homes are torn down to make room for bigger. Soon everyone complains there are so many tear downs and rebuilds the community character is disappearing. Some go so far as to say the newcommers are destroying the community!

It sure has changed. But the question that attracts me is how do the new commers relate to the older residents? There is a natural tendancy to resent the newcommers and I think for the newcommers to have distain for the quaint homes of the long time residence. It doesn’t have to be that way. If someone were to see the bigger picture everyone could appreciate the changeing scene.

  • Remember the kindergarden lessons? Greet your neighbour in the morning and say good by in the evening.
  • Smile and show interest.
  • Don’t hurt others. Be sincere when you have to say sorry
  • Share your toys and return toys you borrow.
  • Show respect for your friend when they are hurt. and offer them a helping hand.
  • Don’t tattle on your neighbour unless it is a very serious matter and try to talk to them first.

If we were able to follow some of these basic tenants taught to us in kindergarden our communities thrive in diversity and I think we would be happier citizens. More to follow on this!