I heard a wonderful story today from the head of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as he spoke to our Rotary Club. He told the tale of Georgia’s 1915-1916 study to develop a comprehensive growth plan for the state. Among the advice received, the modern-day committee discovered, was a call for a comprehensive barns plan.
In those early years of the 20th century, the proposer reasoned, the state wanted to encourage tourist travel within Georgia and, with hotels few and far between, the solution was simple — investing state funds in sprucing up the lofts of barns so travelers would find a nice place to rest their heads. I love that suggestion.
Sure, in our world filled with Tom Bodett’s promises to leave the light on for us, it seems pretty funny — and a great laugh line for a 21st century Chamber of Commerce. But there’s a lot of forward-thinking shown in that suggestion. I picture a very earnest 1915 Georgian wracking his brain to come up with a solution that worked given Georgia’s resources, which apparently included plenty of barns. I love the fact that he was willing to embrace possibilities and dream of a future world that was different from what he’d always known. All too often it seems easy to throw stones at ideas like increasing tourism in 1915 Georgia rather than try to figure out a solution.
Our world has changed a lot in the past 100 years. I can’t begin to imagine what the next 100 years will look like, but I want to choose to offer solutions to new problems and engage with new ideas rather than just sticking my head in the mud and railing against the changes.
We’ve focused our Pink Typewriter posts this month on self-care and self-love, and I’m sure you’re wondering how this relates. Well, I believe an important part of self-care is realizing our ideas have value — that we have value. We are each unique individuals with our own understanding and ideas to offer. Somebody, surely, had the idea to propose building hotels in rural Georgia way back in the day. I wonder if that idea seemed laughable at the time. I know many a weary traveler has been glad that person had that particular idea. What if neither that person or the barns-plan guy had been willing to express their ideas? What if they had chosen to say that was somebody else’s problem and just turned the light out on their ideas? What if they had felt they didn’t have the right or the education or the whatever it is we tell ourselves that we are lacking?
Have you ever had a comprehensive barns plan that you didn’t share with anyone? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!