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Park City's Mayor Sends a Message of Good Will and the Power of Listening

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Mayor Jack Thomas says it's time to listen to one another.

With the holiday season upon us and Thanksgiving at our door - Jack Thomas, Park City's Mayor, shares a message of encouragement and thanksgiving in a time of uncertainty for many.

After the presidential election, my normal strengths of being a good listener and a compassionate person were tested.  I was tired and frustrated by the long election season and, quite frankly, sick of listening.  But when we choose not to listen to each other, we can easily fall into the trap of narrowing our range of open thinking and pushing away those who do not necessarily agree with us. This is a slippery slope….

  

So at this time of giving thanks, I have renewed my hope. The compassion and kindness I see every day in and around Park City has reaffirmed my confidence that WE define who we are as a community and as a nation. So I have taken a deep breath; and I am reflecting, gratefully, about who we are locally.

Park City is no coincidence­—after a hardscrabble beginning built upon mining, we pivoted toward skiing and tourism in the face of becoming a ghost town. This took time and heavy investments—hard work, money, hearts and minds, all working together, and sometimes disagreeing, to reinvent our town with a shared purpose.

So we built schools and churches and playgrounds. We built plazas and squares and bridges and trails. Along the way, we shared our mountains, music, food, arts and culture with the world. In short, we built a thriving community by working and listening to each other. We did this so well that people continue to join our community, in large numbers, from all different places and from all different walks of life.   

This success story was not easy. Community leaders dealt with difficult challenges and tried their best to balance inherently competing interests; Keeping Park City, Park City and maintaining our small town values, against the pressing demands for developing a year-round and more sustainable economy.    

So this brings me back to the importance of listening. If we do not listen to each other, we could potentially lose the very essence of what makes Park City so special and leave the door open to the darker forces of obstructionism, conflict and even hate and inequality. So compassion and empathy, not fear, create the power and momentum we need as a community to continue our march forward. And this all begins and ends with good listening. 

I know that listening takes time and patience. I know we all think we are the expert in this thing or that. But if we truly take the time to stop and understand each other’s perspectives, we can shed some of our self-righteousness and open our minds to other perspectives that will help maintain our balance as an open and welcoming community. 

I am not telling you anything new or groundbreaking. Yet on this holiday of Thanksgiving, Park City has an awful lot to be thankful for. I hope that none of us feel forced to sit around the edges of the dinner table this holiday season and be silent. I hope you come together, face to face with friends and family, and share your stories and compassion. Only with shared perspectives and understanding can we continue to maintain our course toward a Complete Community.

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday Season,

Jack Thomas

Park City Mayor