Viewpoint: New Year's Resolutions

Very often we set personal goals for the New Year that are career or finance centered. But as we reflect on recent circumstances in our country, perhaps we should redirect some of our focus toward more relationship-centered goals. It's easy to see that much of the conflict we see is rooted in a lack of understanding of one another.

Here are a few tips to help break down barriers and improve our ability to relate to one another...

1) First of all, suspend judgment about people who you don't know personally

2) Or simply invite someone of another ethnicity out for coffee and conversation

3) Challenge family and friends on beliefs and/or prejudices not based in fact as my daughter did with me some time ago

4) As you develop new relationships, always remember to ask questions instead of making assumptions

5) We must all dismiss the temptation to allow one or a few bad experiences with a person to shape and define how we feel about an entire group of people

6) Finally, regardless of your source, it's always safe and important to think, question, and investigate the information thoroughly before drawing conclusions

So as we prepare to enter 2015, let's remember: 'Bridge building is necessary for community building.'

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