A lot of people in our little town of Keene, NH are talking about the problem of a growing group of young people who are hanging out in the Square just off Main Street. Local store keepers and restaurant owners complain that they are scaring off customers while others complain that they leave trash or bother pedestrians or shoppers passing by. And to be honest, it is a tough looking crowd...kinda down and out looking, smoking cigarettes, sitting around not doing much of anything for hours at a time. I overheard some passerbys calling them (rather loudly) "losers."
A friend of mine who I frequently chat with over coffee (we too while away a bit of time sipping a smoothie and hanging out at Keene's new COOP) referred to them instead as "people on prolonged vacation" and expressed some jealousy as he was called back to the office before finishing his smoothie.
I've since shared this "reframing" with anyone who will listen: "Hey look at all those folks on prolonged vacation...looks like fun!" And, I think people like this new way of looking at it....a shift from "losers" to "winners." And so I'm wondering about the power of this new idea. Will it spread? Will folks start to treat these hanger outers with more respect? Perhaps even admiration? As my dad would say, "Only the Shadow knows..."