Finding the Middle Ground

The BCC Compass – November 2022


I’m the middle child in my family.

Growing up, this often meant that I was the one constantly promoting peace between my siblings. Given how close I was in age to both my older and younger sisters, I was able to connect with them in different ways. Being sandwiched in the middle forced me to consider both sides, to find the balance.

I was the peacemaker.

It’s funny how the roles we played in our families growing up often influence who we are as adults. Today, I’m a social worker — it’s my job to find the middle ground.

One of the first things I learned when I began my education in social work is that you can’t actually find a middle ground without identifying the farthest edges first. Considering the opposing sides — the two extremes — is necessary when it comes to arriving where you need to be in a compromise.

As we come out of this recent election and prepare for a time of Thanksgiving, I think that finding this middle ground is more important and relevant than ever before.

There will always be people who have different thoughts than you, different beliefs. We need to find space in our brains for all ideas, because that is how you find the middle. It’s how you discover what you do believe in and what you don’t believe in. The whole idea that someone is right and someone is wrong goes against equity, diversity and inclusion. Seek to understand. Keep an open mind. Be open to learning.

The Thanksgiving holiday is a great opportunity to exercise this mental flexibility. Remember the skits we did in preschool and Kindergarten about the first Thanksgiving? Remember how the “Pilgrims” and native people were portrayed? We now know that these facts weren’t exactly accurate. We need to unlearn what we thought to be true and be open to understanding that that wasn’t the correct way to think about native people or the history of the United States.

This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to do the hard work. To have those tough conversations. The older we all get, the more I’ve found things to be unifying, especially if you’re on the lookout for them.

Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful Thanksgiving holiday!

Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO