By Rick Brouwer
In recent months, northwesterners have been described as the belles of the resource development ball – especially small town girls being wooed by well-spoken corporate diegos.
Let’s carry that idea forward in a modern day version of Cinderella. In this tale, everyone’s invited to the ball; in fact, we have no choice and must attend.
At the ball, there’s more than one Prince Charming and they aren’t just looking for a one and only. Here one Charming can and will partner with more than one Cinderella, and one Cinderella can and will partner with more than one Charming.
And when they do hook up, the Charmings move into the Cinderellas’ home, a shared accommodation i.e. northwest BC.
This is where it gets interesting. Lots of Cinderellas and lots of Charmings, some in relationships, some not, all living under one roof.
Like any living situation, there’s bound to be disagreements, some minor and some major because we’re all different, and in some cases, polar opposites.
Some of us are neat; others messy. Some are loud; others enjoy a quieter lifestyle. But because we’re family now, we can’t just walk away from our differences and problems.
We have to confront them, together, in a civilized manner with long-term solutions in mind.
But let’s go back to the beginning of the story and figure out if there’s something we could do before the ball, to make moving in together easier on all of us.
As I see it, there are two possible scenarios.
First, as each Cinderella heads off to the ball they only have their own desires in mind. Maybe they bring home one Prince. Maybe they bring home a few. Maybe they bring home none at all.
Once everyone’s living in the same house, everyone does their best not to blow up at each other.
In the second scenario, the Cinderellas get together beforehand and agree on what they want the house to look like.
They set ground rules for new roommates and guests, whether everyone will follow certain diets, bathroom schedules, if or when to update the wiring, paint the walls, buy new appliances, add new rooms, etc.
They talk about pet peeves and preferences to avoid blow ups. And before they go to the ball, the Cinderellas agree on the type of Charmings they can all accept as part of the family.
This scenario prevents conflicts between roommates before they move in together, and sets ground rules for any conflicts that will inevitably come up.
As a bonus, when the Charmings move in, they’ll be more prepared. They’ll understand the type of people they’ll be living with and the expectations in the household.
As new family members, the Princes will be welcome. Their opinions will be valued and considered in household discussions and decisions.
Now, I don’t know if a complete fairy tale ending is really possible, but at least in the second scenario Northwest BC’s Cinderellas could write the story together. And the Prince Charmings would have some idea what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in these parts.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Northwest BC could become the place where they all lived happily ever after. Isn’t that a Cinderella story you’d like to tell your kids?
Rick Brouwer lives in Terrace, BC. He is the executive director of SNCIRE, a non-profit that identifies, develops and promotes opportunities to build a resilient and sustainable natural resource economy in the Skeena-Nass region.