I am forever grateful to my cherished friend who taught me how brilliantly things can turn out if being right is not your primary motivation; that would be saved for making things right.
Imaging agreeing to meet a stranger that had publicly called you out, by name, in the middle of the newspaper! Imagine initiating the meeting. I can't. But she did.
Years ago I I found myself especially frustrated with local school politics. I mean anybody with no training could sit on a board of education that is responsible for millions of dollars in tax money. (ummmm, this is still the case.......anybody, with no training,....I digress)
After watching some of the less than stellar candidates talk from space on their body better used for sitting my frustration grew. The pressure cooker exploded when I saw an unadvertised removal of a voting location. A location with one of the largest minority populations in the town. And like an explosion I moved into to action. The gall......the nerve......I took it straight to the newspaper! (this was before the Internet was popping) I wrote my scathing letter and named names! Yes I did. The blondie that was the President of the Board had to take responsibility! I mean, she is the leader!
I don't want to but I should mention now that I had never been to a board meeting a day in my life. I only followed through the press and local get togethers. (I know what you are thinking........tsk, tsk, tsk) Ummmm, I should also mention, I never reached out to ask for more information. I mean, why would I do that.....I was hot! And rightfully so! Changes were being made and incompetent people were going to walk right onto the board uncontested and no one would even be able to vote because the polling location was closed!!! I reread my missive, licked my envelope and my letter was sent!
A few days later I answered my phone to a cheerful voice asking me to breakfast at the local mall's Friendly's. (a very public place...lol) It was the President of the Board. OMG. Stop. Right. There! Stop. I need to tell you that in the morning's paper was my letter with a huge outline, center page, top fold.............yep. It's there. All of it. Even her name!!! OMG OMG OMG
Breathe. The voice was cheerful enough. And, I am a tough chick! I'll go to your breakfast lady! Heeheee.....that's what I kept telling myself to stop my knees from shaking. And off I went.
We met. She was, well, just like her voice. Cheerful. And she was smart and clearly committed to the children in our town and them all getting a quality education. We talked for over 2 hours. In conclusion we agreed that the closing of the polling station could have been better communicated (but it did need to close....sadly, with all of those folks living within walking distance less than 2 % of them came to vote...smh) and that I could have reached out to get more info before going to the paper.
Never had I felt so bad about moving on something I was so passionate about. And while some of what I was feeling was right......I had gotten it all wrong.
So why, I asked her, did you ask me to have breakfast with you? Her reply has been one of my life's greatest lessons and her continued friendship one of my life's greatest gifts.
She told me she knew I must care deeply to take the time to share my thoughts. She said she was willing to listen and perhaps see things differently and if needed, do things differently. She said, "passionate women must support each other......I wanted to know who you were."
She then quickly persuaded me to put my own name on the ballot and I went on to be elected and later hold the title of President. Sometimes you can not just talk about what you want to see you must do some of the work.
Her ability to remove her ego from a situation and really look for progress is one of the best examples I have ever seen. Almost 20 years of friendship later I know that if there is a battle to be waged, and surely if it has to do with children, she is the one I want on my side.........leading the charge.
Tomorrow I will join her for an overdue visit, and we will start.......you guessed it, with breakfast. Being right is important to 1, making things right is important to many.
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