Through the eyes of children
Being Mayor occasionally can be fun. People see you in parades where you wave and throw candy. The children scurry around to get just a bit more of that sugar that parents love them to have. By the end of the parade, your grin is labored and your throwing arm is sore, but what a good time was had by all.
On the other hand, being Mayor is occasionally not so much fun. You face real problems that most people don’t see. You struggle to help your community succeed in a part of the state where small rural towns haven’t had much success lately.
You spend long hours that most people don’t know about, fight battles that should have never occurred and wear the hats of cheerleader, teammate, boss, and disciplinarian; sometimes all at the same time.
Is it worth it? If honest, most mayors will occasionally have their doubts. The higher the goals for the community, the more likely disappointment will occur along the way. It is like life. You pick yourself up and you keep moving forward, hoping those behind you will do the same thing.
Today, my mood was lifted by a batch of letters I received in the mail. They were from a third grade class that I spoke and read to last March. I remember the morning well, thinking how bright and inquisitive these kids were.
I want to share some of their thoughts from their letters to me. The wording and spelling is exactly as I received them, their own thoughts in their own handwriting.
• “I injoyed that story you read and it is cool how you do your job and one day I want to be just like you.”
• “I really like you being mayor. You are very good at your job….I really like that you own Hardee’s. I really like to eat thier.”
• “I know you like being a mayor in this town. I’m glad you are the mayor and came to this county and became our mayor.”
• “I want you to stay mayor longer because I like the way you made Donalsonville.”
• “I hope you have the most votes again and how minny time could you be the mayor. Thank you for billing the school.”
• “Thank you for visiting us. I hope in the future you become famouse and loving and thank you for reading that book.”
• “I know you have a tough time doing your job and do you have any pets? I do. I have 1 dog and 2 cats.”
• “Thank you for reading. It could be worse. I think you read very good.”
• “Thank you for coming and reading a story. I hope you can come again. I hope you are mayor longer.”
• “I think you are doing a good job being mayor and I hope you continue being mayor. I hope you had a good time.”
The last child said he hoped I had a good time. I did, I really did. That visit was the highlight of my day back in March. These belated thank you notes are likely the highlight of my day today.
These notes remind me of why I wanted to be mayor. These children are depending on us to provide a safe community with opportunities for them to learn and work and play. Their eyes are full of innocence but their hearts are full of need.
The letters are in my desk now. After the next bad day I have as mayor, perhaps I will pull them out and remind myself that the good days outweigh the bad. These children are worth it and we should never forget that.
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com