I would never cut it as the First Lady of the United States. How do I know this? Being a local school board member’s wife is sometimes more than I can handle.
My husband, Craig, is wrapping up his second year of his first four-year term on the local school board. His intentions were noble when he ran for election. His grandpa had served. His dad had served. And he saw it as his way to give back to the community in which he was raised – a way to try to help make the school district better for our children and for all children in the community.
I was proud of him. Still am. But oh, how I underestimated how much differently I would view some in our community after watching various issues be raised, with half-truths being shared on social media and people who I have considered friends questioning the integrity of the board.
I’m not a controversial person by nature. Truly, I hate confrontation.
But recently, our board has been dealt a no-win situation. The details aren’t important. What is important, however, is a school board often receives confidential information from which to base decisions – information that cannot be shared with the general public. Sometimes, it’s for the protection of a student. Sometimes, for the protection of a faculty member’s privacy. Regardless, it’s confidential.
When the community sees a decision being made and begin to make judgement, they often don’t have the full story. And let’s just say that things can get ugly – especially where social media is involved.
Rather than me saying something I shouldn’t, I’ve decided to remove Facebook from my phone for a time. Truly, my blood pressure is thanking me.
What is most disappointing to me, however, is that those who often raise the loudest noise don’t often step up to serve in these roles. And the good folks who would be great in these roles? Well, they see all the mess they could get themselves into. And truly – who in their right mind would want volunteer for that craziness?
It’s not just limited to the school board. Livestock folks are often community people, by nature. And they step up to serve in so many ways – on the county fair board, as state association advisors, as 4-H leaders. Every one of these scenarios often involve long hours and zero paychecks.
Perhaps you receive a thank-you note once in a while for the work you’ve put in. And I certainly hope you do. But more often than not, it’s a fairly thankless job. And the phone calls that come are often with complaints or “suggestions for improvement,” rather than a pat on the back.
So why do we do it?
Why? Because regardless of the thanks we may or may not receive, we know that it takes good people to make these organizations run. Because we believe in the cause. Because we know that if we don’t approach the issues with the best interests of others in mind, who will?
I’m so thankful to be involved in the livestock industry, and for our children to be surrounded by so many examples of true servant leadership in action. And regardless of what issues may come, I’m thankful our children can see their dad do the thankless work for the right reasons.
Keep doing the tough work, friends. Lots of young folks are watching and learning. And you’re appreciated by many – even if you don’t hear it often enough.
As for me, I think I’ll keep Facebook off the phone for a while longer. And maybe I’ll write a handwritten thank-you note to a leader I appreciate instead.
This article originally ran in the April 2019 issue of Hereford World magazine.