Former Buckland selectman reflects
on lessons learned in serving town
Dear Buckland and West County residents,
Thank you for helping me to be a Buckland Selectman these past four years. My success (and failure) is reflective of your investment in me. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Responsibility=response able. It’s an ironic reality in life that most of our best learning happens when we are least prepared and hardly “know” anything. Moving through ambiguity and making decisions despite uncertainty is hard to do.
Decide to choose. Sometimes the correct answer is no. Take responsibility for the choice – whatever the outcome.
Give the benefit of the doubt and seek first to understand. Relationships matter and caring about others impacts our collective well-being. The real work comes in caring for and about unlikable people. Usually we know very little about “those people” because we put our own narrative and assumptions upon them. When we listen to their stories we get different perspectives of our collective reality with a broader understanding of our place in the world and impact on one another.
Understanding=curiosity+empathy+critical thinking+deep listening.
Apologize and forgive. When we make a mistake affecting another, take responsibility, remember the lesson, and apologize in order to grow the relationship, forgive the mistake, and have compassion for the other person.
Be brave. In most of life we do the best we can with what we’ve got. We step in and figure it out as we go. If we are fortunate, we will have people who can assist. If we are courageous we will admit we need help, we will ask for help, and we will receive help.
Be generous. Ask if assistance seems to be needed. Sometimes the answer is No, thank you. If the answer is yes, then give cheerfully.
Do the work. Having a seat at the table is OK. If we want to be effective then get in the kitchen. Decide the menu. Cook. Bake.Sweat. Clean up. Serve. The outcome — some people will complain about the cooking. Be grateful and eat.
Transformation requires challenge and time. Cake=butter, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, and flour. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs; mix until incorporated. Add salt and vanilla. Fold in flour. Put batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. Creating batter requires beating together ingredients. Heat and time transform batter into cake.
Gratitude and humility. Be grateful and give thanks. Sharing the credit matters. Do it often and freely. Trust and respect are earned and are mutual. We choose to learn, grow, and rise to become our best selves.
Community. Our success as individuals depends on our interest in one another succeeding and building our collective capacity to prosper and thrive.
The author declined to seek re-election this year for another three-year term on Buckland’s Selectboard. She gives her new title as Curious Human and Buckland Citizen. We thank her for sharing these views — and welcome your letters, too, at firstname.lastname@example.org.