The question entered my mind as I was signing my name on the line to file my candidacy for the school board in my little west suburban community.
I have never aspired for political office, although, my late father told me that when I was born, my late mother wrote "Chairman of the Board" on the back of my baby picture. Prophetic, perhaps?
Service has been a part of my middle name for a very long time. I have mentored youth in my community, volunteered as a tutor, helped kids enjoy summer reading, and lead a group of really innovative little girls in a robotics-focused Brownie troop.
My life, my message, can almost be summed up in my little company's trademark - Read.Write.Think.Connect.™.
I moved to my little community in 2007 and while I was still finding my way to the grocery store, was in a community struck by mass violence in 2008. That one thing catapulted me into the public arena in a way that my simple homemaker/writer/consultant status hadn't expected.
Over the years, I have met many people who sincerely love this community and the children who make up the schools. They want this to continue to be a sought-after community, after all, we live here because my husband researched all the enclaves in this city and chose this one because of the diversity of the schools, the emphasis on the arts, and the high academic standards.
After I filed my paperwork and picked up my daughters from school, I told them what I did. My older daughter's eyes sparkled and she did that kid-like open mouth gasp then she jumped over the armrest and hugged me. "Mama, that's awesome!" In the backseat, her sister was equally as delighted and said "That's cause kids come first." Her sister then chimed in with "yeah cause daddy said you are a community leader." It all made me smile broadly to know at least the 3rd and 5th graders would support me.
My little girl's enthusiasm didn't wane, she immediately called her friend and got her friend's mom instead who said she'd vote for me. The girls then started thinking about how they would make my campaign signs and buttons.
This is really happening.
I am a firm believer that the community is made up of all of us, all of us have a part to play. It shouldn't matter our color, our income, or even our education status, we are all a part of the school district and all of our children are important.
Because I am passionate about what I do and I believe strongly in supporting teachers to do what they do best - teach, that 21st century kids deserve a 21st century education, that the taxpayers deserve to have their questions answered and their issues understood - regardless of if they have students in the district or not, the doors of communication should truly be open and honest, and finally, money/power/politics do not belong in the decision making of the district.
It is time, perhaps my late mother was right.