People often ask me what it is like to be mayor. I found an old joke a few weeks back that sort of sums the experience up so bear with me as I lead in with this.
Once upon a time a sheepherder was tending his sheep at the edge of a country road in rural Wyoming. A brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee screeched to a halt next to him.
The driver, a young man dressed in a very expensive suit and tie, designer shoes, Gucci sunglasses, a Rolex wristwatch, jumped out and asked the herder, “If I guess how many sheep you have, will you give me one of them?” The herder looked at the young man, then looked at the sprawling herd of grazing sheep and said, “OK.”
The young man parked his vehicle, connected his notebook and wireless modem, entered a NASA site, scanned the ground using satellite imagery and a GPS, opened a database and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms, then printed a 150-page report on his high-tech mini printer. He turned to the herder and said, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep here.” The herder answered, “Say, you’re right. Pick out a sheep.” The young man took one of the animals and put it in the back of his Jeep.
As he was preparing to drive away, the herder looked at him and asked, “Now, if I guess what type of work you do, will you pay me back in kind?”
“Sure!” the young man answered.
“You’re either a consultant or a government bureaucrat.”
“Exactly! How did you know?” asked the young man.
“Very simple. First you came here without being invited. Second, you charged me a fee to tell me something I already knew. Third, you do not understand anything about my business, and I’d really like to have my dog back."
In any event I’m here to challenge, motivate and maybe inspire you today. The citizens of Forks and the West End have a history of being incredibly caring and supportive of each other. We have had an abundance of quality efforts, good ideas and positive outcomes.
We all know, however, that if we keep doing the same things we keep getting the same results which on the whole is a good thing if indeed we continue to want to get the same results. It is also a pretty fair presumption that if we do the same things as everybody else, we’re pretty much going to be or at least look like everybody else.
Today, I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the steps to a successful future for this community, for Forks, Washington and how you can assist with it.
Here is my list of truths, certainly they apply to me and I suspect you will hear much of yourself here too.
1.) Most of us are all too busy.
2.) We often hope that somebody else will take care of things.
3.) We often think that we would like to do our own things and nothing more.
4.) The odds are and your friends in this room will verify that you do a lot now and give a lot to your family and community. You all probably think that the person sitting next to you does more than you do.
5.) Admit the fact we don’t know how things are going to turn out nor do we have much if any control over things.
6.) It’s easier to be busy than it is to deal with some of the things we don’t want to do.
7.) Our inner voice often likes to tell us that we’re supposed to be perfect.
8.) It’s sometimes easier to just do something nice for somebody else than take some time to pamper ourselves.
With these in mind let’s transition and take a look at some of our activities and events that are a part of the fabric of our lives in Forks. In alphabetical order:
Chamber of Commerce Wine & Cheese Banquet
Cherish Our Children
Festival of Trees
4th of July
Kenny Church Tournament
Last Chance Salmon Derby
Moonlight Madness in July
Nate Crippen Memorial Tournament
Relay for Life
Stephenie Meyer Days
Tod Horton Memorial Tournament
Twinkle Light Parade and December Moonlight Madness
West End Thunder
This doesn’t include school events and I know I’ve left a few others out as we can all think of several nonprofit and church fundraisers immediately.
The truth is that we are really busy and when we factor our own activities into the equation we’re busy most every weekend.
Throw in those sunny summer days when we need to take care of mowing the lawn or those house projects we’ve kept putting off and mix in holidays and family obligations a weekend might arise every year that does not seem to have a commitment.
This doesn’t even include anything extra or new making an appearance on our schedules. Oh, by the way, you Chamber members mostly own and run businesses while several of you are raising children or taking care of parents, or you get the idea.
You’re too busy. We all know you are capable of doing more but still you’re too busy, I’m too busy, we’re all too busy. You can’t do everything.
We also can think and hope that somebody else is going to step up but I suspect that many of those people are already too busy even now.
Certainly, I encourage further participation from everybody but realize that too much responsibility too soon often scares people away.
So, where to next? This must be a problem that we can fix. When we ponder this situation in our mind how do we go about trying to resolve it? If you’re like me, you begin to think that you can manage your time differently.
If you’re like me, you quickly find out that this is just one more activity to add to your to-do list and you work until you just stop. How about utilizing technology to help? Some of us are mature enough to remember an era before computers, e-mail, Facebook, Skype, etc. Some of us remember getting more done when we were younger, too. We often forget that technology has developed to help us and save time, not become the central focus of our lives.
Added into this discussion quickly comes another reality.
With the economy the way it has been everybody tries to do more with less.
We need to do less with more. Again, we need to do less with more. Ponder that later today or tonight when you get a quiet moment. We need to take the pressure off and let the activities come to us instead of following our urge to micromanage everything. We all need to be ourselves and not who we think other people think we are.
About this time you’re probably ready to pronounce that I’m nuts and I’ve dealt with too many angry protesters the last few weeks. Our lives aren’t about our activities, events and things.
They’re about values, the values that we believe in, the values that give us character and meaning. The biggest step is admitting that values are what really drive us and then we need to use them as our driving motivator.
Let’s revisit our list of community activities and pull out the themes. Tell me how these sound to you and whether you have interest in participating in these sorts of events.
Events that support our children, here in town, our kids, our neighbors' kids. What sorts of events do we have that do this?
Scholarship Auction, Cherish our Children, Easter events, Breakfast with Santa …
Honoring volunteers and in particular those individuals who have served and do serve our country in the armed forces.
4th of July, Memorial Day
Supporting our country, the United States of America, the country that means something to us, not the one that the newspaper writes about and television shows in our living room every night, the country that means something to us in Forks.
Honoring our communities’ heritage and how it translates to the world we live in.
Making some time to share events and activities with our community members and friends.
Opening our doors to share things with visitors from out of the area.
Supporting and respecting our family, our elders and our ancestors.
Celebrating those who have overcome illness and adversity.
Celebrating our businesses and encouragement for them to be more successful.
Promoting opportunities to get some exercise, fresh air and enjoy some competition.
Promoting opportunity to relieve some pressure and blow off some steam.
Honoring and celebrating the seasons.
So let’s revisit the values I’ve presented so far.
Supporting our children, honoring our veterans, honoring our volunteers, supporting our country, sharing things with our friends and fellow citizens, sharing some time with our visitors to the area, supporting and respecting our family, our elders and our ancestors, celebrating those who have overcome illness and adversity, celebrating our businesses and encouragement for them to be more successful, promoting opportunities to get some exercise, fresh air and enjoy some competition, promoting opportunity to relieve some pressure and blow off some steam, honoring and celebrating the seasons.
Not listed here but of great importance also is supporting and respecting our religious and family heritages.
We each need to be aware of these values, the things that really matter and if we are inclined do something that expresses the value and what it means with us, share it with those of us who feel the same as we do and offer the opportunity to share it with those that we don’t know or need supportive and positive contact from other people.
I’m not here today to ask you to do more or feel guilty about things.
Walk the walk. Talk the talk. Attend some events. Share of yourself and let people know that these things mean something to you and that’s the reason we do the things that we do.
Seahawks, Love 'em, and I don’t think that was the right moment to interview Richard Sherman. Seahawks 24, Broncos 17. Go Hawks!
(Editor's note: Mayor Monohan miscalculated — it was Seahawks 43, Broncos 8.)