Leadership and citizenship: a public apology

Citizenship
What is good citizenship? For me, in addition to being a friendly neighbor, and shopping local, and maintaining my house, and going to work every day so I can pay my property taxes, now I will also attend village board meetings and make public comments.

A few weeks ago, someone asked me why I rather suddenly began attending village board meetings and making public comments at those meetings.

It’s a fair question. I have lived in Lansing all my life, and prior to this year I had attended exactly one (1) village board meeting. But around March of this year I began not only participating in meetings, but also attending forums, writing letters, posting blogs, and discussing local politics with family and friends. Why the change?

I don’t really have a good answer to that, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while. And I think what it comes down to is simply this: The older I get, the more I understand the burden of leadership, the blessings of citizenship, and how leadership and citizenship depend on each other to build strong community.

Benefits

All my life, I’ve enjoyed the benefits of living in my little town—pleasant neighbors, beautiful parks, friendly businesses, responsive public services. I’ve enjoyed all these benefits without ever really giving them much thought. I’ve taken them for granted.

Burdens

And when I hear about good people being pressured to resign—or simply feeling ready to give up—it reminds me that the burden of leadership is not easy to bear. And my taking people for granted does not make it any easier. I feel bad about how little appreciation I express for the people who do so much to make possible the kind of life I enjoy here.

Having a good life in a good town requires good leadership. But it also requires good citizenship. And I want to be a better citizen.

So, in addition to being a friendly neighbor, and shopping local, and maintaining my house, and going to work every day so I can pay my property taxes, now I also attend village board meetings and make public comments.

Blessing

I apologize for waiting so long to express my appreciation to my leaders—my Mayor, my Trustees, and all the Department Heads and office staff who have devoted time and energy and money and ideas to leading and serving Lansing.

This small blog is the only forum I have, so I want to use it to publicly say, “Thank you,” and to publicly commit to being a blessing and expressing my gratitude more often. Thank you, leaders, for everything you do to make Lansing the kind of town I can be proud to call home.

Update: Why I’m running for office

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