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Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

“Will You Be My Friend?: Circle Yes or No”

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm

When I was a child, my grandmother often repeated a phrase: “You must be a friend to yourself first before you can be a good friend to someone else.” My usual response each time she said it was “yeah, yeah.” “Yeah, yeah”, well I’m listening now; I’m quizzing all possible angles to meanings to this phrase. I can possibly write a dissertation on it, but I will leave it here, well at least for now: no matter how good you are, how sweet you may be, how hard you work, sometimes the only friend you have may be yourself. Being a good friend to yourself first requires you accepting the faults and flaws of not only yourself, but of others as well. Simply, don’t take yourself too seriously and above all, being a friend requires you managing your emotions when you are faced with making a poor decision, disappointment, or even when you experience the highest of highs, being a good friend means to critique yourself, provide adequate feedback, and allow room for improvement and growth. These are what I expect my friends to do for me.

It’s funny that a coliseum full of politicians make me think of one of my grandmother’s favorite phrases–I would venture to say that she would think it would be a little ironic and comical herself. As I conclude my time at the Mississippi Municipal League (MML)’s Annual Conference, I quickly learn that many of those serving Mississippi’s towns and municipalities are despised by some and loved by others. Residents want their politicians responsive, and elected officials want their residents’ needs met, and somewhere in the middle there is a tremendous disconnect. In the words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?” Yes we can. But most often in relationships, we sometimes forget to ask the other “what is it that you want?” and “how can I best provide that which you’re looking for?” The goal in the resident-elected leader relationship is to have an open dialogue. Our leaders want us to participate, talk to them, simply be responsive. As a resident, I want my alderman, mayor, or supervisor to know how I see things from the ground. So, as the song goes, “why can’t we be friends?” Well, we can.

As I made my rounds to many of Mississippi’s finest, I couldn’t help but be thankful and grateful, as many of our elected leaders are managing more, a great deal more, with less. They are working for you and me, and yes, they sometimes may not have a friend to call, but keep the lines open, strike up a discussion, and watch the friendship grow.