On the Mayor's Mind

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mayor Shari Winstead
City of Shoreline
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of second graders at Syre Elementary. I was more excited about speaking to this group than any of the other meetings on my calendar. My son is 27, and it had been a long time since I was around 7 year old kids. But memory served me correctly.  Kids this age are truly a joy. Honest, open and interested.

I arrived just as the kids were coming in from recess. Their (amazing) teacher quickly brought their attention to their guest (me), and within moments they were quietly seated on the floor in their places. They immediately understood that their attention to their guest was a sign of respect, and frankly, I have never felt so much respect in a meeting.

On my way to the school that afternoon, I was lost in memories of my own son being that age, and how impressionable kids are, especially at 7. I hoped my words and my example would show them that they could be Mayor one day, or a doctor or rocket scientist - the possibilities were endless. I loved the thought of showing these kids they could do anything they want.  I could remove barriers and change perceptions for these kids, just by being me, and doing what I love to do.

Their questions were relevant (how much money does the City have, what does a Mayor do?), cute (how old is your dog? What is your son’s name?), and unexpected (do you know Keith (the former Mayor)? Do you know he drives a white car?). The teachers did a great job of prompting questions (why should we shop in Shoreline? What can kids do to help the City?). It was truly a fulfilling experience.

I had not expected to walk away feeling like this was the most interested and respectful group I had spoken to. No personal agendas, nobody checking their watch. Everyone was truly in the moment, respectful and open to learning.

Next time you go to a community meeting, think about leaving your preconceived ideas and personal agenda at the door. Come with an open mind and heart, and be willing to listen and learn. Be respectful, even to those you disagree with. Remember to ask questions, not tell stories. It will be a more enjoyable experience for you, and probably everyone in the room. Whether you are the speaker or the audience, one thing is for sure - your behavior really does affect everyone in the room, whether they are 7 or 57.

Mayor Shari Winstead
City of Shoreline


Anonymous,  February 23, 2014 at 6:49 PM  

Mayor Winstead's heart's in the right place, but her arrogant tone has got to go, She could take a lesson in humility from her able predecessor. And I'll leave it at that.

Anonymous,  February 23, 2014 at 7:45 PM  

Let's see, while guests of the council are speaking from the podium, Mayor Winstead (while she was still a Councilmember), engaged in the the following behaviors if she was bored or disagreed with the speaker: stared at the ceiling, shuffled her papers, whispered to her neighbor, whispered to a staff member, tapped her feet impatiently, crossed her arms and wiggled back and forth in her seat, looked at the clock, and on occasion did not ask questions but made accusatory statements directed to the speaker clearly indicating her disagreement. How dare Mayor Winstead believe she is writing a column for Miss Manners these days on how one should comport themselves as she is not any paragon of virtue herself.

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