As we celebrated President’s Day this week, I was reminded of a childhood dream of mine to become President of the United States. And a veterinarian. I liked furry creatures and I wanted to rule the free world (Hey, it made perfect sense when I was eight.)
Some may say I aspired to be President because I have a tendency towards bossiness and I’m somewhat of a control freak. But I (perhaps with a small personal bias) think it’s because I truly always wanted to help make the world a better place. I believed (and still believe) that it is everyone’s responsibility to help make the world a better place. What better way to do that, my eight-year-old self thought, then to be President! This dream continued with me into college. I majored in Political Science, had long drawn-out debates with teachers, students, coffee baristas, literally anyone who would let me, and I enthusiastically signed up for Model UN. Model United Nations (for those who don’t know) is an exercise where each student is assigned the role of an ambassador of a particular country and then we meet in these roles to resolve world issues, make trade agreements, address global humanitarian issues, etc.
I received the role of ambassador for the United States. Yippee!!! I had goosebumps of joy. I did a happy dance. It was an opportunity for me and my bright-eyed, idealistic college contemporaries to work together to propose solutions to the world’s problems. We were going to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and bring peace to our pretend world. etc.
Well, that’s not what happened.
I learned, in rather dramatic fashion, that many, if not most folks with political aspirations had no interest in helping people or making the world better. For them, it was about power, influence and total world domination. There was back-stabbing, lies, shady deals and more. Don’t me wrong, I’m not a total idiot. I was interested in politics, so I wasn’t unaware of the political (is there a word other than bullshit that could be used here? No? OK.) bullshit that happens amongst seasoned politicos. But to see that level of cynicism and ugliness at the college-age, was eye-opening and disturbing.
And that’s the moment where my political aspirations died a thousand deaths.
I hadn’t given up on the idea of making the world a better place. I just thought I should try a different tack. I was still interested in public service, just not as an elected official. For the next fifteen years, I worked with state and local government, a non-profit agencies, and then in a weird twist of fate, an opportunity presented itself to become President.
OK, not President of the United States, but President of Advance Air & Heat, my family’s business. Which I believe is better.
So. Much. Better.
Hope you had a very Happy President’s Day!
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