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My Election Day Epiphany and It's Not Political

Educational Leadership and Management with Dr. Donna Marie Cozine
School Leadership Coaching with Dr. Donna Marie Cozine

I had an epiphany on election day that I wanted to share with you. On election day my daughter said, “Mom we have to go vote !” I explained to her that I was going to go on the way home from work and she was insistent that we go on the way to work. She said, “No Mom, we have to go this morning because I want to put our I Voted stickers on Susan B. Anthony’s grave!”. As I was listening I was totally thinking that she wanted to do some Tik Tok or something on social media

So, here’s the backstory, we live just outside of Rochester, New York, and that's where Susan B Anthony lived and is buried. This whole area in western New York was a hot spot for the work of abolitionists and suffragists. Not far from here is Seneca Falls where the women's convention was. Each year on election day thousands of people go to pay homage to Susan B. Anthony by placing their I VOTED stickers on her headstone at the Mt. Hope Cemetery (they say that Jack the Ripper is also buried there but that’s a story for another day :-) )

Back to the genesis of my epiphany….I dragged my son along because we were on our way home from school. I parked in the cemetery and Juliet was off like a shot. She actually got to the spot well before her brother and I did. Just before I arrived this woman came up to Juliet and asked her why she was there and followed up by asking her if she would like to be interviewed. Juliet’s life’s ambition is to be an actress so she jumped at the chance. We soon found out that they were shooting a documentary about the 2020 election and they were talking to people about why they came to the cemetery and what it means to have the right to vote.

So I signed the release for all three of us to be on camera and of course, Theo was being a bit of a pest. He turned to me with this impish grin and said “Mom. If they ask me why I came, I'm going to say it's because my mom dragged me along!” Knowing how important this was to Juliet I shooed him off to stand by a tree and I told the filmmaker to just shoot Juliet. The interview started with the commentator asking Juliet “What brings you here?” Juliet said, “Well I was watching that in 2016, a documentary was done about people voting and I wanted to come here this year because it's another presidential election.”

You know, as leaders who seem to work around the clock, we worry about our families. We often worry if they understand why we do what we do and whether we are sacrificing them to do this work. Today I realized, they're always watching and they're always learning from us. So what are we teaching them?

The interviewer asked my daughter a whole bunch of questions, and Juliet explained, “I went with my mother this morning to vote, my mom is such a strong woman and I'm so glad that she has the right to vote!” Next, the commentator asked Juliet “Is your mother a good role model?” So now my ears perk up and I think this is going to be interesting! This is going to be on WXXI public television for everyone to see. Juliet said, “My mother is, yes, my mother is an excellent role model. My mother is a strong woman, she's accomplished so much! She's the Superintendent of my school and she just published a book on how to become a superintendent! She’s an amazing role model." I immediately thought that's my baby doll. Next, I thought to myself, what have I taught her? I've taught her that hard work pays off, determination pays off, giving back to people, all of these things matter, and our children are watching.

Everything we do, as leaders, kids are watching, whether it's our kids at school, or it's our kids at home. They're watching and they appreciate us.

Keep on keeping on are doing an amazing job!

In friendship, love, and leadership,

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