I was having lunch with a friend and talking about all the things that our department is involved in. We were discussing park projects, squirrel bridge installations, the trick or treat event, fun runs, urban forestry, routine maintenance of all green space, and operating the golf course. I was doing my best to give an overview of all the things we provide for the community... My friend stopped me and said, “I’m not sure how you guys do all of that, it’s impressive.”
“I don’t know how you do it” I think is supposed to be a compliment and a testament to our ability to handle a lot, but it made me feel like we were doing all of this alone and having to support it all ourselves. My initial reaction was going to be “yeah, me either!”, but I ended up just saying “thanks”, though it really got me thinking.
For us, we have a job to do, a service to provide, and a passion for making our community better every day... I started looking around and questioning how do any of us “do it”. Seriously, the single parents making ends meet, teachers of special needs, night shift workers, emergency services and their call volumes, stay at home moms, the things health care providers deal with, the men and women coming home from military service integrating into “regular” life, caregivers of elderly adults, those living with a disability, mental health care workers, small business owners, the long hours of a shutdown at a mill, etc... you name it, none of it is easy, and all of you amaze me! Thank you for doing what you do, because it makes our community better and stronger.
We are all on our own paths and we figure out how to adapt and how to get things done... and somehow at the end of the day we do. No use in judging our journey against someone else or comparing ours to others, they are ours to live and lead. Our roads are different, and they are ours to travel – but we don’t have to do it by ourselves.
When I hear “I don’t know how you guys do it” – the real answer is, I know how - we don’t (and can’t) do it alone. We partner with other departments for projects, lean into the expertise of our police and fire departments, work closely with the diking district, contract with youth sports organizations, collaborate with the school district, network with other cities/agencies/private industries, and are supported by amazing volunteers – and of course YOU! Those who use our parks, attend our events, sign up for our classes - YOU make all this possible, and for that we are grateful!!!
The most important gift we can give to anyone is time. We are all busy living fast paced lives, and giving the gift of time is so important and more valuable than we realize. Whether it’s as small as rushing out of a building and stopping to hold a door for a person with a stroller, pausing your watch on a run to step off the lake path to pick up a piece of garbage, sitting with an elderly grandparent listening to the same story again because they are excited to tell it, or as big as volunteering to be a coach for a youth sports team, stepping up to be on one of our local boards and commissions, or joining a service organization. There are a million ways to volunteer. Sometimes we forget that many of us are successful because someone else gave us their time.
So keep doing what you're doing, make a difference in the space where you are, keep your head up, help out where you can, ask for help when you need it,go with passion and purpose, make goals, crush them, and then make bigger goals. #KeepDoingYou #WeCantDoItAloneButWeCanTogether