Sitting quietly at the bar of our family kitchen, 86 year old Lowell Vinson slowly puffs on the same black pipe I have always known. He is methodically working on his daily crossword puzzle, waiting for a fresh set of new directives from LuLu, my mom. I am 53 years old. Throughout the years, this has been his daily ritual. His slow, thoughtful, and kind demeanor is something I have chased, but never caught, as an adult. My dad is special. In all my years, I have never heard him speak poorly of another person, curse, or be anything less than kind to anyone. He doesn’t give advice; his actions speak much louder than any proclamation of service. He is constantly mowing the lawn or repairing a home of someone in need.
Quiet or loud, grumpy or spunky, mean or kind, my dad has always shown me that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. When an individual has dignity, he/she has a sense of worthiness. A sense of pride. Unlike respect, dignity is given, not earned. When we recognize the inherent humanity of our fellow man, we show them dignity. How we treat our kids, and how we treat each other, promotes dignity. Regardless of how my dad was treated, it never impacted his mood or response to how he treated others.
Treating my Wylie family with dignity is easy. You have shown me dignity and kindness, supported me when times were tough, and encouraged our entire school district through not only COVID-19 but ALL the challenges during my ten years as superintendent. This dignity has been a gift I canno
t repay and have needed so much. I am grateful.
Election Day has come and gone. While some races hang in the balance as they count final ballots, most offices have been filled by popular vote.There are many people in local and state races that I have not met. However, because of my job, I have met quite a few of the folks on my ballot. From my personal experience, I consider each of them good and honest people, focused on service to others. Our kids learn about dignity from how teachers, parents, and those around them treat others.
Congratulations to our newest “Board Members to be,” Coach Bill Howard and Mrs. Kylie Reising. They will be sworn in during the November board meeting on November 16.
I am grateful for those willing to serve in public office. Although I sometimes may disagree with them, I owe them the same level of kindness and dignity that my dad shows to others. Harvard psychologist, Adam Grant, explained, “Politeness doesn’t require us to hold back on criticism, shy away from disagreement, or bite our tongues on hard truths. It simply asks us to consider the impact of our words on others and find a respectful way to convey our views.” In short, they deserve to be treated with dignity.
I may be partial, but I believe the kind of dignity we show each other in Wylie ISD makes us special. I believe it’s who we are as a group. It’s our identity. I am grateful to live in a free country, the best state in the nation, and among those who will represent me in public office. When I discuss the outcome of this election, my hope is to speak about those elected with the same dignity my dad showed others. Our children are watching and I want them to see my Dad in me. My thoughts, prayers, and support, as well as my opinions to those willing to serve in public office. Thank you for showing dignity through words and actions, the Wylie Way!