Reach out, ask questions, be correctly informed


How are you today?

It takes about a second and a half to ask this question. Did you check on someone today or did you remain the silent majority? Before I get lost in this thought, I will share my recent adventures as mayor first.

I loved getting to start the week talking with preschool kids about what my role is as mayor. The visits were short, but it’s always good to see our youngest citizens going strong.

The Accelerate Indiana Municipalities Ideas Summit was this last week, and I had a chance to talk with other leaders from around the state and explore new ideas of what is working for them and what they would have done differently.

This is my third time attending the event, and while it wasn’t easy to stay focused virtually, I still came away with many new ideas or at least slight adjustments to projects we are working on. Thank you, AIM, for hosting another great event and allowing leaders from Indiana to connect again.

If this were an episode of Sesame Street, the letter of the week would have been “W” for weddings. Several area residents said their “I dos” to embark on life together. I enjoy this part of my role as mayor and am always happy to perform a wedding when time allows. Congratulations to all of the couples. I hope you find as much love and happiness as my wife and I have in the last 20 years.

I am sure you read about other happenings this week in The Tribune. Be it ground penetrating radar at the old city cemetery or the start to the green space in front of the John Mellencamp mural, many are quick to keyboard their thoughts for the world to read on social media. Oftentimes, the concerns they raise are covered in the article, but I would guess taking a few minutes to read the article before sharing wasn’t an option.

Many times, when someone does take a minute to reach out, we have a good conversation and share details pleasantly and move on. Of course, this leads me back to my original thought from above: How are you today?

I had a caller recently call for a few topics but ended the conversation with a simple question: How are you today? Truthfully, I probably schluffed it off at first and didn’t really respond much at all. Then the more I thought about it, the person wasn’t asking for details of the latest topic, but a real concern for another human being.

Oftentimes, we are so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t remember to consider another person. So to the caring person who asked “How are you today?” I am OK. I don’t let the social media comments get to me because I realize a majority of the time, they come from not knowing details of the topic.

I usually stop and ask myself “Why don’t they know?” I am not sure. I share little parts about various topics each week here in this format — 37 times to be exact so far in 2020.

Now, I understand these are very brief. Many times a week, you will find articles from January Rutherford via The Tribune. This is where you get more details because articles normally focus on one topic. I can normally tell when someone has read an article because the questions will be more detailed.

Twice a month, I take time to record the Seymour Moments podcast to try to help people hear what is going on in our area. The guest list has included other elected officials, department heads and nonprofit leaders. We try to keep the conversation short enough to build your curiosity so you will reach out and get involved with whatever the topic is.

My hope is all of the above sparks enough in you to pick up the phone or send me a message and ask questions about various topics that interest you. Then we can really engage you, the citizen, and move our little piece of the world forward together.

I would like to share some words from Mr. Rogers before I go: “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

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