“Listen to the Mustn’ts, child,
listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts,
the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves.”
Now that I caught your attention with a bit of Shel Silverstein’s “Listen to the Mustn’ts,” let me tell you about my week. Don’t worry: I will get back to the rest of this poem before we go.
One of the items on my calendar recently was reading to a class on Read Across America Day. Normally for the younger classes, I read my all-time favorite tale about sticking with it, “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.” This time, though, it was a little older class, and I decided to share some of the poetry from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.
Knowing he is not always the easiest to read out loud, I decided to practice the day before. I am sure you can only imagine the appreciation on others’ faces as I went from office to office.
Now, we jump ahead to the virtual reading that was supposed to happen but didn’t as technology stepped in. A few different tries and I ended up recording a quick video and sharing it with the teacher so they could at least watch it even if I couldn’t tune in live. Guess that stick-with-it attitude I learned years ago came in handy after all. Thank you, Mrs. Castetter, for asking me to participate. I enjoyed it more than you know.
This year, I had a chance to deliver the State of the City, or a slightly abbreviated version, to the Seymour Rotary Club. Most years, this happens just after the regular State of the City. Last year with COVID, I don’t believe we got a chance to do it as we were all learning how to host digital meetings and improving our technology skill sets.
As they always do, Rotary members brought great questions during the question-and-answer section after the presentation. If you are looking for a community organization that gets involved and gives back, find a Rotary member and learn more.
My most recent department visit was with the Seymour Police Department. To start the day, I sat in and learned more about our new body cameras and how they work. The COBAN units that are being implemented will be the fifth generation of cameras SPD has used since 2007 when they first started using body cams. This unit allows 30 seconds of video to be captured prior to the camera being activated.
Now, back to finishing that poem from the intro.
“Then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.”
Oftentimes in my role as mayor, I feel like a “mustn’t,” that I have to say no over and over again. On a regular basis, it isn’t that I think something is a bad idea, but that it isn’t something the city can do.
Many times, I am presented with an idea that needs to be performed by the private sector, not the government. Usually, after you have presented your idea, I will try to help connect you to others with similar thoughts so you can see where they go.
This for me is where the last three lines of “Listen to the Mustn’ts” comes in. If you already forgot, let me repeat them: “Then listen close to me. Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.”
Anything is possible, even if not by the exact way you originally thought. Be open to changes and explore possibilities of how to make whatever it is happen for yourself and for your community.
Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].