As soon as I saw the email solicitation to attend a visit by a two-star General, admittedly I got a little excited. Not only is she a wonderful speaker but she has made waves as a pioneering female with a knack for telling it how it is. The day finally arrived, amidst lots of venue changes and confusion on the attendee list. I had my ticket and I was ready.
Let me preface the remainder of this post: upholding my unofficial call sign was not my intention. However, this was designed to be a dialogue-forum type of event. With at least 150 people. Right. The facilitator had a list of questions she asked, then the floor opened for other questions. My hand instinctively shot up.
My original question had already been asked by the facilitator. I switched on the fly. Then something unexpected happened. Maj Gen Edmondson turned on me! Instead of answering, she posed the question to me. Again, I was forced to think on the fly. That’s not my forte. I’m a planner. Fortunately, the rephrased question was met with a heartfelt and genuine response about how such a successful and ambitious woman is able to stay connected with her children while navigating a fast-paced, highly visible, demanding job. She spoke of being present at home and carving out time to connect with her teenage daughter. She mentioned being a “gymnastics mom” which she stated is unlike anything she is comfortable with. For me, it was important to be reminded that all moms, no matter where or what they do, struggle with the same issues…missing events, getting home late, having to choose between what is attainable and what is not.
As the audience was heavily military, maybe civilians didn’t feel she was relatable. However, having once worn a uniform, she and I are alike. I suspect many others in the audience are, as well, even if no question was asked. I feel I represented my squadron well, but, more importantly, her answer united many people in what we are capable of, as mothers, as people, as part of the military.
Perhaps I did not showcase “Stumper” this time. But, I did take an opportunity to be seen by a woman whom I admire from afar. And she said the word balance is total BS. I couldn’t agree more.
I ask you –
Do you attend work functions deemed “forum-type”?
Are you the first to ask a question?
Planner vs. Spontaneous: tell me about you!
(The post Stumper and Stumpee first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)
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