These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)
It was tempting not to go back to work today. That’s what happens when I let myself have too much time off. But, how do you call in and say, “I don’t want to come to work. Put me down for a day off after a holiday and after sick on Monday.” So, I struggled in. Besides, I had a lot of preparation work to do. Tomorrow, I will be out of the office all day. From 9-11, I participate in a Marketing Task Force meeting dreaming up ways to bring people to our historic downtown and the museums and cultural organizations there. From 1:30 to 5, I will be at a meeting of our Tourist Development Council to lobby for money for museums, historic preservation and arts groups. From 6 to 7:30, I will attend the opening session for a Teaching American History Grant with a group of twenty five teachers who will participate in the three year program. I have a meeting at church tomorrow night as well, but excused myself. Until I get a clone, I can only be in one place at a time. Although it will be an intense day with much driving to and fro, I am excited about tomorrow because all of the things I love about my job, museums, historic preservation, old downtowns and teaching history will be on the agenda. Were I into astrology, I would say all the stars will align tomorrow. I’ve been developing “talking points” or as one colleague calls them “an elevator speech.” If you have thirty seconds or less to convince someone of why these programs are important, what would you say? Things like 65% of American adult travelers include a cultural, arts or historic activity or event while on a trip of 50 miles or more. Arts, cultural and heritage tourists spend more money and stay longer at their destination. And my favorite: History museums make their communities better places to live in a variety of ways: organizing special cultural events and family festivals, working with local governments to increase awareness of issues such as preservation and conservation, preserving books, photographs and paper relevant to regional and local history, helping identify local and regional identity, reinforcing a sense of place, serving as a repository of a community’s local memory, provoking new ways of thinking, teaching new facts, providing ways of local residents to become involved in their communities, offering life long learning opportunities, and contributing to the local economy by attracting new businesses, residents and visitors. I haven’t got it quite memorized yet, but I can read it convincingly! All this work makes me think about my elevator speech when it comes to something else I am passionate about, helping people know and understand how much God loves them and wants the best for them. How to succinctly share it with all I come in contact with each day? I’m working on that too, but it is hard to contain in thirty seconds or less.