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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Lewallen

Lead By Example

Parenting is never easy, and as a wise friend once told me: “the days are long but the years are short.” With that in mind, I’ve tried to pepper in life lessons throughout the day to each of my four children. Whether it’s gardening, cooking, traveling or simply discussing current events, I know that my kids are always watching me and I’m always “teaching.” As a result, I try hard to engage my children in thoughtful discussion and analysis, but also lead my children by example.

A few years ago, I was driving my oldest to a summer theater audition. He was nervous and stressed out, and I was doing my best to calm him down. I remember telling him to just take a deep breath and “do it!” My son quickly retorted and said: “easy for you to say, I’d like to see you audition.” So, outfitted in the same gym clothes I threw on at 6:00 a.m. that morning and with no preparation, I auditioned. I figured my son would learn more from watching me PARTICIPATE rather than lecture. More than one jaw dropped when we learned that both of us made the audition! We spent the entire summer together practicing and rehearsing for the plays. Lessons were taught and memories were made.

In this most unpredictable year, I believe the silver lining parents have received during the pandemic is the gift of time and insight. If I learned anything from being at home with all four for such a long time, I learned that local is best. And the best “local” is family. I had the gift of time to remember that I do not want others raising my children, and that the time I have with my children to help educate them and prepare them for the future is more limited than I’d like.

During our year at home, my kids and I had a lot of debates about our country and the disagreements taking place. With a hotly contested Presidential race center stage, my kids were often asking my husband and me what was happening, why things were happening, all while trying to make sense of it. We had wonderful discussions around how to disagree without being disagreeable, how to stand up for your rights without trampling on the rights of others, and how to ask tough questions and research as many sources as possible in order to make up one’s own mind.

One evening ( likely in the middle of a Netflix binge), my oldest asked me what I was DOING about the current unrest in America. As any good attorney would do, I turned the question around and asked him what HE was doing. I was happy to see he wanted to be engaged and wanted to help.

It was this conversation with my child, and my quest to teach my children by example, that ultimately led me to finally put my money where my mouth was- and run for Camas City Council. I decided it was no longer ok to just sit back and complain –I had to SHOW my kids how to participate in their community and how our governments should be run.

In running for my first very first elected position, the REAL lesson for my youngsters lies not in winning or losing, but in having competed. I will be giving my 4 children a crash course in civics, community pride and involvement and service. I hope to make my children proud – as proud as I am of them. But it is the journey, not the destination, that is the most important teaching moment. I feel honored and humbled to be ready for this moment.

Our kids grow quickly – just ask any parent whose child is graduating this month. We don’t have another minute to wait to show them how to properly effectuate change when there is a problem, how to serve our communities and how to participate in every level of government to exercise our Constitutional Rights.

If elected, I promise to serve the city like I parent – by example. I promise to step up, show up, ask hard questions and lead by example.

Please join me in my fight to be YOUR voice for transparent, accountable and effective leadership, please join me at:, follow me on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for our newsletter and join the fight to make Camas the best city it can be!


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