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Respect for women


Frank Arnold Guest Columnist

  As my sage wife so accurately predicted, my inaugural “Bee” column elicited pointed criticism from some of the women of Henry County. For example, a Ms. D. Davis of Stockbridge opined.

  “Women with their romantic music, tea and magazines! One can only imagine what other arcane notions are rattling around in your brain. Do you carry smelling salts lest one of us should swoon? You are not allowed sir, to think like Don Draper unless you look like him also. I have seen your picture and you, my dear are no Don Draper!” 

 As another TV character from that era might have said, “Shazam!” And I thought bees had sharp barbs.

  I will admit to some mischaracterizations: I probably should have substituted cosmos for tea and instead of a decorating magazine; perhaps the 80th sequel to “Shades of Gray” would have been more on point. But to suggest that I have anything but the utmost respect for women would be grossly untrue.

  During my teaching career I worked in and observed many excellent schools. The one common denominator I can point to as the key factor for their success is: the more departments where women are in charge, the more likely you are to have a well-run, highly focused educational organization. That includes, by the way, both the math and science departments, despite what was on that little girl’s T-shirt.

  The smart principals I knew hired intelligent, creative, driven women and entrusted them as department heads. He (in my time almost all principals were men) then found a way to set aside his (always) oversized ego and let them (women) actually run things. The really smart ones did this in such a way so that he could bask in the glow of the successes that resulted from the efforts of the real powers behind the throne. So the basic formula seems to be: more women in charge = better results.

  A couple of caveats: for some reason, men seem to have more success than women as band directors. And then I guess it goes without saying; we don’t want to turn over our football programs to the ladies. But other than that, I vote for a woman every time.

 So then, a really good school operates very much like a big cookout at home. dad mows the grass, cranks up some tunes and fires up the grill. Mom and all her lady friends do everything else: invite the guests, plan the menu, do the shopping, clean the house, prepare all the side items, set the table, ice the glasses, feed the kids, serve the meal and then clean up the mess afterwards.  Meanwhile, dad and the guys knock back a couple of cold ones as they stand around the egg waiting on the meat to cook. At the end of the day, much back-slapping ensues as the company leaves, praising dad for preparing such a wonderful meal. Then dad retires to the recliner while mom empties the dishwasher.

  Of course, both I and my experience are quite literally “old school.” As I am (thankfully) retired, I can only assume that the basic formula has not changed. I am, however, aware that many, maybe most schools these days have a woman principal and cannot pretend to know if or how that might affect the delicate balance of things.

  I spent my entire working life as a teacher and therefore never had a real 9-to-5 job, so I can only guess if the same formula would apply in the business world. I can’t help but think that it would.  As for politics, I am all in for women mayors, governors, presidents; the whole shebang! I mean, look at the mess we have now! Is there any way to go but up? I think women should be in charge of everything!  

 With another caveat: this “everything” excludes the NFL, MLB and all professional sports other than women’s golf and tennis and basketball. And for goodness sake, cheerleading aside, hands off college football.

  But now I sense my argument slipping away. Maybe this would be a good time crank up some Josh Groban and get started on a pitcher of cosmos.


  Frank is a retired educator, a UGA grad and an avid Bulldogs fan.




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