Posted by: Cathi Brese Doebler | August 3, 2009

President or Friendship?

When I was in seventh grade, I had the opportunity to run for a class office position. I came home from school on the day that this was announced and told my mom that I wasn’t sure if I should run for president or vice president. The dilemma was that my close friend was running for president and I didn’t know if I should run against her.

My mom asked me some key questions about this as we talked it through. Some of the questions were:

  • “Can you still make an impact as vice president?”
  • “Would your friend be a good president?”
  • “What is more important to you, the presidency or this friendship?”

After having this discussion with my mom, I realized that I really didn’t care which office I held, but that I just wanted to make an impact in one of the offices. I also knew that my friend would be a very responsible president, and that she would be just as good a president as I would be. I decided to run for vice president.

Did my running for vice president mean that I gave up and took the easy road? Absolutely not. It meant that I still made an impact, that my friend made an impact, and that we both had an opportunity to be in office. It also meant that I was able to choose when challenging a friendship was important to me. My friendship with this girl had other hurdles that we came through together that were more important.

In today’s world, people often drive for success without considering the cost to others. There are times when being successful means that you remember that the people you love are important, and so are their feelings. I learned that lesson from my mother.

Because society pushes so hard for people to try to be the “top dog”, it is important to remember that sometimes we have to push back. We need to remember what is truly important in this life, and the value that we bring may occasionally come from holding back. Being “on top” does not equal happiness, success, and satisfaction. But being true to our values will bring rewards that we can’t always anticipate.

I have been friends with my seventh grade class president ever since. We grew up together, traveled through Europe together, were in each other’s weddings, threw wedding and baby showers for each other, and compare mommy notes together. Do you see what I have gained from my choice? I certainly do.



  1. I see it too, Cathi!! First hand…hope your compadre sees this post!! You guys have always been quite the friend-team. Pleasure to be around!!

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