When Anoka County first started their male-female teams for Early Neutral evaluations 5 or 6 years ago, we were very excited.  All of us on the Steering Committee were excited and wanted to get the best attorneys, Accountants, custody evaluators on board to help us make the program a success.  Becoming an evaluator is not a short, cheap or easy undertaking.  In addition to years of family-law related experience, evaluators must attend a 40 hour mediation trainings, have advanced degrees, and attend days-long evaluator trainings and refresher courses.  I remember, though, really wanting a couple of attorneys I knew to be on our panel.  One accepted and graciously took all of the trainings and went through the other hoops necessary to become a panel member and is now one of the more respected Evaluators we have.  The other was approached by another steering committee member.  He refused.  Not to be dissuaded, I finally pigeonholed him in the courthouse and flat out asked him why he wouldn’t be on the panel because he was so well respected and regarded and he would certainly fly through all of the hoops necessary to be on the panel.

He looked at me and said: ‘It’s not that I couldn’t do all of that, Lisa, it’s just that I don’t want to.’

It’s still one of my favorite lines because he was polite, direct, and definite.  He’s still not on the panel but we have respected his desire not to be.  Had he offered excuses or delays, he still would be being approached by others to be on the panels.

So, lesson learned. Saying ‘No, because I don’t want to’ it is.