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Posted by on in General

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From that moment on I have done everything in my power to stay close. It is my responsibility to keep her safe and protect her from the world for she is not yet prepared. But she is getting older each day. And it scares me.

What I once could hold with one hand,  I can now barely carry down the stairs. She is growing up and it is beautiful to have a front row seat to such an amazing metamorphosis. I am well aware of the fact that she won’t be mine forever. That I must begin to pull back. Give her space that will soon be hers to create. But it is difficult.

Two years ago we took a family vacation to Disney World. And that is when I, without planning it, allowed for a bit of space to be created. My son and I were leaving the pool in a hurry because he had to use the restroom. I knew she wasn’t far behind us. But she wasn’t with us. Yet, I wasn’t worried. I knew she was capable of gathering her things and meeting us back in the room.

This was space I had never given before. Allowing my daughter to be out of my sight. Away from home. Amongst strangers. But it felt right.

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Posted by on in General

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A knock on my door (Yes, my door is closed — this is the real world — not the fairytale world that is often portrayed in social media). I get up, open the door and am greeted by a teacher who apologizes for being sick. She asks if I have someone that can cover her class for the remainder of the day. Clearly, she is sick. I can hear it in her voice and I can see it in her eyes. I think to myself, I wouldn't have lasted half as long as she did. Then again during my 20 years in education and 47 years on Earth, I have learned that women are much tougher than men.

I have witnessed this scenario, or one very similar to it, many times. 

Too many times!

What is my point?

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Posted by on in General

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My wife and kids leave for school about an hour before I do. Which means I have a good chunk of time to spend how I choose. Sometimes I use it well and sometimes I waste it. Don't get me wrong, by wasting it I don't mean that I am lying on the couch throwing down bacon while watching SportsCenter. And by using it well I don't mean that I am editing the final draft of my magnum opus. Probably somewhere in between both scenarios lies the truth.

But one day last week I was feeling anxious. Jittery even. And it wasn't the coffee. It was nothing in particular. For those of you that have anxiety, like I do, you can probably relate. Those of you that don't are probably wondering WTH I am talking about. I mean why was I feeling anxious if I had nothing to be anxious about?

That's precisely the point.

Anxiety is often out of my control.

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Posted by on in General

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Daddy how do you get bad thoughts out of your head?

When my daughter first whispered these words I thought I had a suitable response. I told her just to think about something that makes her happy. Sometimes that strategy works for me. But not often. After about a minute she said Daddy, it’s not working.

This time I tried to give her some ideas. Maybe that was all she needed. At least that was my hope. I never like it when my little girl, who’s not so little anymore, is sad. Once again though, my advice failed.

My wife and son had already fallen asleep. But I know what it feels like to worry and I know what it feels like when you can’t get your thoughts the way you want them. And simply trying to think happy thoughts is just a temporary fix. I should have remembered that.

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Posted by on in General

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It was the second time in less than a week we were meeting regarding the misbehavior of his son. His son was a good kid who recently had made some poor choices. So his dad and I met. And we talked. Man to man. Our first meeting went well. His son was honest and the conversation went as it should. We met for about fifteen minutes and we ended the meeting on the same page.

Our second meeting was much longer. Not because there was any tension and not because there was any disagreement. But because we had the time and the space and the opportunity to talk. As we met in my office, the father sat in one chair. I sat in another and his son sat on the sofa. I’m not even sure if his feet touched the ground. He is only seven years old.

In my position as assistant principal I have many meetings, with many parents. But few, if any, have gone like this one. I wasn’t keeping track, but I’d estimate that we met for about an hour. The fact that I had this kind of time to meet with a parent was rare. But it was a gift.

This father said all the right things. He spoke and conducted himself in a manner in which I hope I do one day if I ever have to have this type of conversation. Never once did he raise his voice. Never once did he look to lay blame. And never once did he say or do anything that appeared to be out of line.

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