This post is dedicated to my wife and family who I feel so blessed to have in my life.
Yes I know a corny title, but it struck me this morning as I was thinking about my summer. I spent a lot of time with my kids this summer, a lot of time learning, a lot of time stressing over getting things done, and even squeezed in some fun on a short family vacation. As the final weeks before school approached, I was reminded of a post I saw late at night just before going to bed. It went something like, now that the chat is over, I am going back to being a father for the rest of the long weekend. It struck a cord in me, the idea of shifting between roles, this is something that some can do seamlessly, while others struggle.
To Be or Not to Be, that is the question. And while I can't say as a student I was a fan of Shakespeare, that line always stuck with me. I am drawn to this idea to either be or not. I read and have jumped into the ideas of Dave Burgess and his philosophy of Teach Like a Pirate. The ideas ring a cord in my life, and yet I am struck by how far I have yet to go. The connection to my ramblings today is the Immersion. To be present in where you are; what you are doing; and who you are with. The challenge is to BE everything that is expected of each of us. Every moment we are asked to be present in our multiple roles. All of us, educators, parents, children, siblings, co-workers, friends, or whatever role you are in are asked to live up to certain expectations. We are asked to be so many things in each of the relationships that we form. Educators today are asked to be masters of their content areas; entertainers; role models; disciplinarians; comforters; creative innovators; tireless and passionate; grateful for the opportunity to interact with kids; pushed to learn and do more; slayers of apathy and boredom; and so many others as the list continues to grow with SLO's and RtI and high stakes testing to name a few. While being asked to do more and be more we have other facets of our life that also deserve our time, and best efforts.
When I was hired for my first teaching job, there was an expectation that I would coach, so I did. I spent hours learning the offense and defenses, the strategies, and how to coach teenagers. I spent countless hours trying to hone my craft in the classroom as well. Shortly into my first year, I met Andrea, the woman I am happy to say has been my wife for the last nine years. I tried to be in the moment and spend as much time with her as I could. So here I was fresh out of college, with many hats already. Each with their own expectations and rewards. Each carving out a little bit of time from my life. The years have passed and I have added more hats to my wardrobe. I am the father of two wonderful little girls who melt my heart melt when I hear them giggle.
I have found it difficult to be completely immersed and be present in the manner I should truly be. If I only had more time. I have found this to be my common thread for my blog so far, TIME. People say if it is important, you will find the time, or better yet, make the time. I love that concept, in fact I want to find the person who has the TIME Making Machine, walk up to him say thank you, and then punch him in the face for not sharing it with the rest of us. No I don't advocate violence, but the idea that we can just make time irritates me. As I mentioned earlier, I spent time with my daughters this summer as I was unemployed like most teachers, at home working for free, and taking care of my children. As I played with them, listened to my oldest read, or work on finally riding her two wheeler without training wheels, I found myself sneaking peaks at Twitter, or looking something up online, or trying to get something done between the next activity. I found myself not fully immersed in the situation. I didn't enjoy all of the things that were happening around me because I was consumed by the feeling that I wasn't getting enough done. That there wouldn't be enough time to finish all of the projects and tasks this summer.
My revelation of this summer - okay to be honest, I should be number them and to be fair this would probably be number 10,364 but whose counting. The big take away was that I can't be all things all of the time. I can't be dad and teacher in the same moment and truly enjoy either one. For me at least, I started to write that I found... but I had to cut that out. I haven't found the answer, what I did find is that I haven't done it well. I haven't been the husband, parent, friend, or teacher that I want to be. I am determined to work on being all of those things in a new and better form. I have to give up some of my career expectations to be a family. I had to step away from coaching opportunities that brought me happiness, for the chance to be present in the lives of my children and experience true joy in my life. I had to be kicked in the stomach by my wife when she told me I was failing to live up to my responsibilities to my family. I am passionate about teaching and working with kids, I need to demonstrate that same passion for my own kids because I want my family to feel and know the passion and love I have for them everyday of my life.
Today I understand that my to be or not to be refers to what do I want to be? What have I been, and what do I need to do to get there? I have worn many hats in my life like most people, it comes with the territory. However I look back at my life, and I can't say that I owned them all very well. I begin this new school year with more expectations and less time. I don't have any answer for anyone dealing with similar issues, in fact I am open to suggestions. What I promise my family is that I will always do my best to Immerse myself in them. To be passionate about them forever!