Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

Blogger’s Note: This is a follow-up to my recent post: Can I Give 200%?. I realize I can’t give 200%. I’m so grateful for all of your comments, guidance, and advice upon my reaching out. I’m blessed with an amazing network of friends. This life experience has changed me.

I’m one month in, and I’ve lived a glimpse of being a parent-educator so far. Last week was my first full week back to work after we had our first child, and the adjustment has definitely made my strengths and weaknesses more transparent than I’d like to admit.

It’s Not About Me

I need to remind myself of this every day, and multiple times a day. Despite the egocentric society in which we live, serving others should trump selfish motives, right? Then, when our baby was born, it really, really was not about me. I have been repurposed. Again. And I could not have truly realized that until I lived it.

In Can I Give 200%, 2013 WCPSS Teacher of the Year Luke Miles commented:

When that ‘heartbeat‘ is in your hands for the first time, you’ll know immediately how much you’ve never loved something like you love your child. The love your heart feels forces the priorities in your brain to re-shuffle. Get ready! There’s nothing like it.”

Luke! You were SO right! Truer words were never spoken.


Lifestyle Changes, More and Less

  • Less–I haven’t watched a lot of TV lately. As a recovering news-a-holic, I’ve found joy and simplicity in not knowing about every last current event.
  • More–I want to be more about people. Now that I have lived even just one moment in knowing how much parents care about their children, I want to zoom in on relationships even more. I want to gain more perspective and embrace people with a refreshed outlook. I want to be a great father, and a better husband, brother, son, friend, teammate, partner, leader, facilitator, servant, co-learner, and person.
  • Less–Professional nudging to parent-educators to stay the whole hour for any twitter chat, webinar, Google Hangout, Skype, Zoom, or phone call, or for even fifteen minutes, at nights. I’m going to do less of that. I’m sorry I ever did that.  Those few moments I get at home with just my child and me at night or during non-work hours are precious and priceless, and mean more to me than anything.
  • More–I’m going to start accepting help. I guess it’s a few ounces of pride that’s ever made me think that I could do it all–by myself–That I could be both 100% educator and 100% dad. I accept that I can NOT be 200%. But for some reason, it’s still hard to let go completely. I’m still fighting it. See the 150% title? I think it’s because educators are passionate, and don’t want to let down other people in their lives. What are your thoughts?
  • Less–About me. Decisions are no longer about which shirt to wear or what show to watch. Decisions are about which shirt doesn’t have diaper-changing evidence or after how many hours I should wake up Myals from his nap on my chest.
  • More–Taking care of me–Even though it’s not about me. I have to be good, and my wife has to be good–So we can be both good for our child. On my part, I admit there has been a lot of “survive and advance” strategies learned.
  • Less–Right now, there are about one hundred more professional ventures I want to explore. I want to do it ALLALL of the time. I may have to cut back in some areas, and that’s extremely hard for me. I may have to be more selective in the choices of the professional learning that I’m doing in my personal time.
  • More–Balance. I wrestle with this. HARD. It’s a constant cat-and-mouse: When I feel like I’m really getting one, the other’s getting away. I even attended an #EdcampWake session on how to balance your life. In fact, I barely got any sleep for these first few weeks, eventually resulting in my saying some incoherent, out-of-character things to some people closest to me that I deeply admire, respect, and care about. Wake. Up. Call. I’ve even begun to question my own self-worth, thinking frequently: I need to be more, so I can be more for my family. Clearly, NOW–more than ever–is the time to seek balance.

Baby Steps Forward

It’s fascinating–almost downright eerie. My friend Bill Ferriter reflected on how having a child would change my life. Now? Parts of his blog are coming true. Can you guess which parts?

Moving forward, I continue to marvel at educators who are good at what they do in their careers AND families. And many of them have more than ONE child! What I’m realizing is that there is no letting up. There is no down-time. It’s a full-time job. And we wouldn’t trade it for the world!


2 Replies to “Can I Give 150%?”

  • Hey Pal,

    So here’s what I expect — and will hold you accountable for: Give 150% to your family. Then, give YOUR 50% to work.

    That’s 200% — so you meet your goal! Hooray!

    And the cool part is that “YOUR 50%” is STILL 100% from an ordinary teacher.

    Does that make sense?

    Recognize that (1). Your OWN kid matters most and that (2). Your “best effort” is WAY, WAY more than the average teacher puts in — which means that when you “cut back,” it’s still going to look freaking amazing to everyone around you.

    Words of advice from someone who has #beenthere and #donethat.

    Rock on,

  • Welcome to life exponential! It won’t get easier just forever changing and you will grow and #becomebetter through the process. Great reflection!

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