I’ve been missing my dad lately. When I least expect it, something will trigger a memory and an image from my youth will pop up. My dad has been gone for quite some time now. He passed away somewhat unexpectedly at the beginning of a school year – that in itself is another story, not for this forum.
Now don’t get me wrong. The “missing” part is not the “I-wish-I-could-spend-just-one-more-day-with-you” kind of “missing”. It’s more the “If-I-could-only-have-an-adult-conversation-with-you,knowing-what-I-know-now” kind of missing.
Allow me to explain.
The more I become a reflective practitioner in my professional life, the more I realize how much I still have to learn as human being, which includes trying to understand someone else. It includes having brave conversations, about a variety of topics. Among those conversations, you hope to arrive at an understanding of both yourself and the other individual(s).
I realize now that I missed many opportunities to have those kinds of conversations with my dad. When I think of him, I remember that he was a very strong-willed individual who worked hard every day of his life. His motto was: If a job is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well. I learned my strong work ethic from him.
He valued education, having had limited opportunity to spend time in formalized learning. I also appreciate the intrinsic value of learning and consider myself to be a life-long learner. Dad was inventive and a creative problem-solver. He often referred to himself as a “fabricator” – a builder – when he spoke about his trade as a welder. I like to consider myself to be like him in that I am constantly working to unravel the puzzle of technology integration within the educational system. As for creative…. well, anyone who knows me can attest to that…
What I didn’t know was WHY my father was the way he was. I really didn’t understand the man behind the actions. I wish I did. I wish I could…. some day I hope to get the chance to ask him.
In our classrooms, we have opportunities each day to have conversations with our students, our colleagues and individuals within our larger school community. Do we take the time to really talk to someone? Do we take the time to listen, to engage in those conversations which lead to greater understandings of each other? I believe it was John Hattie who said “Know thy impact”….
What is our impact? What will our students remember about us? What will be their enduring understandings of the time we spend together?