Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day 2010

Yes, it is a day late, but better late than never. So, Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there. As I was thinking about writing this, I decided to deliver a late eulogy to my father, who died last month. Since I knew I wouldn't have been able to do it then, here goes:

I've heard it said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My thought is that imitation is also a form of respect. That's how I see me following in my father's footsteps. As a soon-to-be high school graduate, I really had no idea in what field I would like to major. The same, I suppose, could be said for me as a college student and college graduate. I never thought I would go into education as my father had, but when I did, I swore I would never get into administration. Lo and behold, I too became a superintendent just as he had 35 years earlier.

While a career of 20 years as a superintendent in one district is quite an accomplishment, it was the respect he earned from those around him that I aspire to every day. Even some of the students who got in trouble regularly commented to me years after they were out of school that he was fair and just. As I became an administrator, it certainly was handy to have a dad who had walked in the same career shoes to bounce thoughts, questions, and concerns off. Of course, his straightforward answers were not always what I wanted to hear, but they were usually right on the mark nonetheless. I could have avoided many "learning experiences" had I been a better listener early on in my life.

One of the funnier stories I recall quite vividly was the time I called my dad's sister to wish her a Merry Christmas. After talking with her for a few minutes, I asked her if she knew that she wasn't talking to her brother (apparently we sound quite alike). I've enjoyed retelling and re-enacting her reaction over the years. For some reason, that story sticks with me and I think it is because although I haven't always wanted to emulate my father, I've grown to appreciate our similarities much more than our differences. I also seem to notice his mannerisms in my own actions and reactions, which can be both comforting and weird at the same time.

So for all you children out there, I hope the weekend gave you a chance to connect with your father. If not, it's certainly not too late to do so. And Dad, wherever you may be, Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

John Wooden

I happened upon this Jon Gordon article about the great John Wooden, who passed away over a week ago. It got me thinking about what I have learned over the years from some great men. So I thought I would post the link and then scratch out some thoughts this week leading up to Father's Day on the men who have been influential in my life and the lessons I've learned.

One of the best things I learned from Coach Wooden was that the outcome wasn't the important thing. The process and doing things right were so much more important. According to Gordon, Wooden focused on character, fundamentals, daily improvement, effort and teamwork. Of course, most of us know the results; doing this helped him win a lot of games. Focus on the process and the results will speak for themselves.