Monday, March 21, 2016


On February 29, 2016 I became a father for the first time.  It is such an amazing experience that it can be hard to find the right words to describe such a life-changing event.  I've had people ask me many questions about the experience, my new daughter, and how it has changed my life.  Every time someone asks me about it, I seem to find myself in the same position...struggling to find the words and wondering to myself exactly how it has or will change my life.  These are precisely the reasons I've chosen to write about it here.

I've never been much of a public writer sharing thoughts and ideas with others but I've been challenged more than ever before to do this in the past year.  I've always been one who writes my thoughts down privately or journals from time to time but, to actually write for an audience is a fairly new thing for me.  It's been a pleasant surprise to find myself writing and reflecting on my philosophies, experiences, and ideas through writing.  There have been more revelations than I imagined and I also find myself at ease mentally after I've had the chance to write.  This can be said for more reasons than one.  

While reflecting on becoming a dad for the first time, I keep coming back to the same conclusion; It's simply the hardest thing I've ever done!  There isn't an expression for the joy and happiness that I've experienced, at least not yet.  To see my little princess and imagine how she came into existence simply takes me to a state of amazement every time.  Somewhere along the way, I'm sure I'll find the words but for now, I'm still searching.  What's interesting, is that along with all that joy and happiness comes a great deal of worry and intimidation.  I'm continually asking myself, "Am I doing the right thing?", "How will I be a good dad?", "What if I'm not a good dad?",  "How will I help my child prepare for a bright future?" and many other questions that I think all first-time parents struggle with.

I'm not afraid to admit that it is certainly daunting and intimidating on just about every level I can think of but, I increasingly find myself letting go with the underlying confidence that everything will turn out fine, or so I hope.  As I watch her begin to grow and adjust to this crazy world, I know that there will be highs and lows regardless of the steps I take to make things easy for both of us.  I also know that she will grow and develop her own habits, ideas, talents, dreams, ambitions, and more despite any influence that I have on her.  I secretly hope that I can sit and watch my child grow rather than influence her because I have a deep desire for her to be her own individual.  

I've been working in public education for nearly thirteen years and I've felt many of these same things with the students I work with although, not nearly at the level I feel them now.  I have a deep passion for student learning and I hope it continues for many years to come.  In this time of uncertainty and shifting changes I believe that we as teachers need to remember the passions that have brought us to this business.  It's about changing and inspiring the lives of every student we come in contact with. 

How do we do this?  It is my foundational belief that it won't come from testing or a one-size-fits-all approach but rather, from facing the same intimidations, joys, ups and downs, and more that I'm now facing through the introduction to fatherhood.  We may not entirely know what is best for all students but we do have the power and the freedom to ask them.  Even if they don't know, they'll find out along the road but only as long as we allow them the space and opportunities to explore on a regular basis.  It is only through the exploration that our journey can become an adventure because an adventure is the experience that we have in searching for answers to life's greatest questions.  Let's help all students have an adventure each day they step in to our classrooms.  

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