Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Fresh, Clear, Well Seasoned Perspective"

I'm a Pixar fan... Ok... A huge Pixar fan! So, often times scenes from those movies will pop in my head triggered by the words I just said or even events surrounding my everyday living. This past week several events caused the scene below with Mr. Ego from Ratatouille to pop into my head.

Perspective... A huge theme for my week. I've needed a good heaping serving of it to keep me grounded as the week lead me up to today, my oldest kiddo's 10th birthday! It's hard to believe that I've been a dad for 10 years. This week has given me time to reflect on what these 10 years have been for me and my family. And when I'm deep in reflection, I often play the "what if" game. What if PK was an only child..? My mind spent a lot of time on that this week. I see Facebook, and all the wonderful lifestyles of my friends with 1 or 2 kids. I fantasize at the financial comfort my wife and I would have. How her business would have grown more. How I would have not only secured my masters quicker, but maybe I'd also have an admin license. I dreamed of the house we'd have. Would we still be in Alaska? What if we stopped at 2 kids..? What if.. What if.. What if...?

Then I would sit back and take in the perspective. How could I live without any of my 5 kids? That just wouldn't be right. They are all amazing kids and I couldn't live a day without them. And who's to say that we wouldn't have endured different hardships having just had a single kiddo? Sure things have been tough, but in the last ten years, we've done so much! We've added 4 more kids, lived in 5 different homes, had vacations, weddings, earned a master's degree, started a business, started a blog, and showed our kids what living and family is all about. My wonderful 10 year old is who he is today because he is the big brother to 4. His kind, loving nature, imagination, and passion are all enhanced because of his siblings. So more perspective, how would it have been fair for him to not have his MGM, A-town, OE, and ZuZu? .. Perspective!

My second connection with perspective is truly it's own post, but fits the theme too well! So, I'll sum this part up just to keep PK's bday celebration at the center of things! Earlier this week, my wife shared with me a headline and article from the newspaper in Fairbanks, our old home. The story was about the school district looking to cut 80% of the nurses employed and working in the schools. Of course, this is being done in an attempt to trim costs in a school district that has been struggling for years now (increased class sizes, difficult contract negotiations, buildings with leaks due to trees growing on top of them).

Cut to my staff meeting this week, where I listened to the "big" worry for my school admin team... "We should have 22% of our student body eating free and reduced lunch, but year to year those numbers are going DOWN. Why aren't they filling out the paper work?" Then we got a break down of which activities the "subgroup" participates in and heard about the difficulties in trying to figure out how best to engage this group of kiddos more with sports/activities.. "...but how do we do that with say, the swim team? They have practice at 5:15am every morning!"

Perspective.. there are plenty of middle to upper class school districts doing more than fine in our country, and will continue to do more than fine while the schools of our lower to low-middle class districts will continue to fall apart. There is no fairness to this. It's time for more perspective. You can read a great article by Nate Bowling, a past teacher of the year, addressing this inequality here

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