A friend and fellow #physed colleague, Matt Bassett, @PhysedApps, posted a document about his #oneword for 2019. He posted one a year ago as well. I remember reading about it and being impressed and inspired to be BOLD.
In an earlier post of mine, I talk about not being very naturally gifted in the area of planning. The idea of picking one word to describe what I will pursue in the following year ranks right next to my planning abilities. But I'm going to CHANGE that this year. Inspired by Matt and others like him, I am going to give my year a new focus. It's hard to pick one word, so I have two I believe fit what I need and desire for 2019.
1. Broaden: expand to encompass more people, ideas or things.
2. Refine: remove impurities or unwanted elements, improve something by making small changes, make something more subtle and accurate.
Though these seem opposite, they form two sides of a coin for me.
There are thoughts, concepts, and ideas which do not come naturally to me. Some with which I do not agree, some I've ignored, some which are culturally foreign and therefore hard to relate, and others I simply have not encountered.
This past year, I have been introduced to many new ideas and thoughts from my #physed and #education colleagues. I have discovered within myself a growing desire to expand my knowledge of these areas of thought, even if I disagree with or do not readily understand them.
I have been challenged to look outside my lifelong "American" views. And I'm excited about it!
For the first time in my life, I'm happy to feel unsettled. I'm unsettled by what I don't know. Not afraid, just unsatisfied. I'm not content where I am in my journey. There are viewpoints and experiences not my own which are meaningful and full of insight.
For instance, I was listening to a podcast from Jorge Rodriguez, @PhysedNow. He was interviewing Gill Connell (@MovingSmartNow), an early childhood expert. Half the time, I had NO idea what she was talking about. But it all fascinated me. It reminded me that I have much to learn. And instead of tuning out, I listened a second time and then read more about it.
I read a Twitter thread recently that challenged my view on cooperative games we play during the Christmas season. One of the tweets from Mike Ginocola (@PhysedDepot) stated there are so many people in our country who do not celebrate it as the bulk of America does (aka how I celebrated Christmas all my life). The conversation blossomed. Jorge reminded us that the skills and values of cooperation can be taught regardless of what culture you are in. I so needed this! I was stuck in my own cultural bias and worse, didn't realize it.
I've also followed and read several posts from Nate Babcock and @ImSporticus. I challenge you to find deeper thinkers than these two! I have to come up for air often, but I'm always reminded how narrow my views are when reading their work.
While I will continue to seek great inspiration from my excellent #physed colleagues, I will seek out those whose views differ from my own. I want to seek to understand, even if I do not agree. There is much wisdom to be gained, and relationships to be formed.
I will continue to expose myself to these different and unknown views. I will listen, read, learn, and weigh it all in my mind. I will ask questions. I will investigate. I will share. I will have conversations. I will BROADEN my knowledge and views.
In realizing my lack of perspective and discovering my newfound desire to grow, I see another action that needs to take place.
Like the dross that floats to the top of silver during the refining process, I will seek to remove negative and ignorant thoughts.
I must also narrow my focus.
This past year has been the best I've had as a professional. I've been introduced to wonderful people on Twitter, the list being so long. I've had the chance to personally meet many of them. I was blessed to speak for a brief moment with Dr. Robert Pangrazi, a highly esteemed author of many books and articles on children and Physical Education. I am now seeking to help my state Physical Education association, INSHAPE. I'm blessed to be slated to moderate an #espechat in March. I've been asked to write a guest blog for a great web site. I have a great principal who supports me and my program. I am also part of a move to bring some much needed professional development to my geographic area. I've never been more excited to be involved in Physical Education!
Did you hear me mention my God, wife or kids in all of that? Nope, I didn't either. I must be careful to place all of my professional goals, great as they are, in their proper place. I would not have any good thing without the express blessing of my God. All of my professional accomplishments are worth NOTHING if I were to lose my family on account of them. I am fully supported by my wife in my endeavors, yet I must remember I'm married to her, NOT Physed! SHE is my bride, NOT any #physed or #espechat. Yet how easy is it to give time to that?
I will narrow my focus. I will be saying no to many chat sessions this year so I can spend time talking with my wife about what she is learning and experiencing in her life and days. I will leave my phone on the counter, so I can fully focus on my kids when we play. I will save any blogging or tweets for after bedtime, not every chance I get when I pass by the computer. I will keep my eyes on what is truly important. I will REFINE my life.
Like Matt said, "my ministry is where God calls me, not where I work." God has called me to have a family, and a job. I love both and am blessed by both.
By God's grace and power, I will BROADEN my perspectives and REFINE my life.