Intentional Leadership

Month: October 2019

Random thoughts about Halloween

I recall going trick or treat as a child, but I don’t recall at what age I stopped. I do remember the scare when razor blades were found in apples. Parents started having parties. Churches would have “trunk or treat” activities and local malls began to host trick or treaters. Halloween was never a big deal for me. My family didn’t make a big deal out of it either. Although, my oldest sister used to play The Monster Mash,, which scared the daylights out of me at the time.

I watched scary movies as a teen, but I never thought fear was funny. It seemed like I was afraid of a lot as a young girl. So as I grew into an adult, I realized Halloween was recognized by scary experiences. I didn’t want to instill fear in my children nor did I believe in giving them a lot of candy. I also limited the amount of commercialized celebrations that required me to spend money on temporary things for my children. I focused on giving them family experiences that were meaningful outside of spending money. My children didn’t trick or treat and I don’t give out candy. I’d be the boring house giving out books or something. I just don’t open the door. After all, who wants to be “that” lady?

I am not sure when Halloween became such a big deal for adults. Maybe it always has been, but since I have grown it seems more pronounced. I suppose any reason to get together and have fun with other people is a good reason. I’m not opposed to having fun. I do enjoy seeing the creativity of costumes, especially for kids and dogs. Perhaps Halloween doesn’t have to be scary. Just a brief moment to laugh and enjoy being silly. I could really go for that right now.

Deciding what to evaluate…

I initially wanted to perform a follow up to a diversity study I implemented last fall  at a local single-sex independent school. However, I realized that I didn’t have the bandwidth to carry out a study on my own this time. I have too many overlapping, competing obligations right now. So I reached out to two colleagues in class with whom I had previously worked. One colleague had a problem that was anchored in his context for which evaluation would be meaningful. The other colleague was already committed to working with him.

We discussed how we could address the problem in such a way that we could fulfill the requirements of the assignment. We discovered we had a solid research idea, access to data, and participants that would allow our project to be implemented without difficulty. The colleague who offered the problem as a potential project actually as the authority to research the solution. Deciding what to evaluate was relatively easy. Deciding with whom to work was an easy choice as well.

This EDLP 711 project team is one of the better teams with which I have worked during my educational and professional career. Studying our personality types, learning styles as well as Lencioni’s (2002) Five Dysfunctions of a Team during our first semester in the EdD program contributed to the ease with which we work. We articulate our strengths and acknowledge our weaknesses. Our skills are complementary. In short, we work well together.



Accomplished or not?

Write about what it’s like to be an accomplished person in many spheres and then be thrust into one where you have to learn new things, think in different ways, and take time to start from the beginning.

For nearly 20 years now, I have been continuously thrust into spheres where I have to learn new things, think in different ways, and start from the beginning. This EdD journey represents yet another twist in my life. I switched from the corporate sector to the non-profit sector.  I served in church-based ministry, asset-based community development, and education simultaneously before my career trajectory positioned me directly in education (yet in a faith-based PK-5th grade environment).

I have moved up and down the East Coast before resettling here in my hometown of Richmond. I have adjusted and re-adjusted to a variety of settings and circumstances. In each place, my life consisted of different work experiences. I gained new skills and competencies. I discovered new strengths and growth opportunities. The most consistent factor in my life was raising my three children who were ages 9, 3 and 1 when I I returned to school as an adult student to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree of social work and a master of divinity degree.

At this stage, the challenges of school work are most familiar. The new thing I’m learning is to live without having to directly raise my children as my youngest is now 18 and preparing for college. The new beginning I’m starting is as an adult living in a new home where I didn’t raise my children and driving a car that didn’t shuttle them back and forth to their activities. It feels disorienting, but in a good way. It is disorienting in a way that helps me discover a different facet of what has become a pretty amazing life.

I have taken advantage of opportunities to achieve quite a few goals. I could describe myself as a published author, ordained minister,  a trained facilitator, book publisher and founding faculty and former dean of a race and justice educational program. The implication of being an accomplished person seems antithetical to my innate tendency toward new information, new skills, and new experiences. I wouldn’t use the term “accomplished” to describe myself. I only know that when one phase ends, I’m ready for the next one to begin.

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