Oh, The Places You'll Go!
April 8, 2021
A number of years ago I began writing a blog. At the time I was the assistant superintendent of Loveland City Schools just outside of Cincinnati. The district’s public information officer suggested that I start a blog about the topic about which I am very passionate: developing students. I wasn’t sure how much I would have to say, but eight years later, I am still finding ways to share my thoughts.
Since coming to Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, I have put my blog on hold. But after three months as the superintendent/CEO and with the addition of our new coordinator of communications and marketing, Mr. Ryan Gasser, we are ready to launch a bi-weekly newsletter. That means I am ready to get back to blogging about education and helping students find their “what’s next.”
One of the things that I have noticed more and more over the course of my career is that increasing focus on destinations.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Where are you going after high school?
Those are not inherently bad questions, but I wonder if they put too much pressure on kids to have it all figured out. I have watched students squirm when asked some of those questions because they think they are to have the right answer or an impressive answer. In my conversations with high school students over the past few years, they have expressed the pressure they feel to have answers that are prestigious, impressive, or noteworthy. That makes me sad because students should be guided to find the path that makes them happy, not the path that makes someone else happy. But also, that focus on destination gives students a sense that life is linear and that they will “arrive” at some place at some point in the future and that will make them happy.
The reality is that life is a journey with stops and starts. We don’t stay at the same place. We grow. We learn. We develop. And when our kids understand that they make decisions for the next step and then will make more, there is less pressure to have it all figured out when they are still just kids. I know that my own journey has taken me to multiple cities and roles and has allowed me to develop new relationships along the way. And now my journey has brought me to be the superintendent/CEO of Eastland-Fairfield, a role and a place that I had no idea were part of my future when I was 17 and trying to answer, “What do you want to be?” and “Where are you going?” But I am sure glad that my journey has brought me here.
So, let’s encourage our kids to think about their futures and make good choices. But let’s also remind them that each decision is just one step of many. Life and happiness come when we embrace the journey - the winding road, the hills, the valleys, the tears, and the laughter.
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!"
Oh the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss