Saturday, March 29, 2014

Who Am I?

This was an assignment for my Aspiring Leaders Cohort class.  Writing a 'Who Am I' story was a great experience for me, as it really helped me pinpoint my core values, and identify where they may have originated.  This type of story is ever-evolving, and it will be great for me to come back to this in a few years and compare it to where I am at that point of my career.

Who Am I

I am my mother’s son, a product of learning early on the importance of, “it’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it that counts”.  My mom frequently explained to me that the ‘what’ is often beyond our control, while the reaction to it is completely ours to own.  Because of this mantra, I try to focus on what I can control in all areas of my life.  The things that are beyond my control are left to the side, not to be focused on during my day. 

I am a product of a single mother trying to raise three boys.  I learned the importance of never making excuses and always pitching in to help others.  My mother never allowed us to make excuses for life’s events, that was not being productive.  Productivity looked like searching for solutions and finding a way, regardless of circumstance.  Similarly, turning our backs on others was frowned upon.  In order to make it, my mother reluctantly accepted the help of others  and passed that kindness along when and where she could.  She instilled in us the belief that it is both important and beneficial to help one another—no excuses.

In losing both parents by the age of eighteen, I learned early of the frailties in life..  From this experience, I have gleaned the importance of making each day count.  Living in the moment and enjoying what it has to offer is more productive than waiting for the “right” moment;  for, as I have learned, that moment may never arrive.

I am a product of becoming a father while still young—some would argue, too young..  During my college years, I learned how to put the needs of others in front of my own.  I discovered the joy I received from seeing others grow and achieve new heights.  I enjoy those successes as much, if not more, than my own.

I am a product of a family of educators.  My father was an educator; I had aunts and uncles who were also compelled to serve in this noble profession.  My own interest in education began during a service-learning project in high school.  During this project, I worked at a day care for children with special needs and realized that I had an innate ability to interact well and enjoy working with young children.  I experienced the joys of helping children be successful and continue to revel in that realization today.  The image of success looked different for each child in that day care and the idea that the definition of success is unique for each child remains with me today.

I am a product of wanting to make my parents proud.  While my parents were not here to see me succeed during and after college, I strive each and every day to show them how much they prepared me for life, in spite of the limited time that I had with  them. .

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