What I learned from Ashley's graduation

My brilliant, amazing, hot and pregnant wife graduated from Willamette University with her Master's in Education yesterday.  Quite the accomplishment!  In so many ways I am proud of her.  And I am so happy I was able to attend the ceremony because the commencement speaker really caught my attention.  Dr. Frank Serafini was his name. I had no idea who he was - turns out he is a very decorated individual in his arena of teaching - but I will tell you what he said made a whole lot of sense to me, teacher or not.  I took some notes.  After all, I was in a room full of teachers!

                              "Don't try to make lifelong learners and readers by making them do unrealistic things that lifelong learners and readers don't do!"
His example of this was pretty funny.  He asked the audience if we, after we are done reading a book, go get a shoe box and make a timeline of events of our favorite characters.  The answer is no!  So why do teachers make their kids do some of these (in his eyes) ridiculous things?  His answer to making lifelong learners and readers is to engage them in interesting and relevant activities and conversations that make them live it, not just memorize or imitate it.

                           "Advice is cheap. Wisdom comes from years and reflection".
I like this.  He understands how wisdom comes from looking inside yourself and reflecting on what made you who you are.  He warned the graduates to not just take advice from passersby, but to engage in wisdom-filled conversations and relationships.  Right on, brother!

                           "When you have a day where things just don't go your way, leave early and go wine tasting! (for those under 21, go play kick ball)"
He puts life in perspective.  Serafini warned the teachers not to take it too seriously or else they will get buried.  He is big on having fun, for sure, but also compartmentalizing his life.  He's a teacher.  But he's also someone who lives life outside of work to it's fullest, and in his eyes THAT is what is most important.

                            "The more interesting you become as a person, the more interesting a leader   you'll be".
I think this is my favorite of all of his statements.  How will anyone want to learn from you or follow you if you are a boring dud?  Frank says to teach yourself to become interesting and curious.  Read outside of your comfort zone.  Travel a lot.  Have real, deep relationships with people outside of your work community.  Go wine tasting or play kick ball.  Become interesting! I love this.

 Needless to say, I subscribe to Sefafini's way of thinking.  He gets it.  He understands what it takes to be a great teacher is to become interesting, to change your curriculum yearly, to engage kids IN the battle of learning, not to simply talk at them.  Frank was inspiring to me.  I can apply so much of what he says in my line of work and I will for sure!

So what do you say?  How are you going to become a more interesting person?  Until next time, learn something new and take a change.  You'll be more interesting because of it!


It's baby time.

A little while back I received a Facebook message from my friend Harry.  At first, it seemed pretty funny.  Actually, it still is funny, but now as Baby Casebeer is getting closer and closer I am realizing some of this stuff he said is true, or will be true!  Here it is:

"Alex Congrats on the new baby boy, because you are now going to be a Father you are immediately granted with the following Man-Characteristics.
1. You automatically have Fatherly wisdom in all aspects of life (Great Responsibility).
2. You automatically have old man strength regardless of age.
3. You automatically are the encyclopedia of all things regarding scotch, cigars, shaving, and boat fuel.
4. You have been looked up to, now you are automatically looked up to by wife and child."

Ok so some things in here definitely ring true. 

Number 2.  I am still working on this.  But definitely know about this alleged old man strength.  I've seen it in action before in older men.  It's impressive.

Number 3.  Ok I like cigars and shaving.  I'm working my way into being a scotch drinker, so give me some time on that.  Boat fuel?  Well I like riding in boats and don't know anything or care about the fuel that goes in.  BUT! I'll pretend like I know anything.

Number 1.  I accept the fact that I will at some point have wisdom in life.  And it is a huge responsibility!  But for now I'm just trying to figure this life out one day at a time, letting Jesus take the lead.

Number 4.  Ok this one scares me a little big.  While I do realize that once I got married, I was in a position of leadership.  My wife looks to me for decisions and at times guidance.  Now I will have a child looking for those same things!  Wow, this is huge.  And you know what?  I can't wait!

I recently read a great article on one man's take on parenting.  It goes along with a book I read also, so I am beginning to think there is a trend here.  Take a look at this quote from the article:
            "We can no longer guide our children by dictatorial or condescending lectures. They are not listening, but they are watching, and thus, like it or not, we must come to grip with the inescapable fact that the way we live our own life is the only appropriate influence we have on our children's lives. No lectures; no discussion; just do it. Just be it."

I love this quote on all levels.  Here is a guy who realizes that he is in a distinct position to lead his kids.  He understands that lectures aren't going to get it done, but that actions will.  Leading a life of whimsy and adventure (with integrity) will show them what it's all about.  And THAT is the part about parenting that I am looking forward to.

So September 2 this adventure begins.  Sure there will be sleepless nights in the beginning.  But who cares?  I want there to be sleepless nights later in life with them because we are out doing something crazy.  If you have any other advice, let me know!  I'm all ears.

Until next time, no more lectures.  Just go out and be it!