Happy Holidays

From my family to yours, have the happiest of holidays and a safe and prosperous new year.

Life and Learning…Journey or Destination?

Last week I graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. After 21 years of higher education (on and off), I felt a tremendous relief at being finally done (at least with this part of my education).

My family and I made the 5 hour drive to Greenville, North Carolina to the ECU campus. As a distance ed student, I had not only never set foot on campus but had to look on a map to see where the campus was. The drive there gave me lots of time to reflect on my college (and life) experience–in between the kids asking “are we there yet?”

The next day at the graduation ceremony I lined up with the sea of 20-something year olds and walked across the stage to get my degree. I chuckled to myself when those who walked before me discovered that instead of their college degree they were actually holding an invitation to join the ECU Alumni Association. Welcome to the real world!

As I went back to my seat, I thought I would feel something…more…satisfied…accomplished. I didn’t. Instead, I suddenly realized that the important part had already happened–the journey. I felt satisfied when I received my final grades. I felt accomplished when I created a marketing plan for the ALA Learning Round Table for my PR strategies course. I felt excited when I interviewed Katherine Ramsland about the literary works of Anne Rice. I realize now that all of the joy and excitement came from the actual learning not the ceremony.

Still, I’m glad that my children got to watch me walk across the stage. Well actually just one of my children. My youngest thought it would be more fun to run barefoot, up and down the halls singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

This got me to think about parenting. Being a parent to two young children is not easy. But everyone tells me that it’s over before you know it. I remind myself daily that parenting is about the journey–good and bad.

There are so many analogies where this is true and so many cliches that I won’t repeat any of them expect to say this: The next time you find yourself completely stressed out or overwhelmed, stop and take a deep breath, and remind yourself that life, like learning, is about the journey not the destination.


I get kids excited about reading! What’s your superpower?

I’ve been trying to get this photo all week and finally got it last night at the book fair. Here’s the school’s media specialist Ms. Reeder (that’s her real name 🙂 ) and my son.

So readers…what’s your superpower?
Ian and Ms. Reeding

I Like School and School Likes Me

This week my son graduated from Kindergarten. This was our first year in the public school system and we could not have been happier. We have a great school, fantastic teacher and teachers’s assistant, and a wonderful after school program. It really does take a village!

Here’s a video from the end of school celebration. My son is the one with the dance moves!

You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

Ian KindergartenAs the mom of a Kindergartner, I’ve been reading the speech Obama plans to deliver tomorrow to millions of school children across the nation. My son could not be more excited about hearing the address. He personally voted for Obama, albeit in a preschool election, and to him Obama is his president.

Reading the speech as a mom, I can only be grateful that we have a president who values education.

Reading the speech as a trainer, there is one paragraph that really hit home with me:

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

Let me repeat that last line:

You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

This could not be more true, and I think this should be one of our mottos in the training and library world. It’s not enough to just show up for training. Training requires work on the part of both the trainer and the learner.

As trainers it is our responsibility to make this clear to our learners and to help them in whatever ways we can to be successful in their learning. So take the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink.” Let’s change that to: “You can lead a horse to water, and you can make sure the water is fresh, tastes good, and is delivered so that it can reach all variations of horses.”