Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has always been someone I looked up to. As a matter of fact, most black people looked up to him. Quite sure this is common knowledge.
Today I saw a post that read, 5 Things You May Not Have Known About MLK. The post gave these facts that most people already know.
While reading the post, all I thought about was that one obscure fact that usually isn't shared about MLK. Martin Luther King Jr., the preacher, spent countless hours in dive bars.
King would visit bars to give updates to patrons on the civil rights movement. MLK would also take the time to listen to the patrons of the bars. He would find out about issues going on in their communities.
As I fast-forward to today, I thought about a meeting that I attendant recently where a school leader exclaimed, "I think I may need to go to some of these clubs in order to get some parent interested in these SAC and PTA meetings."
As those words rolled out of the leaders mouth, all I thought about was the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King valued communicating with some of the most under-served African Americans in this country. We as school leaders must do the same.
A true leaders goes high and low to build relationships with the people that he or she serves. We must meet the people that we serve where they feel most comfortabe to get a true understanding of them and their children.
In 2009, I got a call from my oldest son who was at a wrestling tournament. There was inclement weather so he advised me that I could watch his matches online instead of braving the elements. I clicked on the link to watch the matches and was amazed that I could watch each match online in real time. As I watched his matches, I asked myself if this type of streaming technology was being used at his school.I immediately began to research and found out that his high school was not using streaming technology.The next week, I got approval from the school's athletic director to create a website to showcase the athletic activities at my son's school. The site became my passion. In three short years, the website had over 1 million views and was ranked #62 in the country for high school sports sites.
Two years into my project, I was contacted by a company called Amateur Sports Network to create videos, add writing content, and to take pictures for Online high school sports throughout the nation. This took me on an adventure to North and South Dakota State Universities to the Amateur Wrestling National Championships to stream the event Online for the Asics/Vaughn Missouri State Wrestling team. Asics/Vaughn was so impressed with our work that they decided to have our team video the championship matches for instant replays on calls.
I began to spend more time creating videos, taking pictures and building websites for amateur sports and for schools in general across the country. I taught myself how to build and brand these entities to increase the number of website visits.
At the time, I was working as a Teacher Assistant in a suburban school district. I loved teaching and learning but also enjoyed technology. That is when I decided to make my passion my profession by smashing my love for education and technology together. I returned to the University of Central Missouri and received a Master's degree in Educational Technology. Once the degree was completed, I worked as an Instructional Technology Specialist at a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri.
Currently, I train over 2,000 employees how to use educational software within a school district of 15,000 students. Routinely, I walk in with a smile on my face. I am so happy to do what I love daily. It is almost a crime to call my career work. Every day I have the ability to change the way digital immigrants and natives integrate software into their classrooms and boardrooms. My passion has become my profession.
If you currently are working in a position that only fulfills paying your bills, don't give up. Keep striving to do what you love. Find ways to add your passion into what you do currently. Take some of your free time to explore new careers. Design your thinking to find that profession that excites you and if you don't find that career that you are passionate about, create your own.
As soon as I jump in the G-Ride, the first thing I do is choose one of my iconic music playlist. This has been a tradition of mine since I created cassette tapes with my favorite cuts in the eighties. I Love Music. I can spend an entire day listening to the most eclectic mix from Big Sean to Little Big Town.
As an adult, I have also discovered a super colossal Love of Books, whereas in my formative years, I avoided reading like the plague. I would skim classical works just so I could seem "semi-intelligent". Also I would buy Cliff Notes of books I had to read for class. It took marriage, 4 sons, and The Coldest Winter Ever to make me thirsty for reading.
In order to read as much as I can with the time I have left on this earth, I thought I would try an audiobook. I started with Michele Obama's Becoming. To hear Michelle go through the details of her life in her own voice took my love for audiobooks to the next level. Now I listen to audiobooks in my car as much as I listen to music. Sometimes, I find myself listening so intently that when I arrive at my destination, I stay in my car until the chapter is finished.
Now my love of books is equivalent to my love of music. My Friday nights are filled with Layer Cake Shiraz and non-fiction novels and I Love It! However, I wish I would have spent more time reading in my early years. There are so many great works out there that I have missed. Life is Short. Read a Book or Listen to Audiobook.