Fathers and Sons: Part 1

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Sitting on the porch, rocking back and forth, I reflect upon the birth of my sons. It feels like yesterday. Just a moment ago. And, then, flash, I am 46, they are 20, and 16. What happened?

Life happened.

Growing up in Los Angeles was for a long time something that I took for granted. I remember the first time I traveled across the country, via car. I said something to my buddy like, wow, it all looks like San Bernardino.

If you’ve been to Southern California, and spent anytime at all in the desert areas, of which San Bernadino is a part, you will get that reference. If not. Well, let’s just say that I had an idea in my head that all places looked like Los Angeles. Not so.

I digress.

Justin was born in 2000. I was 26. At the time, I remember thinking, jeez, I’m old, better hurry up and have kids, buy a house, live that American Dream everyone’s talking about. Really. WOW. I was young, not old.

We lived in two different apartments when Justin was little. First halloweens, first christmas, first-time parents. Phew. At that time, I worked close. I did work long hours, however, the work was very flexible.

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

I remember when I got the call. I was on my delivery truck, called my boss and said, Justin’s coming. I’ve got to go. They covered me.

So excited, nervous, anxious, joyful. All at the same time. Justin was born quick. Very, quick.

Bringing him home was so nerve racking. What if I do something wrong? What if something happens? Well, my mother-in-law stayed with us for a week or two, and I called my mom regularly. Drawing upon the support we had. Very lucky to have it.

Anyway, we did end up purchasing a house when Justin was 4. Jason was born shortly thereafter. Only 4 years separate the two boys, and yet, we were completely caught off guard by having another child. Not prepared at all. Phew.

We did like many people do. We moved forward, did the best we could, and loved them both unconditionally.

I loved when they were little. Though I worked a lot, it was so much fun to see them play in the yard, play with our dog.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Build things, tear things apart, be free.

Though we only lived in that house for 4 years, we did so many things together there. My memories of that time are so vivid. Possibly those memories are so vivid, as we were building a life.

Just starting out. Knew very little about what we were doing, yet we drew upon what we were taught, and created the rest. Filled the gaps.

First house, first backyard, first garage, first-time having neighbors in a house. All so new. The house was so small, yet had a huge lot. Was so great for the boys. Tons of space to roam and play.

That house was quite a ways from our extended family. 46 miles. Which, at the time, was like 5,000 miles.

You have to understand that, especially for me, we grew up in families where most people stayed very local.

All good. We took the boys to LA regularly to see their grandparents. We even sent Jenn and the boys to AZ, where her parents lived, so they could also visit them.

I remember the first time I took the Amtrak. What a different experience. Was fun. Back then you could actually smoke on a train. In a smoking car. Yep, they had those then.

Photo by JK on Unsplash

When Justin was 5 or so, and Jason was 1 or 2, we decided to sell and move to AZ. It was right before the housing crash. Really. Within two years that house we bought for $150,000 and sold for $370,000, was once again worth $150,000. Crazy.

We bought a house in Surprise AZ, and I went to work for US Foodservice. Huge company. Good training program, lots of work. During this time, Justin was in third grade, and Jason was spending portions of his day at a babysitter. We both worked, did, and still do. Normal.

Third grade was a difficult one for Justin. New school, new kids, new context, new State. Very different from where we were from. As with most things, there were those things we liked about AZ, and those we did not.

Beautiful winters, HOT summers. Still, there is something quite majestic about the desert. Really. If you’ve not spent a lot of time in the desert, check it out.

We were only in that house for 1.5 years. Housing crash. Foreclosure. Emotionally trying. Actually, in every way that time was challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally.

What does it mean to “lose” a home? Difficult. We were, of course, not alone. Many, many, people were in the same position in 2007 and 2008.

The home we ended up renting was only around the corner. Helped, in that Justin could stay in the same school. They both played outside a lot with the neighborhood kids. Fun, and fun to watch.

Next?

Well, let’s save that for Part 2. I’ll end with saying that being a father to two beautiful boys has been and is one of the greatest experiences of my life. And, I wouldn’t have shared it with anyone other than Jenn.

Being a father. Beautiful, wonderful, lovely, and hard, frustrating, and scary. Still is. More on that later. 🙂

#amtrak, #arizona, #beautifulwork, #desert, #emotionalintenlligence, #emotionallytrying, #experience, #families, #family, #fathers-and-sons, #firsttimefather, #hardwork, #havingbabies, #housingcrash, #kidsplaying, #losangeles, #love, #newfather, #newparents, #raisingkids, #thefatherexperience

Leadership in Practice Series Part 3 – Community and Continuing Education and COVID-19: A Brief Exploration

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Photo by SwapnIl Dwivedi on Unsplash

Have you ever heard of community and continuing education, or noncredit education? Yes, no? Either way, that’s okay. Most people know very little about the breadth, accessibility, and availability of community and continuing education.

Before taking my current position, as the Director of Extended Learning at Linn-Benton Community College, I knew very little about community and continuing education. Sure, I’d heard of community classes, yet they were not something I had access to growing up.

Learning, then, that community and continuing education, of which corporate training, professional development, and small business development are also a part, are far more accessible and available than I knew, and many people know was enlightening. And, right now, access to these classes is needed more than ever.

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Photo by cyrus gomez on Unsplash

Community and Continuing Education

Why?

Now more than ever people need a place to connect with other people. Humans are social beings. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, people need to be with other people. And, right now, that’s hard. Really hard.

Community and continuing education provides such a space. Yep, even right now. Though, for sure, COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for educators all across the country, some organizations have found ways to continue to serve. How?

Creating new ways to deliver education that is typically considered and associated with an in-person experience. Prior to COVID-19 becoming a local reality, the Extended Learning Department at Linn-Benton Community College had only a handful of remote classes and training. Starting this fall?

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Photo by “My Life Through A Lens” on Unsplash

What?

The Department will have over 120 Community Education classes, 4 cohorts (all full with a winter term waitlist) of Professional Development training, at least one Driver Education class, and over 10 Small Business Development Center classes and workshops. And, yep, they are all remote. Phew. Unprecedented change. Why does it matter?

Though taking a class or a training during a massive pandemic may seem like the wrong time, it is exactly the right time. There has never been a more “right” time to be connected with other human beings. Never been a more right time to continue to learn, to grow, to move ourselves and everyone around us forward. It is just so. The right time.

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Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

How?

Easy. You sign up for a class or training you want to take, and take it. Simple. Now, we’ve experienced lots of technological challenges in delivering these new remote classes. A wonderful learning experience. And, like anything, there is really only one way to learn something, and that is to do it. Simple.

“Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” -Anonymous

Awaken the Greatness Within

If you are unsure where to look, take a look at the local community college, University, or Parks and Recreation department where you live. Will they have remote classes? Don’t know. However, many have been offering remote classes, and I think more will follow. And, if you don’t have access? Well, you can always reach out to Extended Learning at Linn-Benton Community College. Yep.

It is most important to know that there are classes and training happening right now. Whether it is in the community you live in, or in another community miles away. Because these classes and training are remote, the miles matter less, than knowing that they are available and accessible.

For more information on how to access Linn-Benton Community College Extended Learning classes and training you can email Jeff Flesch at fleschj@linnbenton.edu.

#accesstoeduction, #communityandcontinuingeducation, #communityeducation, #communityeduction, #continuingeducation, #covid-19, #creativity, #development, #education, #experience, #experiential, #growth, #leadership, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipinpractrice, #noncrediteduction, #professionaldevelopment, #smallbusinessdevelopment

Dreams

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Unsplash

When dreams are more real
Than reality
And reality is more like a dream

Take care, and
Don’t despair

Forever long you may
Grieve

It’s not about time
For time
Is the illusion of all time

Rest in knowing
What’s there
And fair

Consider that dreams
Are as real
As reality feels
Both an illu-story

We think
Instead of act
Yet experience
Is where it’s at

and, there’s nothing more
Real than that

Out of our heads
Like a matrix
For the dead

Alive you can be
And true to become
By living instead

Think not of the hardships
For yours are
The same for all
As we each set sail

#dreaming, #dreams, #experience, #greif, #grieve, #hardship, #illusory, #life, #live, #living, #poem, #poems, #real, #reality, #sotry, #story

Creativity During COVID-19

The past month we’ve seen unprecedented changes, across the world, country, and here locally. I’ve been thinking about all of these changes, and the fact that post-COVID-19, if there is such a thing, will be a whole new normal. Life as it once was is over.

I’ve also been thinking, and doing more creative things this past month. Writing more. Visioning more. And, overall, experiencing more creativity. With work hours, if you are lucky and are working, less than pre-COVID 19, there is more time. More time to think, and ponder, yes, and to also do, and be.

Question for you:

What have you created since the onset of COVID-19?

#change, #covid-19, #creativity, #experience, #life, #vision, #work