Special thanks to Nick McCormick and Mark Morgan. You can see more of Nick McCormick here: Joe and Wanda on Management » Punishment: A Teaching Tool? http://begoodventures.com/joeandwanda/?p=1292
Spring Break 2014.
Walking the New Hampshire beach at purple sunset, we watched loose sand sprint and catapult itself into the frosty Atlantic. Monday, they’d be back in Vermont, kids back to school, and Cathy, back to work. But today, my sister, her youngest son and I were spread up and down the beach, from the boardwalk to the shore, so that our long shadow heads could all be the same height. Cameron’s shadow, walking closest to the water, grew the tallest, while Cathy’s kept leaping, her shadow-head bouncing like a paddle ball on the packed wet sand. We walked to the rock pier that never seemed to get any larger in our view, and that was much further than we originally thought. Shaking our hands back and forth in the cold shallow surf, we laughed.
Today in Pennsylvania, I quietly awoke to an empty house and blank word document beckoning my next blog entry. On vacation with four kids, even for just a weekend, for a forty-three-year-old single, set, sometimes selfish, certainly used to alone time, fabulously attractive gay man is just exhausting. And really, the last thing I wanted to do after waking late, on this, the first real day of my break (actually, HALF-day; I do have an after-school program to teach at 3,) was to write this blog. But, thankfully, another part of my lazy brain kept hammering, and I remembered the book I had taken to read on the train: Lead Well and Prosper, written by Nick McCormick, and illustrated by Mark Morgan. The book was a gift from a corporate trainer friend to me, and jumped into my bag sort of last minute in the early morning scurried packing last Thursday. Over the weekend, we sat on two queen sized, fluffed and puffed mattresses at the beach hotel, eating pizza, as I read aloud from the book to Cathy’s oldest, a know everything, aggressive soccer playing, obsessed with her hair at all times, cute, intelligent, lovable, sometimes, or many times annoying, eleven-year-old girl. Mindy laughed along with us as we prodded her personalities, both triumphs and falls, while reading the chapter titles and making fun with the characters in the illustrations. Some were much more fitting. The one that sticks to me this morning, the one I keep repeating is that a successful manager follows through, or as the title of McCormick’s Chapter 13 says, “Do what you say you’ll do.”
In the top right hand corner on the book’s back cover, Lead Well and Prosper has a small category marking printed in 9 point sans serif text, a rather small print size. It reads: Business/Management. It occurs to me that this practical advice transcends that category, and it’s typeset size, and is one that I can adhere to today. I tell people that I am writing a blog, so “Joe, (and Reader) write the blog.” It is sound advice that I give to students aged 6-60, articulated differently as the situation leads, but given none-the-less. It can also be a powerful bargaining tool as in, “Remember when you said that after 5 minutes, you would come back and join the circle, it has been five minutes.” Impressing upon students this simple act of personal accountability will make them more tolerable humans. And, if I am going to give the advice, it will probably prove well to take it, as well.