How I Found The Secret Sauce
For over 25 years I have been told my greatest strength as a teacher and coach was my ability to develop heart filled relationships and authentically connect with my students and players. Had I been given the secret sauce as a gift and didn’t even realize it? I knew I was not the greatest with all the new instructional strategies. You know, the trendy ones we see each year in professional development training. Heck, I still would rather have my overhead projector, transparencies, and a wet cloth than my smart board. Who likes a device that makes you feel like you have a single digit IQ anyways.
I knew I was not good at many of the things that go into being an effective teacher, but I was not completely convinced that building relationships was my signature move either. I lacked confidence, I was clinging to what hope I had in my personal life, and I doubted my own ability to connect with myself. Constantly, I wondered if I even mattered. Something I have come to realize that many of our young people wonder too.
I chose to live and not die.
In 2014, that all changed. The value of relationships and self-worth found me, as I desperately clung to my life in a rehab facility for addiction and alcoholism. It was located out in a small town in central Oklahoma so I was literally left with one choice. Get sober or blow away like the tumbleweeds I saw blowing across the road from my window. I chose to live and not die.
Dreams of being a better man, father, and friend seemed like a real possibility. For the very first time in 46 years I began to believe in myself again. I realized the life giving spirit in real, honest, and authentic relationships. Finding recovery saved my life without a doubt but it did more than that. It opened up my soul to the confidence that I mattered and more importantly why I mattered. I had a God given gift, and no, it wasn’t the ability to drink you under the table. It was to impact people through my ability to connect and develop real relationships. I found my “WHY”.
Without them I could not live.
As an alcoholic, all my relationships were there to serve me. They had become my validation as a man. Without them I could not live. I sucked the very life out of my personal relationships better than an industrial vacuum cleaner. The relationships with my students and players were only slightly different. They gave me hope, that maybe I could be, or would be OK. But, in reality, they all still served me.
Since becoming sober I have learned that my relationships, the people I am in contact with, were there for me to serve them. I had it all backwards, much like we do in education today. Finally, I saw that life just wasn’t about me. My gift to be vulnerable, available, and engaged with my heart was life giving. When I focused on having a servant’s heart, in return, I would get all the love and connection that I had longed for my entire adult life.
the secret sauce in developing strong cultures…
Through this site, I want to share with you my life experiences that have led me to the secret sauce in developing strong cultures and communities. I want to serve you in connecting, in your schools, your classrooms, your locker rooms, or anywhere else that you may find yourself.
I think we have been following the path to success in education all backwards. We have become fixated on results. We chase the newest instructional methods and use of data. In our pursuit of higher test scores and we have found ourselves further away from the intended target. Students with big dreams and the knowledge and tools to achieve them. I found the secret sauce to get them there. It is my passion, my “WHY” and I want to share it with you so that we can impact the culture of your school and community.
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