Adieu 2017

by John on December 30, 2017

Wow, the end of the year is finally upon us. Thank sweet baby jeebus. This year wasn’t bad or good, it just was. I’m happy to have survived relatively unscathed.

2017 challenged me in good ways and bad. I fought and won, and fought and lost. While the year tried like heck to knock me down, I fought like hell to stay up and keep going and that has made me a better husband, father, leader, and friend.

I advocated for my students, saw lives change, and had several positive and tough conversations with them about their future.

I gained and lost friends. I mourned the loss of friends, tried my best to honor the memory of friends that have died years prior, and smiled and wished others well when they hit amazing milestones.

I was challenged as a father. I saw my girls grow and struggle and overcome challenges but emerge stronger and that makes me proud.

I’m ready for the challenges that 2018 will bring. I took great notes and (still) have some very strong opinions about the future, but I’m ready.

I know that there is a whole lot of improving that I can, and will do in 2018.

To close out this year, I’d like to leave you with a quote from his Holiness the 14 Dalai Lama:
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

Goodbye 2017! Here’s to an awesome 2018!

~John

#jesuisCharlie #nousommesCharlie #defendDACA

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Forward, Always Forward!

by John on December 4, 2017

I didn’t expect to get dizzy when I reached the top, but I did. My first thought was “JP, what in the hell were you thinking?”

I willingly climbed up an 8-foot ladder and then another 40 feet off the ground to the top of the tower and tried to turn around on a pole. Yes, I was wearing a climbing harness and there were six of my colleagues holding on to the rope, but it was still a bit unnerving.

Who am I kidding, unnerving is me being polite, it was scary. I managed to maneuver and turn around, with my back was solidly pressed against the pole. I didn’t think I could take a step forward, let alone walk to the middle to high five my colleague who was standing on the other side looking just as bewildered.

Turning around was tricky, taking a step forward was even trickier. I shuffled forward tentatively, asking for my colleagues to take up the slack because in my mind the pressure kept me safe.

My mind flashed back to one of my favorite books about General George Patton and his directive “Our basic plan of operation is to advance and keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through!”

My first steps were tentative, the next few got easier and finally I was in the center of the pole. Standing there, looking at a view of Biscayne Bay, and then at my colleague, we managed to finally laugh at ourselves.

Dismounting required you to lean backwards, keeping your legs locked against the pole, looking skyward. You try to “gracefully” descend by not hitting the pole you were just standing on (easier said than done).

Once I hit the ground and climbed out of the gear, I was laughing at my foolishness.

Now you can roll your eyes at work offsites, but this one was different. This simple exercise required you to overcome your personal fears and then truly believe that you colleagues wouldn’t let you fall. Believe me, falling from that height would not be cool.

During the debrief session, we all collectively started to realize what we accomplished. While it wasn’t some radical new strategy, or something incredibly profound, it was eye opening. I realized that you need to, and can trust your team. You need to keep moving forward, always keep moving forward.

Patton’s right, keep on advancing. Even the tentative steps forward are still forward!

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Thankful 2017

November 22, 2017

I’ve been in a funk for the past few weeks. Who am I kidding, it’s been a few months (but we’re friends, so who’s counting). I’ve been doing some reflecting and trying to ascertain just whats causing my angst and what I can do to fix it. I mean you can only fight the funk […]

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#7Songs – Number Four

October 10, 2017

I have been away for a while. It’s been an incredibly busy summer and fall, and one of my colleagues reminded me today that I needed to get back to my writing. She was right, I have been neglecting my voice and what better way than to jump back into the fray than by writing […]

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen

June 27, 2017

The humidity has returned to Miami with a vengeance. For me, it’s a sign that the long days of summer have returned and I’m moved to a time of introspection and semi full time sweating. We are in full prep mode for our fall recruiting season, asking ourselves what’s new, how do we connect with […]

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