Father’s Day

Today we have the opportunity to celebrate our dads – for who they are and for the impact that have made on who we are.  When I think about my dad two words immediately come to mind – adventure and sacrifice.

Nearly every fun childhood memory I have is anchored in my dad and his ideas for family adventure. Whether we were floating down the creek in truck tire inner tubes, camping out in our tent, or in the middle of the woods picking blueberries, it seemed my dad always had a plan to get out and and just do something together. Many times our family fun would result in something going wrong to turn it into a crazy story that we now relive and laugh about each time we get together.

As an adult with my own family, it strikes me as amazing that my dad could put the energy he did into me and my brothers considering how hard he worked. As an independent truck driver, he hauled anything and everything at all hours and through all weather to make a living. One of my most vivid memories is of the excitement of waiting for him to come home from being on the road.  In the age before cell phones, my dad would call my mom from a truck stop to let her know where he was and what time he expected to make it home.  When the time for him to arrive drew close, my brothers and I would go outside to play and eagerly wait to hear the sound of his truck coming down the country road to our house. The moment we could hear him, we ran to the end of our driveway to wait, where he’d stop to let us climb into the big rig and “help” him park the truck.  While my world was eager anticipation, I know my mom also had many times of worry – in bad weather waiting for when he’d check in or when he was overdue to arrive. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized the toll his type of work took on him – the worry of times when loads where scarce, the unexpected repairs, and the physical toll of being on the road. As an adult, I realized how much he sacrificed to provide for our family.

Today I am thankful for how my dad shaped and influenced me.  His work ethic shaped my foundation and instilled in me the value of hard work. He instilled in me the belief that goals are worth working for and that there are no shortcuts to long-term success. Though I’m pretty sure my younger brother inherited all of my dad’s “fun genes,” I learned the importance of creating family traditions and memories to bond us together. As I get older, I can see the numerous ways I am like him and the origination of many of my interests, abilities, characteristics, and beliefs. I am fiercely proud of my background because I am proud of the people in my life who made me who I am today – today I have the joy of celebrating one of them. Thank you dad for who you are – for making me who I am today and now for helping to build my kids into the people they will become.

Summer Time!

Summer time will “officially” begin at the end of today for many students across our district. For parents, some of us are looking forward to it as eagerly as our kids – planning trips, talking with neighbors while the kids play in the street, and hosting backyard BBQ’s.  Others of us are scrambling to find that last program, camp, or family member to help with summer coverage while we work.

As a lifelong Minnesotan, and after this extraordinary winter, I cherish our summers and tend to try to pack in as many summer activities as humanly possible.  My husband is in the unique opportunity as a teacher to spend summer time with our kids. While this is an amazing blessing, I admit I’m sometimes jealous that I’m at work while everyone is enjoying summer fun. This summer, I’m looking forward to watching my kids participate in sports through the district’s community education programming. In particular, I’m excited to see if my kids will share my passion for track and field – but if they don’t, there are many other opportunities for them to try out and to test their passions and talents.

As I consider my summer and the color-coded family calendar hanging on my fridge, I really am thankful that our district has so many diverse summer options.  This also extends into our overall district educational approach. I believe our district has a real strength in the variety of educational opportunities our students have available to them. Through this diversity of enrichment, focused programs, and community partnerships, our students are able to have their unique talents and abilities encouraged and accelerated. I believe we can do even more to expand offerings to support the skills needed for tomorrow. At the same time, we need to continue to close gaps with support programs that are proven to  yield results.

As we prepare to head into our summer plans, I wish the best for you and your family.  I am hoping to use the longer days to slow-down and spend more time connecting with my family and children.  Here’s to another Minnesota summer filled with memory-making fun!