Monday, September 28, 2015

Insight - Comfort zone and taking chances - By Michelle Libby

I like being in control. It’s no secret. I run a newspaper where I make the majority of decisions. This past weekend, I spent three full days at the first half of a six day leadership experience. I wasn’t told a lot about what was going to happen, mostly that I would be fine and it would be good for me. 

Now looking back, I don’t know what I was nervous about. Spending a weekend plus one with a group of 32 participants and many staff was enlightening. I met new people, laughed until I thought I might not recover and learned about the organization and how I can be a better leader. 

There is still much more to the class. We have homework over the next three weeks before our final weekend. Our group of six has a lot to prepare for including a group wide campfire, a group project and more. 

Coming together with six strangers making decisions and suggesting ideas is daunting. We have to learn to work together to be successful and luckily the group I’m with gelled quickly and was able to accomplish a lot early. 

I learned a lot about myself as well. We were given games to play where we answered questions about ourselves. We were given team work games and strategy games about listening and communication. Before we even began the class, we were asked 20 questions about ourselves, what we believe to be true and what others might think of us. Being honest about things that might be weaknesses is never easy, especially when you have to write them down or share them with others.
The weekend, I learned that being totally immersed in the leadership/learning program is a great way to focus on only that, without having to worry about other commitments, jobs, kids, soccer practices, we were there with very little connectivity to get all we could from the different topics. 

When I first was invited to take part, I was skeptical about taking six days out of my crazy schedule for a leadership course. I didn’t see that it would be much fun. I didn’t know what would happen, like would we have to hike a mountain, scale a 10-foot wall?  

However, once there the program flowed from one topic to the next, each building on the game, movie, or speech we were treated to. My fears were mostly unfounded. I’m glad I have become part of this course and look forward to stepping outside my comfort zone when we do the outdoor experience part of the course. Sleeping in tents, cooking for ourselves and learning more about leading, will be very interesting.   

Monday, September 14, 2015

Insight - Here's to another great school year!

As I sit in my quiet house, the cat and dog are both asleep on the couch and I'm alone. I know there are other mom's and dad's all over the state realizing how quiet the house is with just the hum of the air conditioner keeping us company. It's back to school time. I thumb down through the Facebook posts of the first day photos, I remember to post the one of my son who started 10th grade today. 

They never know what to expect on the first day. There is trepidation and excitement for him. For me it's "does he have everything he needs?" Snacks. sharpened pencils, pens, graphing calculator? 

When my daughter, who is living at home, working and taking college classes, left for her first day, it was actually the night before. She worked an overnight shift and then went to three classes. She was rushing to get out of the house in time for work and realized that she needed clothes for school and supplies. Luckily we had been to the DeMolay backpack giveaway and she had everything she needed in one handy bag. She took that and ran. Today, as she left for class, she took one of my many, many good bags. I may never see it again. 

I wish all the students heading back to school this week and next week a wonderful school year. I hope it's everything it should be and nothing it shouldn't. For parents, it's bitter sweet. We now have hours to do whatever we want...(except for that work thing). We can also reflect on what it was like when we were in 10th grade or a senior or in second grade. 

I can't wait for them to come home to tell me all about their day, their new friends and new teachers. I won't settle for a "fine", "good" or "whatever." I want to live vicariously through them for the first few days of school.