Learning from Me

It's kind of fun, and it's scary.

The fun part--I've noticed lately, the staff who work with me have started to pick up a love of reading, of learning and gaining from books! Here, the way they grew up...they didn't really have an opportunity to know how good books can be, to know the delight and inspiration and...so much more. No parents reading good night stories--their parents, or at least most of their moms, could barely read themselves. In elementary school, and even through junior high and high school, the only book exposure was school books, and other books bought to help improve school work. 

Ah, but when you come to work with me...I'll be forever telling you about good books, ramming them down your throat!  Some have been required reading for the staff. They read in the local language, I read English, and then we chat about the ideas therein.  It took us a year to get through (read and do) Marcus Buckingham's Go Put Your Strengths to Work, but we gained from the process. In more than a year we only finished about half of Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, before moving on, with all of our students too, to the easier teen version by his son. For our upcoming staff retreat they're reading Eat That Frog and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and enjoying them. Outside of work reading, they are reading and learning--their lives are opening up and they are growing at their own initiative and by the things they are discovering.

But...they are also learning something else...working long hours, not knowing when to stop. This is not good. This is something I have not figured out, and now staff are following. Several times I have been close to burnout, and now I have to guard staff against it. Actually, I'm more scared of them going there. I have a network of people and friends, I'd be okay if I crashed (believe me, I really don't want to go there myself either!), but they don't have quite the same level of support. Besides, I want them to stay healthy and fresh so we can keep working together for a long time. So...sometimes I just make them drop stuff, and take time off.

And then they look at me. Aren't you supposed to be leading by example? Yeah, that's what I preach all the time. However in this one I haven't yet figure out how to do it.

Things have got to change. I have got to change. They will learn from me, and there are some things I don't want them to learn.

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