In the Bible, James 3:11 talks about how a spring doesn't spew forth both salt and fresh water. I love hearing about verses like that because I just want to sit and ponder on them for a long, long time. In fact, Dave could likely get the laundry done and the dishes washed while I pondered about this one. Oh wait...this post is supposed to be about reputation. I certainly wouldn't want anyone thinking I would ever have Dave do the dishes or laundry without me.
This verse, however, has me a bit stymied, as I feel I can sometimes "act" two sides of the same coin (some might call that premature menopause, but stick with me). My views on politics, education, and other extremely matters have altered many times throughout my life. Does that mean I spew both salt and fresh water? I suppose that is not really what that verse means. Instead, I believe it means that our true character is going to reveal itself no matter how hard we try to hide it. I recently heard a talk show host talking about one of the many (unfortunately) people in Hollywood who had been accused of using the "casting couch" to his advantage. In the interview, he said he would never take advantage of a young up-and-coming actor. And yet, last year, he was arrested for that and more. People's lives were affected drastically by his actions, even though they had once believed every word he spouted.
I have recently been through one of the toughest career decisions in my life. I know what I want to do with my life (please, oh please, don't anyone say, "Aren't you old enough to have DONE most of what you want to do in your career?")----help teachers, professors, students, and school leaders grow in their own professional skills (and thereby, selfishly, growing and learning myself). I sincerely cannot think of anything I'd rather be doing. But I was recently faced with an opportunity that would have been AMAZING but would have taken us away from our current, known situation. I had to do a lot of self-examination, and I can't say I know for 100% certainty that I made the right choice in turning down this opportunity. And, selfishly, I pray that another similar opportunity will present itself in the future that will be a better "fit" for our family. But I do know this: I cannot think of a single thing I would rather be doing, professionally, than to continue on the path to helping students, teachers, principals, professors, and potential school leaders be their best selves. One of my favorite parts about the work I do is that, first of all, I adore it! But second of all, I also love seeing change take place in schools and districts and individuals that they (and I) feel are for the better. It is extremely satisfying, gratifying, and I pray it has some social impact on the world at large.
My Educational Leadership students hear me say, all the time, "You are what you write" or "You are the decisions you make". Why? Because it is truly the epitome of our own reputations that we build by the actions we take and the words we say every single day of our lives.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite cartoons that I show when I teach school leaders about trust and communication and ask you to consider: For what do you want to be remembered?