There are times in our lives when we hit obstacles, roadblocks, events, or ______(insert word of choice) in our lives where we wonder why things happen. Sometimes they are quite serious to the point of life threatening and other times just make for a very inconvenient moment in time.
Regardless of the extremity of the situation we cannot help but feel frustrated, stressed, anxious, mad, and sometimes really angry about the way things turned out.
I was recently part of this set of emotions and events. I have been preparing for quite some time to attend the #NYSCATE15 conference this week in Rochester, New York. I had about 6 presentations with my makerspace session turning out to be one of my best turnouts ever. I was ready to push the envelope a bit in challenging the thinking in education in a good way. I had a few new things to test out after ITEC and I was just pumped to go!
Even more important to me was the opportunity to engage and speak with educators with a whole different perspective compared to my Iowa lens. I was excited to pick their brains, learn new things, and understand what educators from the East are doing in their classroom to help improve our own school.
But then the snow came. I will bear you the long journey I had sitting in Moline for 9 hours, but after sitting on a plane for 2 hours after 3 hour delay, and then getting off the plane, back on the plane, and finally getting off for good things were not looking promising. After being on hold for two different one hour blocks with United Airlines and them telling me I had to pay $2000 for airfare(even though they cancelled my flight) to arrive the next day by midnight, I finally came to the conclusion that the trip was not to be.
I was really upset. I was bummed. I had spent hours preparing. I had started to make connections with educators to learn from. I took my own advice about preparing for conferences. And it was all for nothing…….in theory.
However, my wife told me that things happen for a reason. As we went to bed she asked, “I wonder what you avoided by not going today?” This was a deep question. Who knows what would have happened had we attempted the flight. Things could have been worse. The what if game will drive you crazy.
Instead, I was able to be home. After taking off my grumpy pants I enjoyed the happiness of my youngest who was not happy with me leaving in the first place. She was excited to have me home. I was able to watch the Notre Dame game(they looked terrible!). Even more important I was able to be home while my middle child had surgery(nothing serious, but surgery is scary for any kid).
Things work out for a reason. I believe in this. Nine hours in an airport is not fun. Especially a small one with nothing to do. However, I was able to observe, think, and make some connections. These will be coming out in future blog posts. I witnessed the power of communication. I witnessed the errors of miscommunication. I was able to read two books that put things in perspective.
And probably the most important to my wife was that I was home to help declutter our house of things. This was not the most important lesson learned, but we did spend 10 hours decluttering since I was home. The most important thing was that I was home. My family is healthy. We are safe. Things will be just fine.
Conferences are great. Learning is vital. But I am able to do this where I am at. I can follow along on Twitter. It is not the same as in person, but life will go on and things will continue to move forward.
In the end there are certain things we can control like our mindset and how we respond to events in our lives. There are things that we cannot control like weather. Getting upset about weather is a waste of emotion and energy on an event we cannot control and getting upset will not make Mother Nature change her mind.
We must learn to know when to let go and when to hold on. I will let go of NYSCATE, but I will hold on to my daughter while we are thankful she is healthy and for my family. In the end, this is what is important above all. Not losing sight of those most important to you.