This weblog is subtitled 'the life and times' and mainly deals with my thoughts on education - the times - and less on my life. This post, in contrast, is mostly about my life at the moment. The last four weeks of my life have been hectic, eventful, and traumatic. My father had a stroke on August 18. I spent a lot of time last term commuting to Auckland with my wife to see him and spend time with him. Sadly I have to report that he passed away on September 21 from complications from that stroke. Since then my brother and our respective families have had to deal with the emotional aftermath. It hasn't been easy but we are all comforted by the peaceful, serene way he accepted the inevitable and helped us all to deal with his death. He was an amazing man and he gave us all so much.
Events like this in our lives tend to throw things in perspective. I have always told my staff that family comes first and for me this was also true. My study break was filled with working through dad's estate with my brother, and completely redecorating part of our house in Stratford. It was great therapy (like this blog) and now, back at school, I'm feeling drained of energy again.
I've always realised that I need 'my time'. Usually this takes place early in the morning before the rest of my family wakes and rises. These days I realise anew, how important some private, reflective time is to Principals. The hurley burley and toil and trouble of the day can quickly swamp us but having a few minutes to write this is really cathartic and necessary.
I often go back to material from a post graduate diploma I did at UNITEC in the 1990s. As one booklet pointed out, "reflecting on one's experiences can bring about changes in attitudes and actions". Boy - they weren't kidding!
R.D. Laing says, 'The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds'.
I have also often remembered Boydell's model of management competence. It has three (evolutionary and hierarchical) levels: level 1 - manager as technician, level 2 - manager as professional, level 3 - manager as artist.
I remember being quite taken by this when I read about it in 1999. According to Boydell if you reach this third level you've become the 'mature person' manager and have reached a full understanding of what it means to be a manager, how it fits with all other aspects of your life, including your personal standards and values.
Events of the last few weeks in my personal life have given me the feeling that I have attained this last level. But I've been wrong before.