Sometimes you have to take a long look in the mirror, suck it up, and just blame your mom. – SCN Encourager

Developing into a 21st century school communicator has never been easy.

Not my childhood family, but pretty dang close.

Not my childhood family, but pretty dang close.

I’m convinced my mom totally messed me up.

I could attend a dozen awesome conferences sponsored by MSPRA and NSPRA, and still not come back home with all of the new learnings that I should.

I can’t help dragging around the heavy weight of the countless old notions instilled during my “upbringing,” and this has kept me from becoming a highly admired, rock star school communicator.

Now you may ask:
Am I being too harsh?
Am I being fair to my mom?

Well, I’ll let you decide as I lay out my case everyday this week.

I’ve got to set the record straight.

The fog has now lifted from many of my childhood memories, and it’s clear to me that I could’ve climbed and clawed my way to the pinnacle of school communicatorshipness as an adult had the key influencer in my life – way back when – not been my mom.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 4.29.25 PMYou can count on me to provide you with an unbiased and transparent description in how my mom (unintentionally, she’d claim) impeded my career.

My mom passed away after a long battle with cancer more than 25 years ago, so my childhood recollections as I record them now are free from any of the moderating edits her “wooden spoon” might have enforced.

(A personal sidebar: This is the third time I’ve referenced growing up in a “wooden spoon” household. It’s always fun because I get so many responses, “Me too!”) 

Anyway, let me to get back to blaming my mom for the steep mountain I’ve had to travel throughout my career.

Here’s my “thanks for nothing, mom” fact #1.

You know how educators frequently recommend to parents that they should read to their kids at home? Maybe even to make it a nightly ritual to read a short bedtime story to them aloud?

My mom followed this advice without fail – and I’m now (years later) I’m assessing the damage.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 5.18.39 PMOne of mom’s favorite books was Aesop’s Fables, and while growing up,  I’ll bet I heard the ol’  Tortoise and the Hare tale more times than the Lions have compiled losing seasons.

At the conclusion of every fable, she’d ask me a few questions.

Since my younger brothers were not around yet, I was on my own. (Think or swim, as it were.)

Every time we’d talk about this particular fable, we’d always (somehow) arrive at the same lesson: Slow but sure will always win the race.

It will? 
On what planet?

Not in the fast-paced, instant-messaging, social-media crazed world we live in!

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.02.28 PMTake y0ur time, get it right, and you’ll win might’ve been a spot-on lifelong maxim for a five year-old future brain surgeon, but not for a budding school communicator.

Today, we’ve got to evaluate every “race” on the speedy-kwik, join in with the conversation wherever it’s taking place, add value that’s relevant, and adjust and pivot as we go.

I know this now.

But I sure wasn’t raised this way – and I can hardly wait until tomorrow to point still another way my mom has dampened the flame of my school PR career.

But all is good. 🙂

Don’t worry about where this will all wind up.

I’m just enjoying my memories of her (all good ones to be honest) and I’m grateful for your patience as I have some fun with them.

My mom was a bright, caring, and vibrant woman.

She loved me unconditionally and was the world’s biggest backer of everything I ever attempted.

Give or take a few “wooden spoon” moments, that is.

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