• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.



Feeling thankful.

November 26, 2014

It’s almost Thanksgiving, so a moment of gratitude seems to be in order.  

We had our parent-teacher conferences last week for The Boy and The Girl.  

The Boy is in eighth grade, so he has a different teacher for each subject.  His school has parents come in with their kids and sit at tables in the cafeteria while teachers move from table to table.  It’s sort of a cross between traditional conferences and speed dating.  

The Girl is in fifth grade, so she spends most of her day with one teacher.  Her conference was in the much more traditional format of three adults sitting awkwardly on low chairs at a low table.

They’re both doing really well, which is gratifying enough in itself.  But I was especially proud to hear that they’re both confident, participatory, gracious, and just generally great to have around.  

Yes, I have Dad goggles.  But it’s also true.  

“Smart” is great.  It’s useful, and it opens up options.  With half of my chromosomes, the odds of either of them making it as professional athletes are approximately zero.  They’ll need to live on their smarts.

But it’s possible to be smart and toxic, or smart and selfish, or smart and mean.  

TB and TG are smart, but they’re also good people.  They walk through the world aware of others, and I’ve seen both of them, at various times, step aside when a group dynamic started to get weird.  Their peers like them, but also respect them.  

I’m grateful that they’re smart, but I’m more grateful that they’re genuinely good people.  Watching them grow into themselves is a privilege.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Program note: I’ll be taking a Thanksgiving break, returning next week.   Safe travels!


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