It’s still Happy Week, and I’ve been thinking about the reasons that I started this blog in the first place, and what I hoped to get out of it, and what it–and, more importantly, the practice of writing it–has done for me over the past few years.
My life has changed a lot over the past 3 years; when I started the blog, the twins were still babies, I hadn’t really started consulting, and, of course, I had 3 kids instead of 4, none of whom were in school full-time.
But, in other ways, it hasn’t changed that much, really. My biggest challenge, then and now, is trying to balance my role as a mom and my passions as an advocate. I still feel pulled into direct advocacy, and then struggle with how family-unfriendly a life that revolves around media work and legislators’ needs is. I still get a huge thrill on the first day of a new semester (and feel like a graduating senior on the last day of class!). I still wish that I had more time to read blogs by really smart people, to get through the ever-growing list of titles to read in my calendar, and to eat a meal uninterrupted.
But, this week, I’m reflecting not just on how I have changed in the time since I started this blog, but also how it has changed me…or, in some cases, kept me from changing. The 6 (2 a year, no?) awesomest things, then, that this blog has done for me, in no particular order.
And, please, because it’s Happy Week: has it done anything even somewhat awesome for you? Would you be willing to share?
- Kept me in touch with former students: It is truly a delight to get a comment from a student I had a few years ago, or to see a former student and hear that he/she has been impacted in some way by our ongoing relationship through the blog.
- Expanded the walls of my classroom: While former students are much more engaged than current ones–likely because they no longer have so much reading to do for class!–it is a real asset to my teaching to be able to use the blog as an extension of a conversation we’re having in the classroom, or as a way to connect my students with other thinkers in and outside of the profession.
- Introduced me to some insightful, passionate people: Some of my favorite people I have never met in ‘real-life’, yet I feel so blessed by the generous way they share their reflections, and even their guidance, online, in their own spaces and here.
- Kept me engaged with scholarship: While I’d never pretend that my writing here is of peer-reviewed caliber, it is such good discipline for me to have to write, and read, regularly, in order to produce content for the blog. Especially with the demands of my family, teaching, and my consulting work, it would be so easy to let those practices slip by, and I believe that I would suffer, personally and professionally, for it.
- Connected me to the social media sphere: I don’t think that I would have embraced social spaces online as thoroughly as I have without the blog; it was definitely my motivation to try Twitter, for example, and it complements my personal Facebook engagement, too. I can’t really imagine my life without those outlets, and those relationships, now, and so I’m grateful.
- Given me an outlet: There’s no denying it; I’m happier now that my husband isn’t the only entity to whom I can vent about policies that are maddening, or rave about organizing campaigns that are inspiring. When I finish a book, I have something to DO, actually, with the sticky notes that I’ve littered it with. And that’s really therapeutic.
Thank you, those who read and, in so doing, both enrich my thinking and justify my pursuit. YOU are, without a doubt, the awesomest of the awesome things that this blog has brought to me.
Happy Happy Week, to you!