Posted in Personal, Reflection

Who do you surround yourself with?

I have learned that I am happiest when I surround myself with people who allow me to question.  People who MAKE me want to become a better version of myself.  But most importantly, people who actually challenge me and PUSH me to reach my goals.

Recently I had a great conversation with @flourishingkids on Twitter.  Or was it in chat on Facebook?  It doesn’t matter where, but I thought my family would get a kick out of my on-line connections again (I can just see the eyerolls).  The conversation was pivotal.  I’ve never met Joan, face-to-face, however, through these conversations I have come to realize that she is “one of these people”.  I can sum up the entire conversation and connection we made with one tweet she shared:

One of my favourite stories that my dad told me, well into my adult years always made me smile.  He said  “Kelly-Ann, you drove me crazy!”  J Apparently when I was little, I drove him crazy with one question that I asked over and over and over:

“Daddy?  Wha’IS that lil thing?”

(and you have to raise your voice an entire octave when you say IS)

And he said it didn’t matter if I was pointing at the tiniest bug in the grass or the tallest building on a roadtrip.  The question was always the same:

“Daddy?  Wha’IS that lil thing?”

As an adult, I loved hearing that story.  And now when I reflect on why I loved hearing it so much, I realize why.  It validated my love of learning.  And as much as I apparently drove him crazy, whenever he told the story to me as an adult, I could tell he had a sense of great pride in his eyes that HE was the one who was able to teach me and answer all those crazy questions.

The art of questioning continued well into my education, where I recall staying after math class in highschool all the time to try to understand WHY.  I’m sure I drove Mr. Forget crazy as well, but my greatest teachers would always let me question.  In a recent educational course, my colleagues concluded that I was “Kelly, the one who doesn’t wait for the Q&A slide in anyone’s presentation”.

And it’s funny to share that one of my beloved siblings has even coined me a new nickname.  Analytic-Kel.  I’m ok with that.  I think he’s just jealous.  I’d like to think that my inquisitive nature is going to help me with my next learning experience.

As I was walking on one of my favourite beaches a couple of weeks ago, a place where I can reflect quite easily, it was a defining moment when I received this email.

And as incredibly scary as this adventure is to me at the moment, I’m so excited to continue with the learning and the questions.

When I was meeting with Finney Cherian, who will hopefully still agree to advise me even after all my questions during our meeting, I realized he is one of the most inspiring educators I’ve had the chance to meet and work with.  (I’ve hyperlinked his name to a couple of videos will demonstrate to you why I have connected with his passion for learning and questioning.)  In our meeting, Finney has agreed to help me through my learning.  When I shared with him that I was scared to even THINK about writing a thesis, and continued with all of the self-doubt sort of explanations and barriers I thought I had about writing a thesis, he said, “Kelly, you are NOT allowed to think of your thesis right now.  You are only allowed to have wonderments.”  I love that word.  Wonderments.  What a positive spin on being so analytical, for a girl who can’t seem to shut off her brain, and who questions all the time.  He made me feel more normal.

I will end with a quote from one of my favourite movies, “All About Steve.”  I don’t believe it did too well in the theatres, but for me, I connected with Mary Horowitz (Sandra Bulloch) – she had a bit of a crazy brain like me.  I can watch the movie over and over and learn something new each time.  At the end of the movie, Mary said,

“My brain is full of all kinds of information.  Some of it useful, some of it not.  I’ve recently discovered, hiding in the back of my mind, somewhere between astrophysics and a catalog of candy bars of the Seventies, a previously hidden bit of knowledge more important than everything else.  It is this… On the journey of life, just find someone as normal as you. If not one, then find a whole bunch!”

The thing is, some people love learning and I’m so thankful I’m one of them.  I’m also thankful that I have surrounded myself with so many wonderful people who will continue to push me and help me learn even more.

So… Who do you surround yourself with?


Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board Vice-Principal

6 thoughts on “Who do you surround yourself with?

  1. Your sister (me) and your neice (Anna) still quote the little Kelly when we often use the phrase “What IS (up an octave) that lil” thing?) It is truly an early, unforgettable “Analyti-Kel.” Anna is like you, Kel, in always needing to know “why?”
    I can hardly wait to surround myself with you next week! Just don’t ask me too many questions! 🙂

  2. Kelly,
    I am honored ( or should I say honoured?) that you mentioned our talk in your post. I enjoy our conversations and relate so much to the “always thinking and questioning”. You are going to be an amazing administrator for so many reasons, but one of them that you never cease to learn and relate to others. I am truly grateful for our connection here online and hope to someday soon meet in “real life.” You are a gem to all you reach and inspire. Thank you!

    1. Joan, thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate all of the connections I have made in my PLN. Such great people learning together! It doesn’t get much better than that! Thank you for adding such richness to my time online.

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