Something a Little Personal

This week is Spring Break. Unseasonably warm days have pushed green into tree boughs, and Bradford pears have blossomed white.

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Asparagus shoots are sprouting in our raised beds, and fescue already needs a first mowing. It really seems like winter’s frosty fingers don’t plan a surprise return, but in Oklahoma, you can only hope and never be sure.
As we finished up school last week, my thirteen-year-old daughter told me one of her teachers said, “When breaks are coming, students are more excited and teachers are grumpier. If you bring your levels down, then I’ll bring mine up!” In other words, “You calm down, and I’ll be less grumpy.”
As funny and true as that is, over the break, I plan to “bring my stress down” by just hanging out with the family and relaxing. We’ll spend some time in nature, and we’ll try to read more. I’ll also be taking time to work on one of my next projects–a second book.
Occasionally, someone will ask me how I manage all the responsibilities of a full-time principal while also writing, speaking, and hosting a podcast. To put it simply, I am very busy. But at the same time, I schedule my week with specific goals in mind so that I can pull it off—sometimes with grace and other times with exhaustion.

Impostor Syndrome

One of the challenges of teaching others about leadership, life-balance, or management strategies is how often I fall short in those same areas. When I sit back and realize all the undone honey-do’s or how disconnected I feel from those closest to me, I begin asking myself what qualifies me to tell others how to lead.
The other day, for instance, I had come home late from school. During supper, one of my children made a choice that resulted in being sent to her room. Shortly afterwards another Parker child lost her phone privileges for not doing what she was told to do.
In both situations, I was angry and frustrated and spoke to them in ways I wouldn’t normally even talk to my students. Later I ended up apologizing to both of them—not for giving consequences, but for the way I spoke to them during both those situations.
The next morning, when I climbed in the car to head to school with my second daughter, she looked over and said, “Well, last night was a mess, wasn’t it?” We both laughed in agreement. I knew I was forgiven.
Then I remembered that my weekly podcast had been pre-scheduled for release that morning, and guess what the topic was? “Tips for Disciplining with Dignity.” Irony of ironies…
On the way to school, we listened to it on my iPhone, and I was so humbled by being reminded that the lessons I’m teaching others are still ones I’m still learning myself.


If you’re like me, you will often come face to face with your own weaknesses and shortcomings. These can either be overwhelming or they can drive you to your need for redemption, forgiveness, or a fresh start. Instead of running from those moments, I suggest you turn to deeper, more satisfying nourishments for your soul.
I find those deepest moments in faith—when I’m reminded that I am not in control of the universe, that I share the common tendencies of every other person, and that I am loved, forgiven, and accepted through God’s grace. It’s in those moments where I find the strength and perspective I need to love and serve others.

Now It’s Your Turn

If you’re on break this week or even if it’s a while before you have one (even if it’s for one-hour) take time to unplug from your busyness, reach out to reconnect with others, and redirect your focus away from your normal to-do’s to remember your deeper motivations.
When you do, may you will be reminded of what matters most, and you can be recharged to take life’s daily to-dos with renewed energy and purpose!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker