It’s almost Christmas, and I’m so excited! This is a happy time of the year for me and for many others, but it is also one that signifies a lot of change. Change can be defined as moving to a different state of being than the one that we are currently in.
Celebrations are important because they give people a reprieve from the stresses and mundanities of life. A celebration can take the form of a party, a trip away, a special meal, engaging in a fun event or anything else that is enjoyable and helps people to take a step back and enjoy the moment.
Since it’s now October, and Halloween is just around the corner, I decided to focus this month’s blog on things that are scary; perhaps not scary in the Halloween-ish “ghosts and goblins” sense, but more like “every day” fears and phobias.
The first day of the Fall Semester is one of my most favorite days of the year. To me, it represents a fresh start. I love welcoming new students into my classes and can feel the excitement and energy in the air as I walk around campus. This year, however, is quite different for me. I am on sabbatical this fall. The first day of the semester came and went for me with little difference than any other day and certainly with less fanfare than usual for the start of the Fall Term.
Inspiration can come from many different things. As I think about the things that I’ve done throughout my career, I find that my inspirations come from a variety of sources. Often, my inspirations are related to experiences I’ve had with my family, though other areas of inspiration can also occur and sometimes can be quite unexpected. I want to share with you a few of my experiences about what inspires me.
At first glance, it might seem strange that a professor who studies how people work and who teaches about workplace behavior would write a blog on prayer. But that is exactly what I am doing this month because I believe that prayer is very much related to my research and teaching. Work is important because it is one aspect of life that can help to provide meaning for people and, when focused on and coordinated toward improving the common good, work can help to create a better world. Moreover, as stated by Lauren McTaggart in “The Benedictine Handbook” (2003), work and prayer are closely related. From an earlier blog that I wrote, this is certainly my belief.
Obviously, professors are often going to say that their classes are important (and they usually are, of course!). But, I just started teaching a course this summer session that I view to be my most important. It’s also my most difficult course to instruct.
There’s a song in “The Lion King” called “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” In the song, Simba, the main protagonist, shares his eagerness to take over the leadership of Pride Rock. But Simba is not quite ready to lead yet. He must first grow and learn more. I believe that Saint Vincent teaches our students how to mature into effective and influential decision-makers.
In my very first blog that I wrote here six years ago, I talked about my views on using popular culture in the classroom. Now, many classes later, things have come full circle and I will launch the “Exploring Effective Leadership Practices Through Popular Culture” book series through Emerald Publishing this month. I am excited to serve as the series editor and also author of the first two books in this series (the first will be about leadership in the “Star Wars” franchise and the second in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories). My approach to using popular culture in writing is much the same as it is in the classroom. It follows this general model:
I’m now in my sixth year of writing this monthly blog and I can’t believe it’s been that long! Time surely has gone by quickly and part of the reason for this might be related to the old expression that “time flies when you are doing something you love.” I love teaching and I have been happy to have been doing it in some capacity for more than 15 years total and at Saint Vincent now for almost nine years. Teaching has truly made time seem to go by quickly.