A bouquet of sharpened pencils

‘Twas the last night of summer…

While classes don’t start for another two weeks, tomorrow is the day all faculty at Chattanooga State Community College report back to work. That makes tonight the last night of my second summer… and tomorrow the first day of my third year at Chatt State. WOOO!

The dawn of a new school year makes me thing about all sorts of things, many of them having to do with one of my life’s greatest pleasures ……. buying ALL the school supplies!

To wit:

Or how about this quote from You’ve Got Mail, possibly my second-favorite movie of all time (after Amélie, naturally):

If I knew where you lived, I would send you a bouquet of sharpened pencils.

Or, if you want to really make me feel old, remind me (as I reminded myself a few days ago) that 20 years ago this semester, I was entering my final semester as an undergrad at GW. I seriously do not understand how that’s remotely possible. I need someone to check my arithmetic.


But what I’m really thinking about tonight, on the eve of starting the 2018-2019 academic year?

I’m thinking about all the great things my talented, passionate, amazing colleagues are going to do this year, about how truly #blessed (non-ironically) I am to get to work on a campus with people who genuinely care about improving students’ lives. I know I say this a lot, but I really do adore my college, my colleagues, and my students, to say nothing of the work I get to do on the regular.

Most of this blog is dedicated to my coaching, my yoga, and my thoughts on being as happy with yourself and your life as you can be. I don’t write as often about politics (especially) or about my teaching. Perhaps that will change as I’m more regularly in the classroom next month. (It probably will, actually.)

I’ve got SO MANY IDEAS for the year ahead, for the projects and collaborations and programs I want to invest time with; for the student relationships I want to help cultivate; for the impact I want to make. My hope — and I have some small bits of evidence to suggest this may not be a foolish hope — is that by sharing those ideas, progress, and successes (and failures), I might also inspire you to find ways to invest your time, cultivate relationships, and make an impact in your own community.

I’m reminded of something I heard from someone in the last year or two (and my apologies for having forgotten who, as I’d love to give the deserved credit):

Imagine if you did just one thing, every day, that made the world even a speck brighter or easier for another person.

Imagine what that would add up to in a week. A month. A year.

Imagine if one other person you know did that.

Imagine if all the people you know did that.


Small acts of decency ripple in ways we could never imagine.

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