Last thoughts on my Journey through Walden University:
I’m gonna throw in a little Hawai’ian here in my last Walden blog post. “Pau.” That means, “done.” Whew! As long as I didn’t drive my Capstone assignment too far off the trail – I’m “pau.” But there’s another word in Hawai’ian – “Aloha.” Aloha means both hello and goodbye. So, while we say goodbye as classmates, perhaps we will also say hello – as colleagues, as associates, as leaders, as advocates, as dare I say, agitators for a better world for children and families.
Wow. Two years, non-stop… Trying to keep my issues in check, harness my attitude and meet my expectations for myself… Meeting new colleagues, here and oversees… facing technology and grudgingly embracing it… I didn’t want to be here… didn’t want to do the Master’s Degree thing… I didn’t want to be colonized. And I certainly didn’t expect to feel this sentimental right now (for me, this is way sentimental).
I resisted much. I won’t say that I learned a lot of stuff. It wasn’t about learning stuff for me. I know plenty of stuff. It was about participating in a learning community. It was about sharing and listening. I need to remark about vocabulary. It’s the word “deeply”. As I prepare to address my “deeply felt learnings” – I must say – the words “deeply” and “felt” do not ever stand beside one another in my vocabulary. My intrapersonal skills don’t permit it. I would chuckle whenever I would see the words here at Walden – and I saw them quite a bit. My wife uses those words a lot. She’s in tune with her self. I don’t know that any of the fellas I know uses those words much either – unless it’s to describe the pain “deeply felt” in a sprained joint, a broken bone, or some other never-positive association with pain.
But here goes – my deeply felt learnings:
1. My irascible temperament has a place – even in higher learning. My iconoclast tendencies can provoke thought. Really, that’s what I learned. My professors and classmates were supportive and professional and encouraging – even when I was afraid I’d gone off completely sideways. Thank you, all of you, for that. Sometimes people that I have a great deal of respect for will take me aside and say, Greg, people will hear what you’re trying to say a lot better if you just tone down the attitude. I tell them, I’m not talking so that people will listen to me. I’m talking so that they will listen to you.
2. The United States is behind the curve in implementing initiatives to recruit, retain, develop and support men in the field of early care and education. I learned that the European Union, in particular, has tackled gender equity for both women and men. This is a source of tremendous irritation to me – just what I need to kick start the next part of my anti-bias education journey.
3. Even in progressive institutions and professional associations – the matter of gender equity for men in early care and education remains beneath the radar. Can we please do something about that at Walden? I really feel very deeply that the Walden early childhood studies diversity curriculum will benefit by devoting a week or two to men in ECE.
What can I do about that?
1. Just today, after the panel presentation for ECE students at Santa Monica College at which I was a panelist, one of the professors pulled me aside. We had a brief conversation about doing something about the lack of men in early care and education. She said (paraphrasing), “We always end up telling ourselves that we know men are important, but that there isn’t anything we can do about it. I want to do something about it.” We discussed exploring the establishment of a cohort group or course for and about men. One of my long term goals will be to see that to fruition.
2. My second long term goal is to see the percentage of men in early care and education double by 2030.
* * * *
Two quotes to take wit’ ya to remember me:
“Our solution – mind revolution.
Mind over matter – mouth in motion.
Corners don’t sell it – no you can’t buy it.
Can’t defy it ‘cause I’ll never be quiet.
Let’s start this right.”
Public Enemy. 1987. Rightstarter (Message to a Black Man). Def Jam Music, Inc.
A terror is more certain than all the rare desirable popular songs I know, than even now when all my myths have become…, & walk around in black shiny galoshes & carry dirty laundry to and fro, & read great books & don’t know criminals intimately, & publish fat books of the month… & never realize how bad my writing is because I am poor & symbolize myself.”
Bob Kaufman. 1996. excerpted from a terror is more certain. Cranial guitar, selected poems of Bob Kaufman. Coffee House Press. Minneapolis.
There it is.