This post will go up roughly one hour after the completion of the 7th annual WECC Field Day (here is the newspaper write-up from 2013’s edition). At this event, ETBU students put on a series of physical activities for roughly 280 students from the Washington Early Childhood Center here in Marshall. Despite the fact that WECC’s students are 3 and 4 years-old, things actually run pretty smoothly, and since we don’t have Toby come take pictures with the kids anymore, we don’t have those 4 or 5 kids per year that participate in abject terror. We want it to be fun, after all.
When people ask me how it started, I tell them that it “originated” as a major project grade for KINE 4301 Organization and Administration. Since then, due to my teaching different courses in the department, the activity then passed on to KINE 2303 Lifespan Motor Development and now to KINE 2309 Teaching K-5 Physical Education. However, that isn’t exactly how it got started.
The following paragraph is an excerpt from my written comps for my PhD from the University of Arkansas. It was written only a couple of weeks after my being hired for my current position at ETBU, although I had not yet completed my dissertation. (Side note: before reading this response, my academic advisor there was not happy with my decision.)
“5. What specific areas are you interested in researching? Why?
I am interested in studying/implementing lifelong activities and community activity programs. As young children, we have plenty of opportunities to take part in sports: soccer, baseball, basketball. As we get older, those opportunities fade. As adults, there are little or no opportunities for social interactions in physical activity unless we join an expensive club or league, and most team sports become impractical as we get older and our bodies break down. Not all people can afford to do activities that they want to do, and not all people that can afford to want to participate. Through ETBU, I want to eventually do things like community play days and free health seminars to encourage people to keep exercising. I want to eventually help the local school develop a curriculum in the high school P.E. programs that emphasizes lifetime activities like aerobics, jogging, and weight training rather than kickball and wiffleball. Through the city of Marshall, I want to possibly develop public walking trails and cleaner parks to encourage physical activity. It is far too easy now to get home from work, be mentally drained, and blow the rest of the day watching TV or surfing the Internet. People want to be entertained, and unless we as Kinesiologists make an effort to extend enjoyable activity beyond K-12 and college-age, what have we really done but delayed the inevitable activity drop-off? Why not eliminate that drop-off? That is what interests me.”
Today’s post is about goals.
Even before those goals were written down in 2007, they had been written on my heart. Everyone is driven differently. There have been several times in which people have asked me “where do you see yourself in 5 (or 10) years?”, and I can’t answer the question to their satisfaction. As an adult, I have never had any goals beyond being a good husband, being a good father, and doing what I am called to do. That last part is what confuses people, because it is hard to quantify “doing what I am called to do.” However, I believe through our life experiences and through a “still quiet voice” God speaks to us about what it is we should be doing and should be pursuing. Any personal planning beyond that seems futile. That is not to say that a person shouldn’t plan at all; it’s just that “the Plan” shouldn’t be the end-all be-all. After all, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Now, because I think that way doesn’t mean that others are right or wrong about their own approach. God creates us in different ways for different reasons. If a person says “I want to be a Head Coach/President/CEO in x years” and he or she doggedly pursues that goal because that is what God placed in the heart, then go for it! Conversely, just because I do not desire to be a Head Coach/President/CEO today doesn’t mean I am incapable of doing so or that God won’t put that calling in heart later or that I won’t be needed to serve in such a capacity unexpectedly. For example, I began a 3-year stint as the Kinesiology Department Chair when I had just turned 28 because I was unexpectedly needed, and just last year I fulfilled a “dream” of serving as a head coach at the college level.
Of course, it was in tennis and not basketball, but it still counts!
(This is video hilarious and feels like 100 years ago.)
I keep that excerpt from my comps next to my office desk to keep focused on those professional goals that God has placed on my heart when I started this position at ETBU.
I have met some of those goals, but in my estimation, I have not met near enough. The WECC Field Day is part of reaching those goals. In Marshall, Texas, there are now 10-year-olds that took part in Year One of the Field Day that hopefully have positive memories of having participated in physical activities at ETBU in a fun environment. In the Spring, for only the second time, one of my classes will be putting on a workshop for local Physical Education teachers. Part of that is exposing local Physical Education teachers to “a curriculum…that emphasizes lifetime activities”.
What does all of this have to do with “when faith and academic disciplines collide”?
In two weeks, early academic advising for the Spring semester begins.
During these meetings, I always ask the students “What do you want to do with your life?”, and they answer. Then, I look at them much more sternly, and I ask “What are you supposed to do with your life?… Why did God put you on the planet?” When advising my students, both academically and in life, if I can exhibit the important of those “supposed to” goals over the “want to” goals (ideally they would be the same), I feel that I have done my job as academic advisor, which by the way, is part God’s purpose for me at ETBU.