5 Reasons Why Parenthood is the Best Form of Professional Development

If you’re a working professional I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “professional development”. If you’re not a working professional– stop reading my blog and get a job you bum. No just kidding! You’re not a bum! Keep reading! Please, I need your readership!

If you’re still with me–professional development (or PD) consists of seminars and workshops sponsored by your employer, often sweetened with coffee and donuts, that are meant to essentially make you a better employee.

In my 13 years as an educator I’ve endured many PD workshops. Some have been highly effective. Others not so much. As teachers it’s incredibly important we stay abreast on current pedagogical strategies to keep our classroom instruction effective and relevant. Additionally, we teachers are often subjected to PD that instruct us how to better deal with people—how to relate, how to be more empathetic, how to be more positive.

Now for me the most effective, challenging and rewarding PD I’ve been a part of is this never-ending workshop I naively signed-up for 8 years ago known as Parenthood. Parenthood is PD on crack. Parenthood is being dropped ass-first in your underwear on a battlefield. Parenthood is Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon.

Parenthood is brutal, unnerving, at times a hilarious experience. And if you’re paying attention (and lucky to survive) Parenthood can teach you how to be a better human.

And though Parenthood does not offer little printed certificates at the completion of the workshop, Parenthood has been my greatest form of PD. (The only downside to this Parenthood PD is that you have to supply the coffee and donuts.)

This week my daughter Haley turns 8. And she alone has been one of the greatest PD workshops in my life. Two reasons…

  1. She’s the oldest child which naturally makes her the test child (aka the guinea pig).
  2. She’s a girl and I know very little about girls.

So in honor of Haley’s birthday I present… 5 Things My 8 year Old Daughter Has Taught Me…

1. Dance like nobody’s watching

As adults we are often paralyzed by judgment.  We often act, fail to actFullSizeRender(1) (or fail to dance) for fear of what people may think or say. Adults spend their whole life fighting this fear. Haley has not learn about judgment yet. And she’s clearly better off for it.

2. Love learning

As children we craved knowledge.  We were excited to learn new stuff. As adults, learning  is often treated like a hassle , a chore– something your mother nagged you to do.  I’ve been adulting long enough to admit that I don’t know everything, that there is always more to know and an afternoon in a library would probably do us all some good.

3. Never, ever compromise your voice for anyone

Haley has two brothers. When things don’t go her way she lets the world know. She’s unafraid to tell us how she feels. She’s honest. If only we were all as honest as an 8 year old.

4. Be curious

Sometimes adults need to be reminded that curiosity takes little effort.FullSizeRender(1)

5. That it’s my job, as her father, to personify the good and decent things in this world.

This is hard to admit —but I know my child, my little girl is in for a world of hurt. And there is nothing I can do about it.  But as the Parenthood PD PowerPoint suggests it is my job to help my daughter- to help all my children- shoulder the pain of living by showing them all the good stuff that this life has to offer.

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