On the Road, Again

April 29, 2006

The truth is, I lead a pretty sedentary life. I don’t travel much, I enjoy being at home, and I enjoy the opportunity to focus on my community, which is mostly the university. Trips are not an interference as much as they are an opportunity. Herein lies what seems to be an overarching theme – a chance to grow. This past week I’ve spent time in Utah and California, visiting with family and a university in that order. In the former I had the opportunity to spend time with two of our extended families and their children.

As I visited this morning with a former parks and recreation director he said, when it is all said and done, what is most important is family. That was refreshing to hear. I don’t hear it nearly often enough. We get so caught up in our day to day activities, in our goal to be or do better. It is families that we find an eternal perspective. I don’t know my great grandfathers or their great grandfathers, except as names on a genealogy sheet. However, I did know my grandfather and somehow I sense that he knew his grandfather and that through his life he honored both his father and grandfather. Okay, I know that is a broad and probably highly erroneous assumption, but some of us like to live in the world of assumptions – for good or bad.

Nonetheless, I do believe that the time I spend with my family strengthens their knowledge of me, strengthens me as I see their personal growth and development – physical, emotional, and spiritual. I revel in that personal growth – just as I revel in the personal growth of my spouse. I have come to the conclusion after my time in Utah that my wife’s frequent trips to visit children are all important.
I'm So Cool

Coming back to my theme – I do learn from my children and grandchildren. I’m also reinvigorated by their personal growth, by the knowledge they share with me (directly and indirectly). As I watch my children interact with one another and with their spouses I see reflections of their mother, and of their father, but I like to think the really positive things in their life come from their mother.

Learning, then is not always something new. Sometimes it is a feeling or a focus or a sense of time or place. Learning sometimes comes as a reinforcement to existing knowledge, other times as a side trip that turns into excitement, or yet other times as a rude awakening. Yesterday as I sat reading a report describing low enrollment in an academic program it was couched as “being at the end of a product life cycle.” I have always pursued enrollment declines as a cyclical issue rather than a marketing issue. This was startling to me and has caused me to begin rethinking who we are. If the park and recreation academic marketplace is at the end of a product lifecycle, then sport management is very much at the front end of its product lifecycle. The challenge becomes how do we reposition ourselves to reinvigorate the lifecycle? That’s a discussion for another time.


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