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A Reflection for the New Year
Posted on January 4, 2017, by GAPMP
In 2016, parent mentors did incredible work to engage families in the educational process for their children. It is exciting to see the tremendous growth within the partnership. Our level of expertise in training and coaching of families has increased as we continue providing resources and support. I am eager to see where 2017 takes us.
2016 was a hard year for our parent mentor family. Parent mentors faced many challenges: weather emergencies, personal health issues, spouses with health crises and children who underwent surgery, extended hospital stays and medical homebound school services. A year of worry, and yet we collectively showed up to offer support through kind words, notes and prayers. That is what we do best. Parent mentors are resilient, and caring and talented and strong.
Resilient and Caring and Talented and Strong
Those words remind me also of our dear friend and mentor, Dottie Adams who we lost in the last week of 2016. At the 2015 Ga Parent Mentor Kickoff, we honored Dottie with our “Visionary Award.” Dottie had tremendous impact on many of us individually and certainly on the GaPMP. Dottie worked to help create the Parent Leadership Coalition. She understood that collective influence has potential to change outcomes. Dottie’s work was person centered. She saw people’s gifts and helped them recognize those gifts in themselves. Dottie understood the incredible importance of strong families and of family support. There are so many words to describe this woman- quiet with a strong voice, gentle with incredible force, a humble leader. As I think about Dottie’s legacy another term comes to mind- Social artist.
The work we do to develop stakeholder engagement, Leading by Convening, is rooted in the theories of Etienne Wegner. Wegner is an educational theorist and practitioner. He teaches us that bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders takes “a special kind of leadership-a mixture of insight, networking, inspiration and humility.” He continues to say some people have “an amazing capability to translate the challenges of complex problems into social spaces in which individuals can contribute their wisdom.” (gifts!) He refers to these people as “social artists” and says about them “I have learned to appreciate the convening leadership they show in creating conditions for people to come together in productive communities. Other artists give us pieces of music, spectacle, paintings, poetry and films. Social artists give us communities.”
In 2017 Let’s:
- Continue to develop our expertise, talent and gifts;
- Provide support to others and accept support from each other;
- Mix insight, networking, inspiration and humility to become, like Dottie Adams, “social artists” and
- Strive, (following Dottie’s example,) to see the gifts in others and realize the potential within ourselves.
Happy New Year!