Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family ties

One of the quirkiest things about me and my work is that I have a collection of neckties. It is unusual to me, in my opinion, that I am viewed as an anomaly at work and at church because I prefer to suit up when I am doing my work either for my workplace or for my church community. It just comes naturally to me to dress for the part because it is such an important aspect of my work to show up with my "A game." The Florida Times-Union, my local newspaper, even ran a feature piece about my work as a male teacher in an overwhelmingly female environment. In the article, I recall a student commenting that I wore a 'tuxedo' to work! It is quite amusing because I believe that we as education professionals are essential to presenting a model for young people to adapt to the workplace in an appropriate manner. As a matter of fact, it is very strange for my students to see me show up in shorts when I attend yoga classes at our school or when I dress down for field trips. I have great respect for my community to keep up the hard work (or simple work when compared to the dressing up or down that my female peers face every day). At any rate, I would like to send sincere kudos and props to my spiritual mentors in Unity who have passed down the tradition of 'family ties.' As a former Baptist, I recall showing up at a very casual Sunday school class in a shirt and tie every week even though the dress code was not as strict, formally or informally. I also remember that my minister shared stories about how he received neckties as presents from Lowell Fillmore - the son of Charles Fillmore. As I look at my collection of over 100 neckties, I remember fondly how my minister used to tease me for my affection for my skinny, vintage neckties - especially the ones that I purchased for five dollars at the antique fans and stoves store in Five Points. Today, I try to do my part to be a proper role model for my students who one day will be the leaders in our world and, when I go home, that is when I can truly dress down knowing that I did my part to inspire our students to aim high.

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