When Dreamboat and I were first married, we used to dream. A lot. We’d play “What would you do if you won the lottery?” We were broke and it was fun. And we learned about each other. And what inspires and motivates us. And, not surprisingly, we learned that if there were piles and piles and oodles of money lying around (those MEGA million lotteries were the most inspiring), we both wanted to support education. For other children. For other adults. For other countries. Because we both firmly believe that when you educate a child, you bring hope to not only that child, but their family, their village, and their entire country. As a former high school substitute and French teacher, I firmly believe this.
And, funny enough, my clients at Microsoft for the past several years, have been in education. Strange how that works. Isn’t it?
And, I’ve been inspired. (You will be too if you check out this video. Promise).
And I’ve been reminded of the need for more education. Anthony Salcito, their VP of worldwide education is working tirelessly to support his belief that education for every child should be a Right. NOT a privilege. (I couldn’t agree more). His daily highlights of education heroes will remind you too (and inspire you. And on occasion, bring you to tears).
And I’ve been convicted to do more.
OK. I have to insert here that the ‘conviction’ partially came through hours, months, years of misery at work. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely, dearly, truly love Microsoft, and the $500 million they’ve poured into education (reaching 8 million teachers and 190 million students). I’ve gotten my kicks working with Ministers of Education around the globe. I’ve loved rolling out lesson plans focused on protecting our environment to 149 countries. I’ve been privileged to participate in bleeding-edge discussions around child-directed learning. It’s also been rewarding to get to challenge the Microsoft employees to do their part in education. To make a difference too.
And I sat next to CEO Steve Ballmer once (I’m still a total nerd at heart).
And, I got to make a few new entries to the list of countries I visited…which I have kept over the years. I first started writing it in high school, when I was bored in classes. I’ve kept it up in all sorts of boring meetings since then. That and ranking the list of guys I’ve kissed…which of course, I don’t do anymore. (That also gets boring when Dreamboat clearly outranks anyone, and new entries stopped over fifteen years ago.)
Yes, I am that shallow. And obviously have no shame. Sorry Mom.
But, inside, I grew dissatisfied. And I lost some of my passion. I grew quieter. I started to settle with the small decisions. And then with the bigger decisions. And stopped voicing my opinion. And I felt like I was wimping out. I wasn’t living my best life. I had more to give. More to do. More to be.
Of course being an entrepreneur in a large, corporate setting, isn’t easy either.
But now, as part of our year of travel, we’re going to DO more. We’re going to volunteer with Mercy Ships, who work tirelessly to educate others about health, agriculture, and micro-enterprise. We’re going to volunteer at an orphanage in Peru, and help ensure those children get the love and education they need to flourish and live their best lives.
And… and here’s the funny/hard/interesting part. This year away also means we’re going to school our own children. HOMESCHOOL. That word used to send chills down my spine. I should never have said ‘never’. I know better. But here we are. Homeschooling three kids for a year. And I know that I’m putting into practice and living out what I believe in. That education can change lives. And will change the lives of my kids. That this year of adventure and helping others, and culture shock, and hardship, and surfing lessons, and fine wine (not for the kids), and opening our kids’ eyes to the world, will teach them more than they could learn any other way. That this year of adventure will be the best education I can give them. And that they will be changed because of it.
And, they will thank us…maybe not right away, maybe not for a few years…but they will, in time, think of this year as one of the greatest gifts we could give them. And, just like my time growing up on a ship made me who I am, this gift will shape who they become.
Ps – I’ve taken on one last client (of course it’s all about education) before we head out, to raise awareness for Microsoft’s Global Forum. It’s a joy and an honor to work to celebrate the world’s most innovative educators, who bring learning to life in the classroom and impact millions of students. And, hopefully (it’s commission-based) it will provide some income to help fund this year of education and adventure!