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Raising the Hoop, Shining the Light, and Having some Fun

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

Today I want to share some photos of my granddaughter, Lucia, who will be 19 months old on March 2. I’m not doing this just to brag — although I’ll admit I’m very proud of her! I’m sharing these photos to help me explain what I have been thinking about of late regarding our work in Family Development.

The first photo shows Lucia “dunking” a basketball after her daddy raised the hoop 2 inches (her back is to us in the picture). Playing basketball became far too easy for her and to keep her interest, she needed a stretch goal. Don’t we all need to stretch ourselves beyond what is routine and comfortable!

One stretch goal we have set in FD is to reduce the number of meetings and make them more efficient. Hence, last Wednesday was the first FD meeting day we intend to hold on the fourth Wednesday of every month in the future. We launched last week’s meeting knowing that we likely did not have all the details finalized and that we would need to stretch ourselves to make it, and future meetings, happen. I’m confident that, over time, meeting days will become more routine and help us achieve our goal of consolidating meetings for greater efficiency.

Lucia’s basketball hoop also reminded me how important it is to stretch ourselves personally and professionally even when it is uncomfortable. Recently, curriculum design has become an important need in the center and I find myself dusting off and updating my skills in this arena. Given my administrative responsibilities, it is difficult to devote effort to this work. But when I do, I am richly rewarded by my love of writing and crafting learning activities. It reminds me that I am a teacher at heart. What is your passion and how can you “stretch” to bring it into your work for the benefit of our clients and partners?

The second photo shows Lucia shining her daddy’s flashlight at the ceiling. I love the magical expression on her face as she watches the light. When was the last time you learned something new or discovered an opportunity that left you with feelings of delight and joy? This picture of Lucia reminds me to look for the delight and create joy in my work. I want to say “Isn’t that cool!” more often.

The last photo reminds me not to take everything so seriously and have some fun.

Lucia recently posed with her mom and dad for a selfie to send out to families and friends on Valentine’s Day. As usual, Lucia is the biggest ham in the photograph. This reminds me that while we do important and serious work in FD, sometimes we need to inject fun. You might recall that I was the staid one in the photo used on the T-shirts we wore for FD on the Road. Lucia is teaching me to “ham” it up!

I also want to give you an update on what’s happening in Extension nationally. But I am going to hold off on that until May after I attend a series of meetings and conferences across the country. There will be lots to report. For now, I hope the pictures of my grand baby inspire you to stretch yourselves, find delight and create joy, and have some fun as you go about your work in FD.

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