I titled this blog Perennial Student because I have always loved reading, studying, and learning. I was perhaps happiest as a full-time student, because I was doing something I did well, my goals were clear, and there was fairly prompt feedback in terms of grades and teacher comments (which in my case were generally quite positive). At one time I thought it would be wonderful to be a “perennial student,” if getting a job to earn a living were not a necessity.
In college and grad school, however, I came to tire of study for its own sake, at least if I did not have the opportunity to make practical use of what I was studying. I wanted to do something to make a difference for the world, or at least for a few people. Teaching seemed like the obvious route, where I could continue studying, pass on my learning and my love of learning to my students, and be a positive role model for them.
Unfortunately I quickly discovered that I knew how to learn better than I knew how to convey a love of learning. I could teach the material when students paid attention, but I had a great deal of trouble getting them (mostly 8th and 9th graders) to stop talking and pay attention. Having been a straight-A student all my life, that was my first experience of complete and utter failure.
Today I am moderately happily employed in the IT department of a large corporation, where my responsibility is in the area of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. I am married and have two sons, aged 8 and 15. All of us love to read, though the males in the family also have a fascination for Playstation2 games that I do not share. So in our free time, they gather around the PS2 downstairs and I read. Or blog.
But I also keep busy with work that does, I hope, make a difference in some lives. I am a small group leader in our church’s K/1 class, a committee member of my younger son’s Cub Scout pack, and of course a wife and mother which involves the usual shopping, cooking, washing, encouraging, finding lost items, helping with homework, trying to answer difficult questions, and generally trying to be a loving person and good role model.
I am a Christian, and since June 27, 1976, my studying, thinking, and just about every other aspect of my life has been shaped to some extent by my (unfortunately sometimes faltering) attempts to grow in faith and knowledge and obedience to God. My church background is fairly varied, but most of my adult life the primary traditions that have shaped me have been Baptist and Presbyterian. I am by nature fairly skeptical, so I would have trouble saying: This I am certain of. But as many times as I have examined and questioned the beliefs I have been taught, I have each time affirmed my commitment to the basic principles of the Christian faith.
Every few years I try to write an updated personal statement of faith – not because what I believe has changed, but because I want to be certain I can express it in terms that flow out of who I am today, not a static document from some prior period in my life. Besides, I like writing, and I enjoy the challenge of writing it. See Credo for the current work-in-process.