Years ago I was part of a discussion that caused me to really take stock of how I “live my profession.” It has stuck with me, especially when I get to the occasional point of “Does my work really mean anything?”
In that conversation we went back-and-forth, regarding the integrity of our words and deeds.
And why should we hold deep-seated (or any kind of) convictions if we don’t always have the courage, or attentiveness, to do everything it takes to follow through to their fruition?
When I worked at Arkansas Children’s Hospital years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Bettye Caldwell, a PhD who was always ahead of her professional time. I shot and produced an interview vignette that was to be shown at an awards banquet.
Beginning in the 60’s, Dr. Caldwell noticed that a lot of working moms were in desperate need of a safe, educational environment for their young children during the workdays.
It seems so common-sense now. But this was an incredibly radical premise at a time when women were best kept in the home watching their children.
The plight of the working mom, the poor single working mom, was typically brushed aside. And their children did not have a whole lot of options regarding quality child care and early childhood development.
Dr. Caldwell championed their cause, at a time when her “scandalous” notions caused quite a stir in the general public, as well as in her own professional circles.
(She relayed an incident about a male colleague publicly “denouncing” her at an event where she was speaking.)
But through her unwavering dedication, courageous integrity, and relentless efforts, we now have standards for quality child care. We have Head Start and other preschool programs for all of our children.
There’s still room for improvement when it comes to caring for, and teaching, our young children. But Dr. Caldwell got the ball rolling, at a time when it was originally butted up against a wall.
So. What if we all approached our careers in this tenacious manner?
What kind of world would this be?