A Discombobulated Thursday

ImageAbout halfway through my 40ish minute drive to work today, I realized I forgot my cell phone at home. No sense turning around, I thought. I’ll just go one day without it.

One word: discombobulated.

I’m like many of you…I’ve become so accustomed to being able to check my email, tweet information, look at my calendar–even just look at the time—any time and any place. Today I felt like you feel when you oversleep. Never quite right about anything. Out of place. Disconnected.

Sometimes I wonder what it was like to be a superintendent in the 1980s. Before standardized tests and curriculum. Before email and voicemail. Before Twitter and Facebook. If a parent wanted to see the superintendent, they called a secretary or mailed a letter and made an appointment. Accessing school leaders—any leaders, for that matter—was so difficult, so regulated. I’m sure it was much more peaceful for those “at the top.” But what did that do for the people they served?

The truth is it’s so much better now.

Technology has made it so that if somebody sends me an email, a tweet, or a voicemail between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., there’s about a 90% chance that I will see it and respond within ten minutes. Within the last year I’ve called parents on Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday, and all hours of the night and day—including weekends—to respond to their questions and concerns.

It drives my wife crazy. She hates that I always have my phone on me, though I try to put it down during dinner and I never carry it into church. But she’s getting used to it because she understands my philosophy that leadership is all about service.

And it’s impossible to serve if you can’t be reached.

And frankly, for every phone call or email I respond to over the weekend, that’s one less I have to worry about on Monday morning (when I’m usually grouchy about a Browns’ loss!).

Tonight I am tying a string around my finger, because tomorrow I am going to remember my cell phone!


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