Well, I made it a point to promise myself I would write more often. I pay for this “handsome” website. Why not use it more? I also want to be more of a clarion for – men and their roles (husband / father / son / nephew / uncle / grandson / friend / professional … please add to the list). I can only comfortably write about subjects that I have lived. I don’t mind sharing ideas about subjects I have indirectly experienced. But, my best writing / most helpful writing will be about my experiences.
Since July 3, 1989, I have been a high school music teacher in California. What a blessing it is to make music with high school students. Seriously. To go to a job where I can make music come alive? Come on! That is a pretty darn cool career.
Yet, being a high school band director, there are so many out-of-the-school-day activities. Out-of-the-school-day activities that are part of the band class are called, “co-curricular.” So, there are high school band directors who have extra-rehearsals and performances.
For example, my current fall semester was: MONDAY NIGHTS 6PM-9PM; SATURDAYS 10AM-4PM and then, the five Saturday competitions. On a competition Saturday, we will get to the school at 8:30am; have rehearsal; get on a bus; compete at 3pm; awards ceremony at 10:30pm and get home by midnight. We will do that for five Saturdays. Now, prior to being at my current job, I would have had an additional Thursday night rehearsal from 6pm-9pm. On top of that, there were the five football games. For the football games, I get to the school at 5pm to open-up the band room. Game. And then, get home by 10:30pm.
From the peanut gallery, “Well..” GRUMBLE. GRUMBLE. GRUMBLE. “…teachers have summers. A band director can spend time with his / her family. ” Hmmmm… many band directors will have summer rehearsals. You know? BAND CAMP? ? Only high school band directors (and their spouse / family) know the amount of work.
There is a lot of extra time.
When I started at Granite Bay High School (1997-2005), our son was three-years old and our daughter was one-year old. I was at the SUPER AGE OF Thirty-One! (LOVED THAT AGE) We were kicking butt. Our first year at Granite Bay High School, we had thirty-nine students in the band. The following year SEVENTY-ONE. And our third year at Granite Bay High School – 105 students! INCREDIBLE GROWTH! I was the “shizznit.” People were so impressed with the younger “Paul Everts.”
Not only was Granite Bay High School growing, but so was “the” reputation. “Paul Everts? You got to check him out.” Thanks to a lot of people, Granite Bay High School band program was turning into another “model” for a band program. The Granite Bay High School band’s success led to me being on the California Band Directors Association Board; a vice-president for the Northern California Band Association; an adjudicator for the Northern California Band Association; conducting middle school honor bands. MAN! Again, I WAS THE “SHIZZNIT.” Until I added, “Paul, you need to get your masters in conducting.”
So, in the early 2000’s I began the Masters Program in Wind Conducting at California State University – Sacramento. Oh, my goodness! That was a hoot. I loved being in front of those really talented musicians. I worked alongside their marching band director, Jeff Edom (who is one of my very best friends). I also worked alongside our “Best Man” / my band director at the University of the Pacific, who was the band director at California State University – Sacramento — Dr. Robert Halseth. Dr. Halseth is an amazing band director. GREAT MENTOR. HIGHLY RESPECTED! Being at CSU-SACRAMENTO was HEAVEN. LOVED IT. I learned so much that I still use today!
Then, there would be more than one night, when I would come home from work and our son and daughter were already asleep. I looked at our son and daughter and thought … I am missing time with them. Time that I didn’t have with my own father. When you read my book, CONDUCTING MY LIFE, you will have more details about my father. But, my father not being there for me … I was committed to break that chain. Like many men, I wanted to be the father my dad was not.
While at Granite Bay High School, I made some very tough decisions. I removed myself from the Northern California Band Association board. I removed myself from the California Band Directors Association board. And… the toughest decision of all – I stopped my masters program. Yes. I quit. One semester short of completion. That one hurt. Lots of tears. Regrets? YES! Any person who has “lived” (honestly) will admit they have regrets. Those with no regrets, probably didn’t make tough decisions or made decisions that they didn’t realize negatively impacted others’ lives.
I just didn’t want to miss what I missed.
Now, there are men who can do all that I was doing and be COMPLETE / COMPETENT fathers. Yet, my guess? Most of those who can do all of that are wired differently than me. I look at fellow band directors doing all that and I would love to do some research. See how they can have all that time away from home – guilt free? Or if not guilt free, how do they handle their guil? How do they validate so much time away from being at home. I would then love to share all that information with future band directors who are fathers … even mothers. BUT, AGAIN, I WRITE BETTER BASED ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES.
Now, that I see what our son has become: happily married to a super lady (May 20, 2017) & an Ensign in the United States Navy & college graduate. I see what our daughter has become: a very confident student in her Junior year at the University of Idaho … everything I gave up has allowed them to go up!
My purpose in sharing this with you is to give you a man’s reality. IT IS NOT TO MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY. Please … why feel guilty? You are making the choices, including feeling guilty. Please … ALWAYS … intentionally use the limited time you have at home or with your son / daughter to train your son / daughter. When you are home, be intentional in fulfilling your roles as husband and father. Your children are watching you with your wife. Your children are experiencing your skill in being their father. Are you the father you would want to have? GREAT / PROFOUND QUESTION…. I will ask it again: ARE YOU THE FATHER YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE?
So, if you are a man who is career-driven (be on the board of directors / spend the extra time after work / get your graduate degrees / go to conferences / conventions / on and on and on…), don’t drive away from your family or see your family drive away from you. You need to be as HUSBAND/FATHER-DRIVEN, as you are, career-driven. When you are in the bed taking your last breath, you want your wife and children holding your hands. Those cool degrees, former students, plaques of appreciation will never be as warm as your family’s hands. Even with my son, who will be on deployments for months at time, I will tell him, “Buddy! When you are home, you need to treat your wife and children better than your sailors and THAT WILL BE TOUGH!” There is something in a human’s wiring where we would never treat our employees like we treat our family. It’s that “non-conditional-love.”
Please take the time to read the article about Joe Gibbs and see what he decided to do. I will be fifty-two on January 6, 2018. Living in an “empty nest,” it is time to think what to do with “that time.” Well, one thing to do with “that time” (before the grandchildren come – giggle) is to help fellow men know – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND (Stephen Covey). In that bed, as I mentioned earlier, you want your spouse and children holding your hand and saying, “I love you.” They can only say, “I love you” if you show LOVE. YOU SHOW LOVE. LOVE is a verb. TO SHOW LOVE, you need to be there. BE THERE. BE THE HUSBAND. BE THE FATHER. Be the man. It’s tough… and it is going to get tougher. Just look at how men are portrayed on TV / MOVIES. What stories are you reading about men? As of January 2, 2018 – a man in the United States of America is having a difficult time knowing what their role should be. We are in this together.