There comes a time in one’s life when one reflects. We reflect because we recognize the majority of days of our lives are behind us.
I am going to share with you one of the reflections I recently had. I wish I had more perseverance.
The other day I was meeting with one of my mentors. Currently, I am blessed with many mentor. Four of them I “meet” with weekly. They are very different: two retired pastors; a former high school student from 1987; a college band director. I enjoy listening to them and exchanging ideas.
One of the topics that has come up is my lack of perseverance.
I am going to give you the end of each job and trust me, there are fantastic stories to share prior to the end of each job. The purpose is to show you that I did not persevere from these events.
1994 – Return from a fantastic marching band / color guard trip representing California in the Portland Rose Festival Parade. We won BEST-OUT-OF-STATE for the parade! From the trip, we return to the high school at 2:30am. A father, with a gun in his truck (did not expect to use it; just saw it in his truck) yelling, “Where the F*** is Mr. Everts?” He was mad at me. I resigned the following week.
1997 – Teaching at a Christian school in Monterey, CA. A last minute request to give the benediction following the service. In front of everyone, I ended my prayer with, “In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.” The Reverend pulled me aside and said very nicely, “We don’t say ‘Jesus Christ.’ We say, ‘In His most Holy Name.” Well, if I can’t say, ‘Jesus Christ,’ I might as well return to the public education system.
2005 – Had a band mom harass me. Her abuse was so real, where one night following rehearsal, she stood at the band room door and handed out flyers. On the flyer, “Fire Mr. Everts. If interested, phone 555-1212.” With the opportunity to show support from the majority of parents, I didn’t feel there was pushback for her abuse. After eight years at that school, I resigned.
2008 – There were students who let other students know they wanted me to be fired and/or quit. Those students started to spread lies. Not one of those students or their parents requested a parent conference. The weekend of May 17th, 2008, our house was vandalized and my car’s back window was shot out. After three years at that school, I resigned.
2016 – I had a parent send me several hateful emails. His emails were so hateful to the point where the union had a “cease and desist” letter written to him. Following one of the most successful seasons that marching band / color guard had, I had a mother who screamed at me, my family, students and made threats. At the end of nine years that included band / color guard trips to Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall, marched in St. Patrick’s Parade in Bray, Ireland, I resigned.
2021 – April, administration told me to “keep Jesus Christ in the parking lot.” October 6th, I was told I could not say, ‘I love you’ to my students, nor could I use social media because what I share triggers the high school’s students. Needless-to-say, the ‘don’t use social media’ was changed to some equivalent legal-mumbo-jumbo. December 20, 2021, was my final day teaching public school in California. With three years left before I could receive my full pension, I retired. Talk about trusting JESUS CHRIST.
So, do you see the word “perseverance” lacking in my career? I do.
Every job I left, I could have stayed, persevered, and enjoyed success. Not braggadocios about succeeding. Jesus Christ is very kind to me. He would have taught me how to succeed. Each principal (except the final job) wanted me to stay and offered more support.
Therefore, I APOLOGIZE to my family and to all those who supported me for not persevering through the mean / hurtful actions of a few students and their parents.
I have confidence that my fellow high school music teachers have had negative experiences at their jobs and yet, they persevered through those negative experiences. I applaud them for their level of perseverance.
I love John C. Maxwell. I read his article about Perseverance
After reading the Maxwell article, I will still apologize for lacking perseverance. I don’t feel as guilty for my lack of perseverance. Here are some quotes from the article that help me ease my guilt and may help you:
Perseverance is not an issue of talent. It is not an issue of time. It is about finishing. Talent provides hope for accomplishment, but perseverance guarantees it. – My response: My students and I did finish what we started. Every program grew. Every program achieved a level of success.
Perseverance means succeeding because you are determined to, not destined to. My response: With each new school, I was determined to succeed! I wasn’t about to leave a program worse than I found it. I wanted my students to enjoy what the students at my previous school enjoyed.
Perseverance means stopping, not because you’re tired, but because the task is done. Perseverance doesn’t come into play until a person is tired. My response: This quote does show my lack of perseverance. By the time I was ready to leave, I was tired. I admit it. I was tired of continually being challenged by people who enjoyed challenging others. They got their joy by making others miserable. Shooting out my car window gave that miserable person joy. Yelling at my wife, daughter, me, my student gave that mother joy. I was tired of those miserable people.
Again, congratulations to my colleagues who are able to persevere though all the challenges they face. Keep it up. The grass is NOT greener on the other sad of the fence. Continue to love and enjoy your job. The “bad” is not going to be forever!
And one more time, I apologize to my wife, my family, and to those who were so supportive and kind to me for my lack of perseverance. There are one or two schools I should have stayed at (smile). I hope you will forgive me!