The conference center was filled with business leaders, school leaders, community leaders and the great Craig Lindvahl. Craig is an innovator with a personality that brings something to a room that cannot be put into words, read more about him here.
As the meeting began our facilitator made the grave mistake of describing us as, you guessed it, the G word. (Insert blood curdling, hair pulling screams here). At the same moment my Regional Superintendent, who was sitting with me, gasped (he has been trained well) and looked at me and said, "I will fix this."
He asked me for some tips on how to help her understand why she needed to change her terminology and a graphic photo that would sum it all up...
After she uttered those words about 10 more times we finally got a break (Disclaimer..she is really a fantastic lady). During the break a friend of mine who happens to be a high school superintendent came up to me and said, "did you cringe every time she said...the g word?!" I told him I did, but it was also being fixed as we speak. He laughed and I told him his wife, who is also school counselor, taught him well. Smiles all around.
When we returned from break our training continued on, then it happened. Craig got the floor again and announced to everyone in the room that he apologized if he ever used the g word since he just learned how offensive it was. He informed everyone that they should use the appropriate terminology, "school counselor."
I couldn't believe my ears! How amazing for a person like Craig to take a stand for us! How amazing for a Regional Superintendent to feel so strongly about our identity that he felt compelled to "fix it" for us!
Further, all of those people in that room have the ability to change so many others that we don't have access to, and they now know how we should be identified!
I couldn't have asked for a better gift for our profession on this Thursday of National School Counseling Week!
During lunch Craig came over to give me a hug and personally congratulate me on my IL HS counselor of the year award and further discuss how things have changed for school counselors over the years.
What started out as just a training day turned into an opportunity to advocate for our profession in a big way. Never underestimate your power to change the way people view our profession. If you stand steady in your beliefs and share the vision of who we are today, people will listen and become advocates for us in ways that we could never fathom, in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected times.