Many of you have big plans as you start your week. About 24 years ago, so did I. My plan at the time was to earn my Master’s Degree in English and more important, as a new teacher, earn the extra $3,000.00 a year that would come with it upon its completion. I was banking on that extra $15.00 day—$11.00 after taxes! My plans were derailed. The instructor of the course wanted me to take some “prewriting” courses despite my Bachelor’s Degree in English from FAMU—another case of marginalization I thought—even at barely 21 years of age I saw the historical roots of his “shade” and marginalization of my degree from an HBCU.
Two hours later I found myself sitting outside of the door waiting for his boss—the Head of the English Department. He would never come. A man in the person of Dr. Peter Cistone, Professor of Educational Leadership at Florida International University, peered from outside of the adjacent office as I anxiously but angrily waited for the Head of the English Department. I had rushed on a late Friday and during the height of rush hour traffic. The A/C in my Volkswagen Jetta wasn’t working and I had to travel across town on the near 30 mile trek from the North Miami to the Tamiami Campus to seek an override for a course to pursue my Master’s in English.
You see, that was my plan. It was for me. I was prepared to go and fight to get into the course. That was my plan. But I guess God was laughing.
Instead, God placed Dr. Cistone in my path and had him to ask me would I be interested in pursuing a degree in Educational Leadership. What I thought was a door shut quickly became a door opened! Faithfully, I ran through it.
After a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, a Doctoral Degree in Administration and Supervision, a decade plus of service as an Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership at the same FIU and FAU, an over two decade career in which I have held educational leadership positions from Assistant Principal to Superintendent of Schools, and having been blessed to personally and positively touch too many lives to remember I see my plan for those $3,000.00 meant nothing when compared to the plan that God had and continues to have for my life. And as for the “prewriting” courses, after a published dissertation, three published books, and numerous articles, I guess I did not need that course after all. Twenty-four years later, I once again enjoyed my annual dinner – this time at Bonefish Grille with Dr. Cistone, who after peering outside his office door would become my college advisor, professor, educational mentor, and life-long friend. There are many of you that have a plan for your life. Remember, the cackling chatter you hear in the background may not be your mind playing tricks on you. It may very well be God laughing. But know that His power over your life and situation “ain’t no joke.”