I’ve resisted participating in this initiative in the past for a number of reasons.  I always thought that I couldn’t just boil things down to one word.  I’ve also seen people jump in just to make sure that they are on the latest fad or bandwagon and wasn’t sure that I wanted to be part of it.

However, this post from Julie Balen has got me thinking about things.  I brought it forward this week in the voicEd Radio show with Stephen Hurley and it was featured in this week’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs post.  On the show, Stephen pushed me to come up with one word and I responded with a concern that I’ve had personally for a long time – BALANCE.  So, I’m all-in on it for this moment in time.  But I do have questions.

I guess I’m not alone since it was the biggest word in the word cloud that Julie had created and posted to her blog.


I’ve read so much about the importance of “balance” in a person’s life and I agree with every notion that it’s something that needs to be strived (striven?) for.

So often, comments about balance start with work life.  My approach has always been to start with family first.  It’s a lesson I learned by watching my parents prioritize things.  Family and together time was always first but balanced with work commitments.  Family was so easy until the reality of post secondary schooling and then having a job and the need to earn a paycheque kicked in.  It’s important to remember that there are only so many hours in the day.

Those that know me know that I’m an early riser and to-worker.  When I went to a bricks and mortar building, it was almost a race to see whether I or the caretaker was first in at the 6am hour.  If there was a workshop to be done, I wouldn’t be back home until 7 or 7:30 in the evening.  This is hardly evidence of balance, at least if you just do the mathematics, but it was consistent with my desire to learn and grow.

I still maintain early hours; those that follow me around know that I try to get up and do a daily bout of learning around 5am when I’m the only one awake around here and quiet is king.

When I think about it, I’m in a better position to “balance” things now, whatever that means  At the same time, I’ve taken on a number of new things and have my own personal goals.  In light of all this, I wonder if the actual word “balance” and its traditional meaning isn’t a red herring designed to lead one down the wrong path (or at least a different path).  After all, taken at face value, not having “balance” would imply that things currently done are in some way, selfish.  I’m not ready to concede on that point.  I place family, learning, duty, sharing, community, and purpose equally as high on my list of priorities.

I’m not willing either, at this point, to retract the word but I am willing to think about it and see if there isn’t a meaning that I can specifically use that would apply to me.


3 thoughts on “#onewordONT

  1. Thanks for sharing your word, Doug! I’ve always wondered about the word “balance” for many of the reasons that you indicated in this post. When you speak about what your school life used to involve, I’m reminded of how similar we seem to be in this regard.

    I wonder about something. Instead of seeing “balance” as an equal scale, what if we looked at our total amount of time to spend as 100%? How do we break up the percentages, and does “balancing” sometimes mean adjusting percentages slightly (or a lot) depending on the need, the time, or the activity? Is balancing always equal or maybe just a remixing of ratios? I think your #onewordONT goal is helping me work on my own: questioning. 🙂



  2. I think “balance” is an excellent choice, although I did have to look up the term “red herring”. Interesting connection, because I wonder about how best to juggle the priorities in my life often. I wouldn’t necessarily say that balance is a red herring, but maybe a checkpoint; a way to take a step back, to evaluate what is important to us, and to figure out if we need to wiggle our schedules a bit.
    Change is inevitable, so I’m thinking that balance can be equated to a teeter-totter that holds all of the things in our life on it. As things change, the weights need to be adjusted, so we need to make a shift. Maybe that’s why balance is such a good choice.


  3. I agree with Aviva! For me, balance is about how much attention each of my priorities receive day-to-day and sometimes moment-to-moment! I used to think I needed to give everything 100% but now I know I only have 100% to give in total. I do love how learning appears on your list of priorities and this has me thinking about how much space I would like to devote here as well.

    – Kristy

    Liked by 1 person

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