Just wanted to share a quick story that impacted me at our recent MECE (“Knights at the Kids Table”) conference in Canada. During one of the breaks during the conference a gentleman came up to me and shared this story. I have to admit that I didn’t recognize him as our paths have not crossed in decades but I was so encouraged by his story. I wanted to share it with you folk to remind you that each and every time you speak up or show up at an ECE event or conference the same kind of thing could be happening without you knowing it. This is the story as I reported it to the funder who paid for Bryan to speak at our conference.
I met a male Day Care Director at the conference who shared with me that 30 years ago he had considered entering the ECE sector and attended an orientation session at Red River College as he considered the possibility of entering their ECE program. He was the only male in attendance and when he showed up he was asked why he was there. This question left him feeling unwelcomed and out of place, but still he chose to stay. He recalled how I (Ron Blatz) had been asked to share with the group about my experience in Early Childhood Education. He saw me, listened to me and decided if Ron Blatz can do this then so can I. Now 30 years later he manages several centres in Winnipeg and continues to give back to our community in so many ways, in part because seeing another man in the sector was enough to encourage him to enter. I know that the men who attended the our Winnipeg conference left feeling welcome, connected, and appreciated in so many ways. I also believe that many of them will be motivated to come along side of other men who are exploring the sector to encourage them, support them and remind them of the difference they can really make in the lives of young children, each and every day.