Creating a Spark of Innovation

It was a day like any other day.  Thursday morning …  not too chilly, not to warm.  My wife and I were in Atlantic City for the annual New Jersey Teachers Convention and I was up bright and early to set up for a full day of broadcasting. (slide?) It was a great conference. Each year, thousands of educators  sacrifice two days of teaching to gather in Atlantic City for one reason ….  To learn how to improve their craft.  It’s a convention that happens each year like clockwork.  Why should this year be any different? But somehow it was …

The conference day was scheduled to commence at 5.  Little did I know that I wouldn’t be making it to see 5 o’clock that day.

My wife had stopped by the convention floor to spend some time as I did my interviews and gave my professional development sessions.  It was around [1:30] when she gave me a hug and told me she was heading back to the hotel for a nap.

The conference was scheduled to commence at 5 but it was at 4 o’clock that I received the phone call that would ultimately change my life forever.  .  .

You see just 25 weeks and 5 days earlier my wife and I drove to a doctor's office where I heard a sentence that I wasn’t … quite … ready for.  Now, let me assure you, I was hoping to hear a version of this sentence, but I wasn’t exactly expecting to hear the exact words that were spoken to us that day.  We walked into the office and he said “Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Bradbury … Would you like to see “THEM?”

Them …???  I wasn’t expecting “THEM”  … I was expecting to hear another word such as Him… Her … or even It… but not the word … THEM.

My wife and I at that point were faced with some pretty awesome decisions.  We were faced with some pretty awesome challenges. We were faced with some pretty awesome risks. Risks of trying to bring three babies into the world.  Risks of raising three babies in these crazy financial times.  Risks of having one, two, or all three babies not survive full term.

As the weeks went on we prepared for the rewards that were awaiting us while constantly thinking about the risks that were involved with being future parents of triplets.  They began to come little by little.  Here is a photo of probably my favorite photo in our collection. This is my little girl saying hello to us for the first time.  Pretty awesome isn’t it.

As time went on they began to get bigger and the risks associated with the first trimester were soon behind us with and everyone had a clean bill of health. It was truly a miracle that we had gotten through that period safely. . .

So there I was at the convention getting ready to wrap up a full day of teaching when right around 4pm I get a phone call from my wife.

“Can you wrap up and come over to the hotel … I’m not feeling so great.”

I said “Sure thing I’ll be over in about an hour after I clean and pack up my equipment.”

She said again … “No, I think I need you here now … something isn’t quite right.”

Next thing I know, I was gowned up in a hospital awaiting the birth of my three miracle babies.  The only problem was … it was early November and their due date was supposed to be in mid-February.

On that ordinary not too cold … not too warm November 8th, I became a daddy … three times.

Actually … it wasn’t as easy as you would think.  The babies were born all weighing in under 2 pounds. They were silent, they were unable to open their eyes, and because they were still cooking they were actually translucent.  We were thankful they were all alive. Our three little rewards had come into this world, a few months early, but they were here and I was a daddy.

That night we were in the hospital and around 1 in the morning, we received a phone call giving us more news.  One of our babies was not doing well and needed medical attention beyond the expertise of the hospital’s ability level.  We were being asked to agree to send him to another hospital. We of course agreed and on the spot had to come up with names for them. At 4 o’clock in the morning a helicopter lifted off from Dupont Children's Hospital in route to pick up my little Christopher and before not too long a team of angels rushed in and flew away with my baby. So there we were on the first night of being parents … two babies in a NICU in Atlantic City and one baby in a NICU in Delaware.

Days turned into week and weeks became months, and in February, right around their due date, we were able to bring home Robert and Sara. We welcome you to follow them on Twitter @EduTriplets.  They would love to meet you but don’t be alarmed if they don’t write back to you right away. I have instructed them not to talk to strangers.

I tell you these things today, hopefully ,to share with you the very real and unique adventure that I am on, but ask you to take a moment and think about your own story.  Where are you??? What are you doing with your lives???  What risks are you taking? How are you sharing your passions not only with those around you but with the world?

The Impact of Triplets on a Teaching Career

I have an amazing career these days. I’m a teacher in a school district, but I don’t teach students. I am charged each day with teaching teachers.  In fact, I have the awesome privilege of working with every teacher, administrator,  AND every student in the district to help them learn how to better integrate technology in their lives.  It’s a fun job and I'm extremely enjoying the process of helping almost 2300 people.

The other day I was working with a teacher and in the middle of our conversation this teacher asked me the question …. “What exactly do you do here?”   I thought about it and it actually took me a few moments to come up with the answer.  After thinking about it I said to her something like this … “My job is to interact with everyone in the district and Spark their Innovation.” My job is to teach, but my role is to be a “Conduit for Greatness”

The teacher looked at me and with a head turn asked … “What does that mean?”  I said, it’s simple.  I can come into your room and teach you how to create a Google Doc and walk out of here knowing that I did my job.  However, that wouldn’t be doing you any good and your students wouldn’t be any better for me doing so.  My role here is to come into classrooms and show you how to be unique … how to be creative … how to be awesome in your classroom.  My role is to teach you how to use technology in ways you never thought of and most importantly, to show you how to inspire your students to achieve their maximum potential.

Who are YOU Inspiring?

So I am standing here today asking each of you to think about the question “What are you doing today … to share your passions with the world? What are you doing …. Right now that could be consider taking a risk?

It’s not an easy thing to think about but it truly is a conversation we all need to have with each other from time to time.  Are we standing inside of the box …. Or are we standing outside of it?  Are we thinking outside of the box … or are we conforming to the norms of society and just waiting in line for life to pass us by.

There are two quotes that I keep close to my heart and I think about just about every day.  The first is from Steve Jobs. It says “The ones who are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.”

I ask you today … “Are you one of the crazy ones?

The second quote today is one that I has had a profound impact on my life not just as an educator, but as a husband and a father.

“If you think you can or can’t … You're probably right.”

I am here to ask you all today …  What are you passionate about?  How are you inspiring greatness from yourself … and from others? How are you being the Spark for Inspiration in this world?

Life with only Two Babies at Home

So there we were … that day at the doctor's office hearing the phrase “Would you like to see them?” and there wasn’t any question in my mind about what the future would hold for my wife and I.  We knew we would have ups, and we knew we would have downs.  We knew that things would be scary, but we knew that the rewards would far outweigh the risks any day.

Here is a more recent photo of my 28-month-old son Robert and here is my beautiful Sara.

Christopher on the other hand still hasn’t made it out of the hospital.  What started as a small medical complication which led to his helicopter ride that first night has lead to him having a procedure called a Tracheostomy and he needs 24/7 medical care.  We aren’t sure when he will be home, but we know that every passing day brings us one day closer to having three babies under one roof.

In closing, I want you to take a moment. It could be today, it could be tonight, it could be tomorrow.  But take a moment and be the Spark of Inspiration for someone in your life.  Be that ray of hope, and be the light that is the conduit for greatness in this world.

I would like to thank all of you for being here today. I end today the way I end all of my podcasts and broadcasts.

Keep up the great work in your classrooms … and continue sharing your passions … with each other.


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