A few weeks ago, we were visiting Mom and came upon this picture of me at 4 years old. Like all parents, Mom loves to tell stories about when I was little. Apparently a few traits really stood out: I was talkative, eager to learn, and very inquisitive. The photographer captured what my husband Mike would call my “feisty and asking a million questions” look, so I guess some things don’t change. 😊 You may see this expression occasionally in passing, but almost never in a picture since I was conditioned to smile sweetly for the camera long ago. But when we are four, the filters are simply not there yet- and we show ourselves as we are in the moment.

One of the reasons I enjoy kids so much is because they are infinitely curious and (usually)honest. They approach every situation with an open mind, and if they don’t know something they ask “why?” until satisfied. They share their perspective and don’t hold grudges if someone disagrees or worry about what someone will think. And most importantly, they don’t take it personally when someone asks them a question. They answer truthfully, unafraid, and move forward.

I’ve been at Vista Maria a little over 4 months now, and it has been a wonderful introduction. I am truly blessed to be here and work alongside all of you. I’m entering the next phase of my time here, the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work phase. And that means that I will have lots of questions to deeply understand the “why” of what we do, and to make sure we are all rowing in the same direction. Although we have a solid foundation, there are many things we can improve, update, or even stop doing if it’s not adding value. We have a great opportunity to make meaningful changes, because the youth and families we help deserve our very best.

I’d also like to encourage each of you to channel your inner four-year-old selves. We all have a duty to be curious about everything here at Vista Maria and ask a lot of questions. If you don’t know something- or especially if something doesn’t seem quite right- ask! Keep your mind open to new possibilities, even if that means it might be a little uncomfortable as changes happen. Share your ideas with everyone that will listen. Thank the people in your life that question you or give feedback, try not to be defensive, and most importantly- move forward.  To quote Neil Patel, a British entrepreneur and public speaker: “Don’t look back and ask, why? Look ahead and ask, why not?”.