Summary of a Grounded Theory Study
My career can be split into two distinct periods. I began my career in religious work. During that period I served as an ordained minister within evangelical Christian, and occasionally fundamentalist, traditions. I held leadership positions in local, state, national, and international organizations and groups. In the second, and most recent, period of my career I have worked in the field of sexuality education. Again, I have had the privilege of providing leadership in local, state, national, and international organizations and groups. Some might interpret these two career periods as having very little, if anything, in common. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
During both periods I worked with young people. Sometimes my work brought me into daily contact with young people and, at other times, I worked indirectly with them by providing support and assistance to youth serving professionals and organizations.
Additionally, in both periods, I provided sexuality education to young people. Ideologically, my approach was sometimes “abstinence-only” and sometimes “comprehensive.” As a result, I can understand both and fluently speak the language of either. My involvement in the field has also put me in the middle of the conflict over sexuality education in U.S. public schools.
Since my first experience in the conflict, I have been curious about it. I have not been curious about the issues at the center of the conflict, as those seem quite clear, and have been described very well by others. Rather, I have been curious about those of us who have provided leadership in and through the conflict. I have been curious about our motivations to lead and remain in leadership despite the conflict. I have been curious about how we learn to lead in such a niche field. I have been curious to know how we understand and relate to the conflict as persons, as well as leaders. This research has attempted to satisfy this curiosity.