Voracious desire to learn…

What I remember most about my mom was that she loved children and that she was a teacher. From before I even went to school, there were kids and babies underfoot in our house. When I was really little until about second grade, my mom ran a day care in our house. I had a love/hate relationship with her job. I loved the constant and instant access to playdates and friends. I can still remember the names of the children and some of our many adventures on our back porch, quasi above ground pool, outside riding bikes, etc. Even the time when one of the boys proposed to me and gave me a ring, (yes I guess courting starts young doesn’t it?) What I hated – was that I had to share my toys, my bedroom (babies sleeping), and my mom when I came home from school at the end of the day.

A few years later she moved to her main love, teaching elementary school. Again, I had a love/hate relationship. When I was in second grade, she was the secondary teacher in the “other” second grade classroom. For anyone who knows what it was like to have your mom teach in your school, or be highly involved in your school, there were times when you loved that they were nearby, and other times when you were going through growing pains, teased, or gaining your own independence, that you wished you were dropped off at school only to see them at the end of the day.

Either way, we do not get to pick what our parents do for a living or how they are present (or not) in our life. We do eventually have the opportunity to look in hindsight and see what we learn, or how these experiences evolve us into the people we are today. I am grateful to have had those years with my mom, watching her extreme patience (I wish I was granted with such patience). She valued education and learning and even now thinking about it, she got her masters in teaching in her forties, not an easy feat with three growing kids and a job. Maybe that is why I have such a voracious desire to constantly learn new things.

I am not a teacher. I absolutely love children, but I do not think I would have the patience to spend my day in a classroom and then come home sane to my family. I admire, commend, and appreciate each and every individual that teaches in a classroom. You shape the world for so many little (and not so little) beings each and every day. Thank you, mom, for teaching me to solve problems, crave ideas, and to continuously try new things. Miss you.

Who Taught You About Respect?

We each had someone in our life that very clearly taught us things that we will always remember. My father taught me about respect. It was important to him. Although he sometimes had a funny way of showing his respect to others, (he was not always respectful) we were taught how to respect him. I guess you could say that he taught me what to do and what not to do by his actions.

My father showed us to respect our elders, the things in our home, or the things that we owned and how we should take care of them. In his own way, he maybe made me into a bit of a perfectionist. Since I grew up poor, I did not have many things that many others had. The things I did have I cherished, and took excellent care of them. That has carried through my life to my home, and those comfort items I own today. I think there were multiple people in my life that taught me about having respect for myself. You can tell this by how you react to the way others treat you.

Sometimes I think when another individual is not respectful, it actually starts with them not respecting themselves. Each encounter we have with someone else is a learning experience, and teaches us how we can be better individuals, and how we can treat others better. Whether it is a work situation, or something with a family or friend. Each time you are direct, clear, and say what you need to, it helps for that next time when you might need to speak up and stand up for yourself or another person.

Due to the fact that respect was ingrained into my thinking at a young age, this initiative by “Futures without Violence” resonated with me. It is called: “The Respect Challenge” and asks for individuals to contribute to the question: Who taught you Respect? You will want to check out this video, and I encourage you to submit your answer to their question.

Who taught you about respect? Are you a parent, aunt, uncle, or teacher that is teaching someone about respect?

An apple for the teacher?

I read this quote yesterday, only now I cannot remember where I found it.

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

-Henry Adams 

It inspired me. It made me think of my different teachers. Mrs. Murray for 4th and 5th grade. Mrs. MacDougal for Kindergarten, Dr. Pruis was second grade. I think I could list them all. Well at least my elementary school teachers. I guess there were also a few high school teachers that really had an impact. One in particular my senior year. I was going through a really hard time with some family issues and had a hard time focusing on school. My english teacher knew that things were not easy and instead of having me write a report on the book we were reading in class, she had me write about what I was going through. I would give anything to be able to read the report I turned in. I have always been grateful for her intuition to know that what I was going through was more important than writing about Shakespeare. Just one example of how I was affected by this teacher.

I had professors in college that changed the direction of my life. I remember my junior year of college very clearly. It was the year I remember finding my voice. I wrote a paper for a Sociology class. Somehow the topic was on “voice.” Which I know sounds a bit random, but in the way I was raised, we were not really encouraged to speak up and be direct. Through the research I did for my paper, I went through a process and realized how I kept so much inside. I was done with doing that and began speaking up and taking a stand for myself, and well…the rest is history.

Lastly, I think of all my different art teachers. They taught me to look beyond a blue sky and a house with a white picket fence. Somehow art became a coping mechanism for me growing up. I was never amazing at it, but I was not horrible either. Art made me feel like I could make it through tough times. It inspired me about the possibilities in life. I could lose myself while throwing a pot on the wheel, and if I was truly mentally centered, I could make a decent, balanced, aligned piece worth showing someone else. I was proud of my work. Art made me feel whole.

Thank you for all the teachers out there that affected my life and experience. Do you remember the teachers that changed your life?