Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I wanted to say that Friday's park day was the MOST FUN park day ever, and so sweet because of all the less enjoyable ones my family has attended.

Right off the bat I got the long jump rope out and gave everyone who wanted to (including a 12 year old boy!!!) a chance to jump. We called them by name and kept cycling through all the kids as long as they wanted, pretty much. The other moms gathered round and got involved, and we took turns turning the rope. It lasted maybe 15 minutes (though I don't really know) and was very relaxed. Then the kids played really well on their own, though moms felt good about spending time with them too as needed. (check out: Loving the Village )

I LOVED it!! And, of course, I loved the visit with moms after wards. But knowing I had put my/the kids first made the visit even better.

--OK, so maybe it just seems like the best park day because it's the first one I have finally found FREEDOM from guilt. I get so excited to share with my friends that I just keep shoving the kids away. By starting and focusing on the kids for just a bit at the beginning then I do what I know I should do, and really do want to do, first. Then it's easy to do what I'm much more inclined to do.

. . . such a blessing to witness and be a part of a transformation, a transformation first and foremost of MYSELF.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanks, Mom!

The wisdom of ages is available to anyone willing to pay its price.*

Growing up, mom was my most wonderful teacher. As a student of education and while learning of the 7 Keys of Great Teaching†, my gratitude for my mother’s personal courage and discipline as my teacher has only increased. Mom never read a book that taught her to use these 7 keys to help me learn, but use them she did. Even though my mother is still living and practicing these principles, allow me to reminisce about the education I received at her hands.

Mother taught me to value the best, God’s word and the best that man had to offer. She respected those who made education a priority from any class of life. “Before they went to bed, Francie and Neeley had to read a page of the Bible and a page from Shakespeare. That was a rule.”‡ My life was immeasurably different than that of Francie and Neeley, but the memories of reading and sharing the lessons of sacred scripture and Shakespeare together with my mother are still truly precious. Mother also passed along the important lessons she had learned in 4-H from her own mother. Learning wasn’t about a merit badge; it was about blue ribbons.

I remember my mother telling me she was a late blooming reader. To me there was nothing late about it. Mother loved to share what she was learning and her efforts to study great books and improve her talents of writing were right on time and unequivocally inspiring for me. I often saw her or Dad studying by lamp light on the couch early in the morning. Sometimes I curled up next to her or Dad and enjoyed the opportunity for quiet sharing.

Mother was always inviting me, inviting me to reach higher. In college I sought advice in my quest to follow her educational example and asked her, “Do I really have to read Jane Eyre in order to be well read? This part is really depressing.” To which she answered, “Yes, you need to read it, if you want to be considered well read.” I finished the book and continued my quest to be well read.

Some things I didn’t see with my eyes or hear with my ears, but understood, nevertheless. She taught me to be my own expert, and to seek unlikely allies in persons from all walks of life. Then she gave me the freedom to fail.

For mom education simply isn’t complicated. It is about seeking truth and then seeking understanding that changes a person inside and, as a result, the world. True principles are her guiding light and she holds them high so all can see. Mom continues to follow her passion for all that is best and diligently sets the example of what it takes to get a great education.

With all my heart,

* P 2 DeMille, Oliver & Rachel. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning. George Wythe College Press: Cedar City, UT.
† Classics not textbooks; mentors not professors; inspire, not require; structure time not content; quality not conformity; simplicity not complexity; you not them
‡ Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Perennial Classics: New York, 1998.