I love reading Almost as much As I love writing – How about you?
As a teacher, Reading to my students Was my favorite time Of every school day.
Every day when the students Came in from lunch Hyper and excited, A good book settled them.
As a retired adult, Spending time in A captivating book Is like being in a candy shop.
But some of my friends Would rather color Or watch TV Or shop on-line.
How do you feel About books and reading? Do you relish a good read – Or would you rather garden?
Reading a good book Takes you to gardens And castles and wonders Around the world.
Reading a good book Increases your vocabulary And helps you soar To heights beyond your reach.
I’m not telling you Anything you didn’t know. So, tell me about a book That carried you skyward.
That’s me – reading “The Wing Ding Dilly” by Bill Peet to a 4th grade class in California. Their teacher, Mrs. Souza, invited friends on FB to ZOOM read to her class. I volunteered. You should try it! It was such fun!!
As a teacher of elementary children for nearly a quarter of a century and the mom of two very curious children, I can tell you that one of the most annoying questions is “Why?”
I remember the day I finally asked my father, “Why not?” when he told me NO. I was about 20 years old! Can you imagine? Being raised in a family where when Dad said, “No,” that was final? No questions asked. Just obey?
My kids were not like that. It was a different era. They asked, “Why?” before they knew how to say, “Chocolate!”
I think a measure of a child’s intelligence may be how many times s/he asks “Why?” The explorations, poking, questioning, prodding, relentless inquisitive nature of some children and adults can be downright annoying, though.
The path may not be a straight one… And it may be hard to determine where it leads, but curiosity will keep you (and them) moving forward. There is a huge NEED to know what’s beyond the bend!
As parents and teachers we sometimes want to shield our children from the unknown. There may be danger out there. I had a tendency to be protective. I know that’s where my dad was coming from when he said, “No!”
But squelching curiosity because of fear of the unknown is a dangerous path. It can lead to many missed opportunities and lost happiness.
Instead of being annoyed by the “Why?” and the “Why not?” we need to teach ourselves and our children the importance of always questioning.
Accepting “No” for an answer without questioning can lead to stagnation.
Instead of squelching curiosity, let’s turn our questioning into research with a purpose.
Curious people don’t just look Curious people see Curious people don’t just see Curious people question Curious people don’t just question Curious people probe
With a thirst for answers, Curious people are relentless. They keep asking until They find answers that satisfy.
Curiosity changes our perceptions. It changes our way of seeing things. It helps us gain the wisdom That less curious people Spend a life-time chasing.
Francoise Sagan is credited with that quote. Who was he? Are you curious? I was.
“Françoise Sagan (born Françoise Delphine Quoirez; 21 June 1935 – 24 September 2004) was a French playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Sagan was known for works with strong romantic themes involving wealthy and disillusioned bourgeois characters. Her best-known novel was her first – Bonjour Tristesse (1954) – which was written when she was a teenager.
Want to know more? Put her name in your Google search engine. We are so blessed to have an encyclopedia at our fingertips. Folks with insatiable appetites for answers can ask the who, what, why, when, and how questions and Siri or Alexa or Wikipedia are right there. What a gift these are to the curious.
EMBRACE CURIOSITY! Let your “Why?” be followed by active listening, thoughtful reading, and the explorations, poking, questioning, prodding, trying again, inquisitive nature that those children and adults exhibited who were downright annoying. Go ahead! Be annoying!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I’m curious. What are you up to? What are you curious about?
Just as children are grateful for their parents, their homes, their teachers, their food, and so much more, so we as adults must remember to express gratitude for those same things and for one another.
How do you express your gratitude?
I really appreciate this video and express my gratitude by sharing it with you. No, you can’t click on this one… it’s just a photo.
Before you click on the video below, look up at that man’s face. See the kindness in his eyes. See the bit of a smile on his lips. Notice he is looking at his passenger in her pretty turquoise scarf. Anticipate what you think he may be saying to her. Notice the bouquet of red roses blurred in the foreground. Now – click on the video below … and be prepared to be touched!
You may not have been able to understand the words this Iranian man was speaking to his wife, but your understanding of the message was clear. Right? Didn’t it warm your heart and reinforce the need to be grateful for one another?
When I think of my family, gratitude bubbles up inside me.
1) I am grateful for my husband’s love… for me and for our children. 2) I am grateful for bouquets of roses. (I could see him passing a bouquet on to others to share love.) 3) I am grateful for the happy home my parents provided for me was a child. 4) I am grateful that my husband’s parents were faith-filled, loving parents, too. 5) I am grateful that my children provided loving homes for their children.
Pass it on!!
There is no greater gift we can give our children than to love one another. Be grateful for that love and keep it alive!
As you EMBRACE GRATITUDE, think of 4 or 5 things you’re grateful for today. I’d love to have you share a few of them in the comments below.
Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites. Right?
See that young man on the left up there? His name is Ty. He is my favorite!
(Well, in honesty… don’t be dismayed if you’re one of my students…. I have lots of favorites, OK? But Ty… well, read on!)
Ty was my kindergarten student in 1962-3. Every day when he stepped off the school bus, the girls all stopped what they were doing. “Hi Ty!” they would swoon. Yes, even kindergarten girls recognize a sweetheart when they see one!
And every day when it was time to go home, the girls all waved to Ty, “Bye, Ty!” they would swoon.
I was a newlywed. It was my second year of teaching. I decided if I had a boy someday, I would name him Ty. And I did!
Ah yes, my Ty is a sweetheart, just like his namesake!
So why the HOPE title?
Yesterday I heard the devastating news that my favorite student, Ty, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. It has metastasized. He needs our prayers. My heart is heavy, but I am a believer… and HOPE is what believers do, right?
Day before yesterday I posted this scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know God has Ty tucked into the palm of His hand, just as He holds our world in His hand.
I know God is watching over Ty and his treatment process. But, won’t you add your prayers to mine? “Dear Lord, please give healing to Ty.”
Mark Collins‘ prayer in Daily Guideposts today spoke to me. He wrote:
“Lord, let me repurpose my own life toward Your will and not mine.”
What is your life’s purpose?
What have you determined to be your life’s purpose? Has it always been so?
Seems to me this pandemic has given us time to pause and reconsider what our life’s purpose is! This virus has been like a stop light – a red signal – “Wait here!”
As I paused and considered my life’s purpose this morning, I decided my purpose has shifted with each quarter century of my life. Have you considered how age, the passing of time, and the changing of circumstances have impacted your life’s purpose?
Maybe my purpose SHOULD always have been “to glorify God” – but did I know that? Did I live according to that calling? No!
In that first quarter of my life, the innocence of childhood helped me see others with a purity of heart, but most of my purpose was pretty self-centered.
To be honest with myself and you, most of age 0 to 25 was devoted to serving self.
Then in the second quarter, my life’s purpose shifted from self to family. With marriage and children, it was important to turn the focus from myself to my husband and our children.
These were the years when my career flourished and I spent a lot of time devoted to my job. But even as I did so, it all came back to bringing in the resources to provide a better life and more opportunities for us and our children.
Age 25 to 50 my life’s purpose was mostly devoted to serving family.
In the third quarter of my life, I moved from being a mom with kids at home, and being a teacher in the classroom working with children, to being a cheerleader for my young adult children and a leader for teachers.
Even after I retired, my role as a cheerleader for my children and grandchildren and as a leader in various organizations where I volunteered was focused on how I could reach out to help.
My purpose in life from age 50 to 75 seemed to be to serve others.
And then came this fourth quarter of my life. The period from 75 to 100 is when I have come face to face with the purpose God intended for me all along: to glorify Him.
Everything I do these days is intended to fulfill the purpose the Lord intended for me: to serve God.
I look for ways to BEE what He made me to BEE… to use the talents He gave me … and to use them for HIS PURPOSES.
I look for ways to DO what God needs me to DO to BEE His hands and feet on earth.
I find places where the love, joy and peace that are mine are lacking… and I try to spread those Fruits of the Spirit wherever I go.
What Really Matters
How much more meaningful my life would have been if I had spoken this prayer by Mark Collins years ago:
“Lord, let me repurpose my own life toward Your will and not mine.”
Don’t wait until the fourth quarter of your life to repurpose! Ask God today to help you discern what He has in mind for you. You can serve family and others more effectively if you:
1) Pray for God’s guidance 2) Listen for the Holy Spirit to guide you, and 3) Use your gifts, talents and time to serve God first.
In so doing, God will bless you in ways you can hardly imagine!
By using your time, gifts and talents for the glory of your Creator, you will find true joy, a true sense of fulfillment, and an REAL answer to: What is my life’s purpose?
Score what really matters NOW. Don’t wait until the fourth quarter!!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
A comment below telling me what you have defined as your life’s purpose would be so interesting to me. Do consider commenting!
We’re unreachable When we are unteachable. Let’s check our mindset.
Is our mind open To attentive mindfulness? Live expectantly?
Anticipate good? Humbly work for improvements In self and others?
Develop ideas – Hopeful and doable ones In a right spirit.
We close open doors When we are unteachable. Let’s check our mindset.
Keep your mind focused On the good that you can do. Let’s be teachable.
Let’s be reachable. Let us reach out to others With humble mindset.
Pray with me: “Lord, help us to develop a heavenly perspective to look at life’s trials and difficulties through the Truth and Hope of God’s Word. Peel away all barriers to Your wisdom, Lord, And make us teachable and reachable! Amen!”
In today’s COVID-19 world, a lot of parents world-wide have become their child’s primary teacher. Even though many of the students have access to on-line classes, still parents discover they must oversee the learning process. Most parents are not prepared for this role. Are you one of them who sometimes feels overwhelmed by it??
Do Not Despair
You’re not alone! Many parents who are on this “Stay at Home” routine find themselves thrust into a much more intense teacher role than they ever bargained for. Your time spent with your child/student during this time is precious. You’re making life-long memories. Make them happy ones!
I am a retired educator. I spent more than two decades as an elementary teacher and administrator. During that time, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand how the expectations of others affects our self-evaluations. Our expectation for ourselves affects our self-esteem, too. Just know you are doing your best! Hang in there!
Do Your Best
How do you know when you have done your best? Who helps you determine what your best is?
I learned from a wise educator (Madeline Hunter) in an in-service once upon a time eons ago that the question is not, “Are you smart?” The question is, “How are you smart?” What a difference that makes!
As teachers, coaches, mentors, parents, friends, our task is to look for the natural strengths in others (as well as in ourselves). We all have them. Dig! Find the positives. Build on successes. Learn from, but do not emphasize, failures. Reward achievement.
Build On Strengths
Did you read my blog a couple days ago when I told you about our adventures on “Lucille” our Polaris Razor? She is a red-head who is a “Ball” – but she required a whole new level of “Do Your Best” when Bob took her into snow that was too deep for her body. Lucille high-centered and Bob was stuck. His best efforts at digging I her out were not good enough. She was not budging!
What does this have to do with “Build On Strengths?” Well thank God, we had friends with us – and one of them, Rex, has a wonderful Boy Scout skill: “Be prepared.” He had the necessary equipment to hook up a rope to his ATV and latch the other end of it to Lucille. He pulled our ATV out of that snow… and “saved our bacon!”
Bob & I can learn from Rex’s strengths. Be prepared! Carry a rope and the necessary winch in case of emergency in the future. And when the rope came loose at the end of the reel, Rex taught Bob how to secure it with a set pin so that it would not come loose again. God bless Rex! And as for us… we’re never too old to learn!
Focus on the Positive
My favorite expression when I was counseling teachers was one with poor grammar, but with great truth: “What you pay attention to is what you get more of.”
Want success? Find the best effort and praise it! Find what the student does best and teach through that strength. Sometimes our teaching is by example – people just watch what we do. Certainly our kids are perfect examples of that! It doesn’t work to tell them “Do as I say, not as I do!” They WATCH!!
Teaching is a JOY!
After I retired, I had the fun of teaching adults who had not learned yet how to read. I joined the volunteers in the “Stanislaus Literacy Program” in Modesto, California.
When I met her, Grace was an illiterate adult. She was nearly 40 and she had spent the last 30 years avoiding the world of print. Her “best” was sorting clothes from the dressing rooms at JC Penney and putting them back on the proper racks. No words needed for that task. But she hated being unable to read. She hid it well, but it made her feel “less than.” You can imagine!
Grace enrolled in the adult literacy program and I had the privilege of working with her to unlock the world of print. Sorting letters was a lot like sorting clothes. Matching capital to small case letters, sounds to letters, classifying vowels and consonants. One step at a time, backing up to the beginning, building on her strengths, we did it. The joy in Grace’s life when she discovered she could read menus, street signs, and billboards was palpable! Next step: books. A whole new world opened up to her.
Have you ever watched the light glow in a learner’s eyes when the key to a previously locked skill is found and the door opens? “I did my best” took on a whole new meaning for me!
You can watch that key unlock new learning, new ideas, new attitudes for your child. These days offer parents great opportunities.
Help Break Down Tough Concepts
When anyone is asked to perform at a level above their capabilities, frustration abounds. I’ve had that happen to me. I was put in a place where I was supposed to lead a ZOOM group. Be the host. What? At that time, I didn’t even know what ZOOM was!
But, I WOULD have been capable of that performance, if somebody took the time to show me how.
You have a chance to be that somebody for your child… or for a neighbor or friend. With love and patience, and confidence in his/her ability to catch on, be the somebody who breaks it down. Step by step, lead him/her through the process of knowing how, trusting that s/he CAN.
People need to know that we believe in them. Believe in yourself as a teacher. Do your best! Watch the light dawn. It’s a thrill!
Learn Something New
Everyday is a new opportunity to DO MY BEST. My mother-in-law always said, “No day is complete until you have learned something new.”
There is no better way to encourage a student to continue learning than to be the example who is a life-long learner.
What will I tackle with confidence today?
How about you?
Tell me about a skill you want to acquire. Then, Just do it!
When Bob & I first moved from California to Montana back in 2006, I was a recently retired educator with over 30 years of teaching/administrating under my belt. I was not really ready to “hang it up.” You know, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.”
So, when I joined the Friends of the Library and received a message from a young man who was seeking help to earn his GED (I think that stands for: General Education Diploma, but it might be Graduation Equivalence Diploma) … anyway, I was all in.
Zahid was a 19 year old from Pakistan whose English was sketchy enough that he had trouble understanding the questions, let alone knowing the answers. I agreed to help him with the English/Language Arts/History areas while a good friend worked with him in the areas of Science and Math.
His host mom would drop him off at our house at 7:30 AM three times a week, and after an hour of study, I’d drive him to his place of work, just five minutes away. During our hours together, one of my greatest challenges was teaching Zahid that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” He tried to bluff his way through answers. It was often quite amusing!
Once Zahid learned to say, “I don’t know,” and admit to needing help with the answers, we made great progress. He eventually passed and got his high school equivalent diploma. Hooray!
2.It’s OK to… Feel all the Emotions
Zahid tried to hide his lack of knowledge and his feelings of discouragement. He tried to hide his frustrations. He attempted to bluff his way through the quizzes. It didn’t work. When he learned to let his emotions show, when he opened himself to being “real” with me, we made great progress.
3. It’s OK to… have Bad Days
Life is not always fair. Even with hard work and the best of intentions, our dreams don’t always pan out. The first time Zahid took his test for the credential, he failed. Without encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, he might have folded. He might have said, “Give it up! I can’t do this!” But, we didn’t let that happen. His host mom and dad joined our Positivity Club – and together we helped “Z” keep at it, learn from his mistakes, try again, and ultimately pass.
4. Its OK to …Let Yourself Cry
Once “Z” passed his GED, the next goal was to pass his driver’s behind-the-wheel and written tests and get a driver’s license. He worked hard at it.
My husband, Bob, is a retire teacher. (If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know he also is a retire beekeeper. But before he went back to the family bee farm, he taught driver’s education and coached wrestling for nine years in California.) So, Bob was a natural to help “Z” get his driver’s license.
Once that goal was accomplished, the next step was to buy a car. Zahid had saved the money he earned working at the local grocery store. He had enough to pay for a good “starter car.” But the problem that emerged was that he had no idea how to take care of a car. That’s where the “It’s OK to let yourself cry” comes in. He burned up the car’s engine by not checking the oil, the water, etc. The tears were real! It was a sad lesson in the reality of truth #5…
5. It’s OK to …Ask for Help
Bob would have been more than happy to help “Z” learn the basics of car maintenance, but Zahid never asked. It was a tough, expensive lesson. But “Z” learned it. He asked Bob to help him find a new engine. He did… and “Z” learned to ask for help in car maintenance in the future. That car gave him several years of reliable service and actually made it from Montana to Alaska when “Z” moved there for better job opportunities.
6. It’s OK to …Make Mistakes
Looking back over our experiences with that young Pakistani, we know we made mistakes, just as he did. We backed off when we should have moved forward and been more assertive with him. He tried bluffing and exercising independence when admitting his lack of knowledge and asking for help would have served him better. But, he learned – and so did we.
As long as we learn from our mistakes, it’s OK. In fact, making mistakes is sometimes the ONLY way we learn. Knowing what doesn’t work helps us eliminate some options and seek better solutions.
Don’t try to have all the answers.
Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Be real. Let them show!
Don’t let the bad days get you down. We need valleys in order to appreciate the mountain tops!
Don’t hold back the tears. Let them flow when they need to. Let them cleanse you!
Admit your ignorance. None of us is an expert at everything. Ask for help when you need it.
Don’t let mistakes get you down. No one is perfect. We need to make mistakes in order to learn and move forward.
It’s OK to … select friends who lift you up, encourage you, and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it.
It’s OK to … BE one of those friends. Happy, warm, genuine. Even long-distance, over the miles, through cyberspace, you can reach out and be the positive friend others are seeking.
Just do it! It’s OK…
Thank you for your visit, your comments and your friendship,
Do you enjoy keeping in touch with long-time friends?
This morning I posted “No Friend Like an Old Friend” with pictures of the long-time friends I met with yesterday.
Among the long-time friends I posted pictures of was Ly, my favorite hair stylist, whom I have known since 1979. Today she gave me a new hair cut and helped me get my “perky” back.
Also, today I had the privilege of reconnecting with dear friends from my years of working in the Ceres Unified School District. I was Caswell Elementary School’s principal from 1988-1997. Some of my favorite people to work with met me today for lunch. Most of them also are retired now. What a joy!!
Have you had the opportunity to reconnect 20 years later with co-workers who were instrumental in tour personal and professional growth? If so, you know what a JOY and a privilege this day was for me.
If not, I pray you will live 20 years into your retirement and have the delight of reconnecting the way I did today. It was indescribably wonderful. I wish you this kind of joy.
Thank you, dear Caswellians, for a wonderful day. I love you!
This week Bob & I visited El Paseo Drive in Palm Springs, CA. It was a beautiful day to window shop those exquisite boutiques. But, ooh-la-lah, heaven forbid we go inside!! The prices are out of sight! However, if is is not a lovely shirt or a cute, little apron with a cute saying on it, then it is a convincing salesman with a free gift he is handing out in sweet little bags.
I made the mistake of accepting the bag and then being drawn into his shop where he had a “Miracle Cream.” He invited me to sit down so he could put it around one of my eyes. “Look at how it removes the puffiness and lightens the dark bags,” he said.
Bob followed me in and the slick salesman invited him to come and see how much better that eye looked. “We men don’t care about the aging process,” he told Bob. “But women – they care – and your wife would love this cream. If it can do this much in one very short treatment, imagine what it can do with weekly treatments over a few months!”
The salesman offered to throw in an additional jar of “finishing cream” for FREE …. if we would buy one jar of the miracle cream.
“How much?” Bob asked.
“Only two hundred…” he paused before quietly adding “ninety-nine” at the same time Bob was gasping at 200 and missed the 99. Wow, only $300. for that miracle cream. A bargain! Just think it’ll last a month or more!!
Aging Like Sea Glass
Yes, I have a well-earned patina! Yes, I add a few wrinkles with each passing year. Yes, my skin lacks the freshness of my youth. Yes, I care about AGING. In fact, I embrace it! It’s not true that men don’t care about it. They want to age like sea glass, too.
External vs. Internal Beauty
I want the wrinkles that come with age to be a beauty that expresses my inner peace and radiates my inner joy. This dear photo by Nandhu Kumar depicts a lovely lady whose face sparkles with an inner beauty and a well-earned patina that is envious! Don’t you agree?
This sweet man’s face and his gesture of affection radiates a love so real, so dear, so beautiful that only the waves of time can achieve it. His face reflects his journey – and the changes he has gone through to achieve that beauty. Hers, on the other hand appears to have endured many fewer tumbles through the tide. Maybe she’s his daughter … or maybe she used that “magic cream.” Her face doesn’t reflect the inner glow, however wrinkle-free it may be, does it? She looks a little apprehensive to me.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not opposed to outer beauty!! I don’t knock those who get monthly facials or buy expensive creams or have face lifts. (I actually put a pretty costly cream on my face every morning. It’s a Lacome – designed as a sunscreen and wrinkle reducer – hah!)
Look at this lovely “elderly” model. She has a job that requires special care of hair and skin. Gotta look good on camera! A few lines add character, don’t you agree? The only way to avoid those lines is to stop smiling, stop frowning, stop expressing emotion. Even Botox doesn’t take them all away!!
Yes, I’d like to reduce my frown marks (those railroad tracks on my forehead). I was warned when I was in my twenties that this would happen if I didn’t stop frowning. But how do you keep a straight face when you’re teaching a room full of twelve year olds or scolding a 4th grader who just punched a classmate? Why should you keep from smiling when you’re confronted with a class of giggling kindergarteners? How do you avoid the wrinkles on your nose when that’s what your face does a million times a day? My dog, TazE, doesn’t seem to mind!
Ride the Waves and Go With the Flow
I want to age like sea glass. I want my hard edges to soften. I want to be picked up gently and admired by those who appreciate what these 80 years of life have meant to them and to me… what I’ve learned, and what I can pass along. I want to enjoy the journey, and always remember to be grateful for each day the Good Lord gives to me. I want to ride the waves and go with the flow.
You with me?
Ride the waves with me… and share your wisdom, too. How do you feel about aging?