Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Dr. Deeken

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Dear Dr. Deeken,

I am so glad you accepted my invitation and am even happier that we made that lunch date happen!

I would like to apologize for taking so long to write this letter. Life just has a way of getting away from me. Before we met, I promised to limit my questions to 10. I hope I was able to keep that promise. There were just so many things I wanted to discuss.

When we sat down and I had a chance to tell you that my friends were all jealous of our lunch date, you said that you hoped, “We were not underwhelmed” by your responses. (Clearly you did not see how starstruck I was to be dining with THE Dr. Deeken.) 

As always you listened, shared, taught, and inspired me.

One of the questions I asked was “What was your favorite advice for parents?”

Your sweet and smart responses of “Enjoy each and every stage of childhood, (speaking from personal experience),” “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, and “Don’t let kids dictate; You’re the parent. You’re not the friend” were true to the doctrines of appointments heard by thousands of parents and still need to be shared daily.

The fact that you have 10 children of your own is still one that awes me. The fact that you carried a panel of about 2000 patients floored me. When asked how you managed, you gave tremendous credit to your husband and said something that too many of us feel in the healthcare and educational professions, “I short-changed my family. You can’t get time back.” In learning that you often took your charts home to finish each night, after making your hospital rounds and full days of check-ups and medical emergencies, it’s no wonder you felt spread too thin. I think it’s fair to say that you did a marvelous job of tackling some tough stuff. Continue reading “Lunch was Lovely – Thank You Letter to Dr. Deeken”

Sue Gelven, will you have lunch with me? – Sincerely, Intentergy

Dear Sue,

15 years ago I began teaching at Linn High School, and so frequently was my teaching style compared to yours, that I was scared to tell others what I was doing in the classroom for fear of failing the very high expectations set by your example.

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Sue just hanging out in Egypt.

As time has gone by, I have had the honor of not only getting to meet you but to teach some of your grandchildren and to enjoy the stories of your travels via your fabulous Facebook posts. I have watched you bounce back from the loss of your amazing husband and become a Renaissance woman with your hunting and handy-woman skills. (You use a chain saw!)

 

Sue, I would love to have a lunch with you because I believe you have some seriously powerful messages to share.

What is it that inspires you to choose the destinations of your trips? What do you remember or miss most from teaching? What lesson did you hope ALL of your students would learn from your classes? What do you hope to teach those you encounter today? Where do you get the ammunition for all the rodents you exterminate? What is your next handy-woman project?Have you written a book? Are you going to write a book? Coffee or tea?

These are just a few of the things I would love to speak about with you. My goal with Intentergy is to bring positive purpose to the day, and I know you will be a wonderful resource for me to tap into and charge some ideas for inspiration and ingenuity.

So, it is with extreme trepidation and excitement that I ask, Sue Gelven, will you please have lunch with me?

Sincerely,

Melanie A. Peters

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Lara and Sue

P.S. Sue’s beautiful daughter (and my friend) Lara graciously let me use her photos for this post. Thank you, Lara!

 

 

“Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday

Safe Words

“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer

As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.

My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.

I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.

Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”

This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.

Continue reading ““Safe” Words – Wise Words Wednesday”

Thoughts on Fear – Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughts on Fear

I am always impressed by the way some individuals are able to encapsulate the emotions that are shared by literally millions. The sadness that has invaded our lives and hearts in recent weeks has largely been caused by fear.

The following are posts or lyrics of others that I have found quite profound. Hopefully their words will eliminate any insecurities that you may have about isolation and separation because of the fear that has invaded your thoughts and emotions.

Kelly Sanders Smith, a friend and fellow teacher, shared this thought on Facebook and opened my eyes to a sad reality about what the generations after mine sadly consider as common place.

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Cami Walker, my friend and author of 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, recently shared this post on www.29gifts.org. I love how she is taking tragedy and turning into a positive challenge of love.  Continue reading “Thoughts on Fear – Thoughtful Thursday”

Student or Teacher???

Student or Teacher

As the regular school year has come to a close I find myself sitting here reflecting on the school year and my career as an agricultural educator.  Throughout my 11 years as an educator, there have been many of lessons learned.  Some have been more easily learned than others and some have hit me like a eighteen wheeler running down the interstate.

Though not a new lesson to many of us, but probably one of the most important lessons, is the importance of building relationships.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to not only build positive relationships with myWade 1 students in the classroom but also through the FFA organization. I find many of my week nights, if not working with FFA career development events, following my students and their athletic teams.  Through my attendance at these activities I don’t only develop positive student relationships but develop relationships with their families also.What some overlook is that those relationships can often make or break many of our students and us as educators too.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest kids in the world.  Though there is a couple of experiences that stick out the most. One of those this spring a group of student and I traveled the state every weekend from mid February through the end of March traveling from one FFA contest to another.  Over 1,000 miles spent in a van, you get to know each other pretty well. They definitely expanded my knowledge of popular teen music, as the first stop we ever made was to buy an aux cord. During one of our practices one student’s statement really made me realize the importance of positive relationship building.  This student told me I was the closest thing to a dad she had ever had. She appreciated that I cared about every aspect of her life, just not the academics.  The role we take as teachers is continually evolving.  To some students we do become that parental role for others it may be a different. Continue reading “Student or Teacher???”

On Quitting – Thoughtful Thursday

 

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Kelly’s portable “office” 

At my old office, I surrounded myself with framed quotes.  They helped motivate me and, I hope, inspired some of the people who came and went in the little non-profit I managed.

One of my favorite quotes was this, by William G.T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.”

I had to come to terms with my own “shipness” (it’s not a word, but I’m making it so) after the birth of my third child threw my work-life balance into an overwhelming tailspin.  After weeks of crying in the daycare parking lot and crunching household budget numbers, it was made clear that something would have to give.  That something?  The job I’d loved for a decade, the one I never imagined leaving,

I saw a job ad for an adjunct communications instructor at the area technical college.  I hadn’t applied for a job in more than ten years, but I enthusiastically submitted my name for the position. A part-time job would allow me to keep my professional life active and free up much-needed time for my three kids, including one with cerebral palsy who logs multiple doctor’s appointments each month.

While I waited, I continued to struggle in my full-time career.  Even though I was stressed to the breaking point, I still didn’t know if I was ready to leave.

The day I finally hit a wall at work and came home devastated was the day I received a phone call about interviewing for the part-time teaching position.  The relief and excitement I felt was the answer I’d been waiting for.

As soon as the interview was scheduled, I gave my notice at work.  I didn’t even wait until I had the job, because I was that secure in the decision.  I knew I could no longer “make it work” (said in my most exaggerated Tim Gunn voice). Continue reading “On Quitting – Thoughtful Thursday”

How can I ask if I didn’t know?

How can I ask if I didn’t know?

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Recently, hubby and I had a heated “discussion” about my belief that I had to physically drive to the bank to pay the truck payment. My belief goes back almost 20 years.

In 1998 my mother co-signed a loan to purchase a new car for me. When we left the bank, the loan agent told me, “Each month just bring in your payment and the loan book. We will tear out a receipt for each payment.” After that I just always took my payment book to the bank.

As our “discussion” wound down, my husband said, “If you don’t know something, just ask.”

How was I supposed to ask, if I didn’t know that I didn’t know it???? Continue reading “How can I ask if I didn’t know?”