I recently had the opportunity to be a substitute teacher for a 1st grade class. (I was probably a bottom-of-the-barrel substitute selection, but that didn’t stop my enthusiasm.) As the library lady at school, I get the distinct privilege of sharing a book with the students once a week, but that Friday I was given two opportunities to read books of my choosing to the class. The only problem was I couldn’t abandon my newly acquired class to run up to the library for reading materials, and the junior high classes were using the space so I couldn’t take the 1st graders to the library. I had to tap into the resources at my disposal and pick books from the numerous reading tubs available in the classroom. That is how I stumbled upon Six Crows by Leo Lionni and the powerful statement, “Words can do magic.”
The Six Crows fable is one where a wise old owl witnesses the great lengths that a farmer and six crows go to in order to protect or steal the farmer’s wheat. After reflecting on the situation, the wise owl couldn’t decide who was being sillier, so she stepped in to help. The owl advised both the farmer and the crows to speak to the other and work out their problem instead of allowing the wheat to die because the two parties were so busy trying to scare the other away. The scare tactics included terrible scarecrows and giant bird puppets; both of which prevented the wheat from being tended or eaten.
I would like to cordially invite you to have lunch with me. My desire for this lunch date is so sincere that you may choose the day, time, and location that works best for you.
You and I share some very similar interests. We both love to sing and love our nation. We share the belief that good leaders listen, stand up for what needs to be done, and that sometimes simple solutions are all that is needed to make big changes.
Your mom was a teacher, and I am a mom and a teacher. So we both value education and moms.
You’ve written and published children’s books and having children’s books published from my pen is on my bucket list. (Maybe you could recommend a good literary agent.)
You are much better at golf than I, but maybe you could give me some pointers as we dine.
A love of laughter and sincerity are also things we have in common, and I know we could both use a sincere conversation and laugh right now. (People tell me I’m pretty funny, so I’ve got that to bring to the table.)
While radio never stops and has played a pivotal role in entertainment for centuries, it does not seem to command the attention of every waking hour as it did in the past. When I was growing up, my waking hours started around 4:00 a.m. helping milk cows. Each of those mornings we were joined in the milk barn by the sounds and stories of Paul Harvey. Even after we left the farm in 1994, my listening continued as I began waitressing breakfast at a local restaurant. It didn’t matter where I was, Paul Harvey’s voice drew me in and transported my mind to the stories and people of whom he spoke.
Monday through Friday Mr. Harvey shared his commentary on the affairs of the world in his News and Comment. At the end of each weekday broadcast he would sign off with a chipper, “Good day.” On Saturdays he shared The Rest of the Story. After telling an always impactful version of one adventure, discovery, or invention, The Rest of the Story was always smartly summarized with, “And that’s the rest of the story.” The reliability of his demeanor made him more than a voice on the radio. He became someone I felt I knew. He became someone who was an active part of my life. He was like family. Continue reading “I Miss Paul Harvey”→
Do you ever worry about kids listening to the lyrics of contemporary music? I do, but sometimes the translations of lyrics by kids makes life worth living.
Luke Bryan is questioning my intents with this post
Our county fair was this week and each of my children invited a friend to go with us. As we drove to the fair, my kids requested Luke Bryan’s “Shake It For Me.” Granted this song is not really controversial but may not necessarily be okay for little kids, as it suggests that the shaking of one’s behind is the way to a man’s heart. (I still love you, Luke Bryan.)
“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.
What if you wrote a book? Would it be fiction or nonfiction? Would it be funny? Would it be a suspense-filled mystery? Would it be a romance novel? Would your book be a children’s classic or a self-help for struggling parents? Would you write your autobiography (a story of you)? What if you wrote a book?
This past weekend I had an amazing day with two of my sisters and our activities (of course) included a delicious and relaxing lunch. At our meal, I told my sisters of my goal to finally being writing the manuscript for a book idea that has been moldering around in my mind for awhile now. They were supportive and joked about if the book were about us.
In the book about us, each sister would get a chapter. My youngest sister’s chapter was titled something like, “We only had two beers, but I swear we were talking to an Angel named Holly and then he was gone.” (There is a story behind this title that will appear in a future blog post. Promise!) The other chapters are still to be determined but A LOT of great brainstorming went on with our second glass of wine.
I have written a few children’s mysteries and have gone so far as to talk to some artist friends about illustrating with me, but never pulled the trigger on getting those books out. I know there will be a time and a place for them in my writing future. Continue reading “What if You Wrote a Book?”→
As I am apt to do, I recently shared a photo with my class of something cool that happened at my home.
To my shock and dismay, two of the students paid no attention to the awesomeness I was trying to show them and were fixated on the idea that I have a dictionary lying around on my counter. The dictionary was in the background of my photo and clearly not the focus, but the class discussion quickly shifted to my frequent use of a dictionary.
What’s wrong with a dictionary?
“Oh, it’s just because you’re a teacher,” they said.
“Just look it up on your phone,” was another’s contribution to the discussion.
“I am too stupid to use a dictionary,” was the statement that broke my educational camel back.
No one is too stupid to use a dictionary (or any other education tool for that matter!)
I reminded my students that they are in COLLEGE now. They surely must possess some intelligence and understanding of how to use the resources that are available. We went on to identify times in their lives when they sought knowledge and successfully found what they needed to gain that information. If nothing else, it was a lesson in self-esteem.
In our daily lives, we often forget about the resources that are there for us. So many free and willing tools stand at the ready to serve. Our independent spirits and stubbornness inhibit us from making sound use of those tools. Continue reading “What’s Wrong With a Dictionary?”→