This weekend I am visiting my Mother in southern Iowa. She turns 95 this May. It is amazing to me that some of us bless this world for a few short years and others are here for almost a century. Life brings us so many different ways of life. We need to grab hold of each moment – even if those are 100 years of moments.
She was a lady of high energy and always in service to others. Not to say that she didn’t have her grumpy side but usually she was doing something for someone else. Her growing up and education was filled with reading, writing, math but also so much more.
She sang and ran a radio program when she was young. She taught music in the public schools, managed a pre- school for physically handicapped pre schoolers. She worked and supported the volunteer organization that matched people, and skills with those in need. Think diverse skills here!
These were her jobs – then we have the church work, her garden, work for the local museum, the choirs she sang in, the three children she raised and sent to college, the clothes she hand made, the food she canned, the donuts she made, the salt water taffy. The list could go on.
Now nearing 95 with last stage Parkinson’s disease she sleeps most of the day. She loves taking rides out to see gardens in town, to watch the birds (today we saw 15 bald eagles flying over the Mississippi river) and listen to music. Reading has been taken from her, her hands can no longer sew and most movements are difficult. Her active life has slowed down to a few moments of joy – plants, music, nature, being read to and family.
It made me wonder about our students who are not given a wide choice of experiences. They live in poverty and spend the time at home in front of a screen, and food from a package. At school they are funneled into reading or math to be ready for a test.
But life is not a test.
- What are the moment of joy these children hold and will hold in the future?
- What are the activities, events and hobbies that they are learning?
- What skills are we fostering each day in our classrooms?
Are we providing rich learning for our students?