First: 10 things you probably didn't know about me:
*I was a military brat. I think my ability to adapt to new situations is a direct result of regular moves during my childhood years. I also learned to be good friends with my siblings because of the many moves. Many times (leave this one alone), they were my ONLY friends :)
*I was a tomboy. If there was a game on, I was in it; football, hockey, baseball, red rover. I remember so clearly how it sucked that girls growing up during my era could not dream about being a professional athlete (other than golf or tennis which required rich parents, which I didn't have )
*I married my high school sweetheart. Our first date was on my birthday and he bought me a necklace and earrings. What a keeper!
*I have four adult children (now there's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one). They are all happily married and are responsible for our amazing grandkids; Elizabeth (9), Kai (5), Austen (16 mos.), Ava (16 mos) and Nico (6 months).
*I had no university until after our four children were born. My husband talked me into giving university a go and I started my teaching career at 34 years old. From my first course to the end of my Masters degree took me 21 years with only 1 summer off from coursework. It was ALL worth it!
*I would love to have an old home with a big garden, a great tree for climbing, a large front porch and big windows (that someone else would clean) for the sun to shine through.
*My BEST holiday ever was a bike tour of Southern Ireland. My husband and I did this to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
*This summer I will go to Haida Gwaii and cross that off my bucket list.
*Really? Is that only 8? Hmmm. . . . I could read books 24/7. In fact I do.
*We have plans to do extensive travelling but I think the holiday I look forward to the most is the one we will take (some time in the future) with all of our family. There, that's 10, not interesting, but 10~
1. What was the biggest AHA moment that changed you as an educator?Without doubt the biggest AHA moment I had as an educator came while participating in Diane Gossen's workshops, Restitution: Creating the Conditions for Change. The big shift was viewing discipline as something done 'to' another person in order to control them to viewing discipline as an opportunity for empowering students/adults to fix the mistake (because we ALL make mistakes). If the solution to the problem doesn't make the individual stronger, then it's not a solution. If it's easy to do, it's not a solution.
I wouldn't say that our family has any special traditions. We spend a lot of time together out of choice. I love the time we have with our grown children, their spouses and our grandchildren. We have four adult children and they all have family and they all have busy lives. That they choose to spend the free time they do have with us is an honor we don't take lightly. We help each other out when we can. We holiday together when we can. We share our problems and our successes and I believe we all make each other stronger because we know our love is unconditional with each other.
YIKES! Chris Wejr, did you really just ask me this question? Now that I've over-reacted, I will say that I love to honor the gifts that all children bring into our lives, inside of school and out. If the honouring is sincere then yes, I do like it. I think on-going legitimate praise and recognition are more valuable than one big ceremony. I think taking a child aside and recognizing the gifts they share with us at that moment, is more effective and meaningful than award ceremonies. There, now I can breathe again. That question just riles me up!!
4. Left or right handed?
When I'm adventurous or pushing my creative limits I try left-handed. If I don't want to hurt myself I use my right hand. I love it that my son brushes his teeth and shaves with his left hand. Now that's living on the edge. I love it that when my daughter was in grade 12 and got tendonitis in her shooting hand (basketball), she simply switched to her left hand. No problem. Me? I may as well cut off my left arm :)
"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills." This just makes me close my eyes and feel the power that people who make these choices in life must have. Followed closely by, "There was a wandering Chinese named Chang Wan…and a girl named Shirley who spoke perfect Chinese which she learned from her missionary parents. Chang Wan lived alone in a room on Formosa Street above the Blue Lantern, and he sat at his window and in his poor, listening heart strange echoes of his home country." Storytelling, what an art!
6. If someone has to share a concern with you, what is the best way to do it?
Straight up! No beating around the bush! Get right to it and let's see if/how we can solve it.
7. If you could retire tomorrow (or are already retired) how would (or do) you spend your time?Spending time with family and then travelling, reading, golfing, creating, knitting, biking, reading, creating, cooking, reading, travelling, reading, hugging my wee ones, reading and travelling. Not necessarily in that order :)
8. In your final days/minutes, when you about to take your last breath, and you think back to all that you have done or going to do… you will be most proud of
MY FAMILY and my passion for life. I don't tend to do things, feel things, see things, experience things in small ways. I love this quote, "Never touch anything with half of your heart". I'm not always easy to live with because of this but, oh well!
The one that's closest to me! Seriously, I consume books. I LOVE books. Next on my list? To Dance on Sands: The Life and Art of Death Valley's Marta Becket. Now THIS was a passionate woman who danced to feed her own soul! Also, maybe Dream Big Dreams, The Jack Donahue Story.
10. Describe a moment on social media stands out to you as something that has had a significantly positive impact to you or someone else?
I LOVE Social Media. For me, that mostly means Facebook. The number of articles and creative ideas and powerful moments that I have witnessed because someone shared them on FB is incredible. Now, the BEST one (aside from TED Talks) that someone shared with me was the documentary called, I Am, by Tom Shadyac. A must-see!
11. How do you make the time to be quiet, still and alone?
I'm working on this one. Other than when I'm reading, I don't really do "still" very well. I like to have lots to do and I am a busy person. The other time I'm "kind of" still is when I am creating. I did not know I had an artist within me until I was in my middle 40's. I have learned to honor that artist and love to journal, paint, create statues from t-shirts (yes, it's true, stinky old b-ball t-shirts into beautiful statues) and I am an on-going student of meditation. Now that I'm retired and have a lot of free time I am able to practice 'still' but it is definitely a 'work in progress'. These are my wee ones and a couple of my statues. ENJOY!