Yesterday was Father’s Day and I began thinking about my Daddy and the influence he’s had on my life. Kenneth English was born in Carthage, Texas on October 11, 1934 which makes him 80 years old. He was one of ten children born to poor farmers who worked land they didn’t own. With only a third grade education, he joined the Army when he was 15 years old and later served a term in the Marines, too. At some point, he got his GED. When my mom met him, he was a fireman and I was not even two years old. (My biological father had been a police officer killed in the line of duty when I was only six months old, but that is story for another day.)
They married March 1, 1963. I was two years old. He officially adopted me and gave me his last name, English. My sister came along when I was seven. When I was around 8, he began taking college courses while working full time as a police officer. When he received his Bachelor’s degree, he began teaching Police Science at a community college. Always a hard worker, in the summers he would take on a second job. One summer he worked at Chief Auto Parts and for several summers he mowed the lawn at the State School.
He instilled in us a love for education, the value of hard work, and the importance of honesty and integrity. He was a hard man to live with. The things he’d seen as a police officer made him worry about everything. As a teenager if I wanted to go out with a group after church, he would ask a million questions and question my motives. Often we would get into arguments as I would get mad at his questions, feeling he didn’t trust me – not understanding the things he’d witnessed that made him fear for my safety. It wasn’t until I was much older with kids of my own that I began to understand a little of why he is the way he is.
His students at the college loved him. They said he was witty, funny and caring. Looking back it’s sad that at home we really didn’t see that side of him too much. I really believe he felt he was protecting us. We did and still do know that he loves us and wants the best for us.
As a young adult I made some wrong choices and found myself at age 33 divorced with two young children and no degree. I believe it is due to my Daddy’s influence that helped me make my decision to return to school and get my teaching degree. He also kept pushing me to go back to school and get my Master’s degree in Education Administration which I now have.
We have the best relationship that we’ve ever had now. And my sister and I both give credit to him for our higher education. He pulled himself up from a poor family with only a third grade education and retired as a respected college instructor. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you!
I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. Chapter five deals with how powerful Story can be for learners.Pink talks about how “Stories are easier to remember – because in many ways, stories are how we remember (Pink 223).” I started thinking about how true that really is and not just for students. Just think of all the commercials that use Story to heighten an emotional response. Here are a just a few that I really liked: Chipotle “Back to the Start”, Jeep Renegade, and Zillow. The Zillow one almost made me cry. The advertising market has definitely embraced the idea of the power of the story.
I remember in college studying Joseph Campbell’s work on “the hero’s journey” and archetypes. His book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, written in 1949 fits well with this discussion. His work addresses how all stories from all people have similar threads in them and ties humankind together. Hmmm….back in 1949…and today’s advertisers think they’ve discovered something…In actuality, the power of the story began way before even 1949.
Jesus Christ used parables to connect to the people he was addressing. Those stories still resonate with us today. Time after time Jesus used powerful parables and metaphors to share his story of love and grace.
As educators, I believe the power of the story has great significance for us. As we design engaging lessons for students, we should keep in mind the power of the story. Would love to see some comments on ways to do this! Here are a few I have thought of:
Tell the background story of how something was made or came about.
Tell a personal story of how whatever you are teaching has affected you.
Have students write stories to explain whatever you are teaching.
In English classes have students write their own stories.
As an educator, I look forward to summer! For a few months I’ll be able to play the role of “stay-at-home-Memaw” to my almost three year old granddaughter, Chloe. We have a unique situation…we keep her every week-end and all holidays. I’ll have her for most of the summer. She has a big personality…which can be both good and bad. This first week with her has been fun. Now, if I can just convince her to poop in the potty, it will be perfect. She is completely potty-trained for #1, but she refuses to go #2 in the potty…I plan on doing some research…I’m open to suggestions…please :-)!
She really likes routine…and goes bonkers when her routine is not followed. For example, at bedtime, she takes a bath (as long as possible), then we go upstairs to her room. Every night she says, “I have to play for a little bit, Memaw”. Then, she sits at her little toy vanity and plays with the same things every night. She ends with her toy wand turning me into all kinds of animals of which I am obliged to mimic their sound. Next on the routine is to read a book. She will choose one book and ask me to read it night after night until I can convince her to move to a new book. Next, I sing Jesus loves me to her and then I pray for her. At this point every night she has to turn off the light and I lay her down and say one last “God Bless…” prayer. This is where we list everyone we know to “God Bless”. Finally, as I tiptoe out, she always says, “See you in a little bit, Memaw”. I’m not sure where she got that, but it sure is cute.
About a month ago, I wasn’t feeling well and was trying to take a nap while she watched cartoons. She began going through the routine starting with singing Jesus Loves Me and then praying. She ended with telling me she would see me in a little bit.
So the same to all of you – See you in a little bit!
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
This is my first attempt at a blog. My plan is to give you a little glimpse into my world. Topics may include: my family, my faith, education, books, recipes, etc.
Since this is the first one, let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 50+ (ugh that hurts to type) wife to a wonderful husband. Between the two of us, we have four children and one grandchild, my sweet Chloe. Chloe will definitely be the topic of many blogs. We have her quite a bit especially since it’s summer now. She’ll be staying with us most of the time as my son and his wife have a pool business and I have the next few months off. I am an Instructional Specialist at a middle school in Texas. Which leads me to another planned topic – education. I am a voracious reader and try to stay on top of the latest research in education. I am currently reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink and joining a Monday night Twitter Chat about the book. I’m learning “why right-brainers will rule the future.” Interesting stuff…I’ll share another time.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I sing in my church choir and teach middle school Sunday School. I am far from perfect, but I hope that my love for Christ and others shows in my life and my blog.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
All for now – until next time – keep loving each other!