I went to two of my "growing up" homes last week in Illinois....the first in Jacksonville where my grandparents lived and where later I went to college, and the second in Western Springs, where my family lived for 6 years. Throughout the week and through many wonderful conversations with my sister and friends, I rediscovered (for the trillionth time) the values and traditions that shaped me. Some of these were embraced and some quite determinedly rejected - but all in some way a part of who I became.
My grade school friends and I visited our 6th grade teacher, Mr. Shinn, who still lives in Western Springs. Even now, 54 years later, he remembered a little something about each one of us - not about our academic ability or behavior - but who our families were, our friends, who we really were.
Anyway, I thought about my own teaching career and how my connections with home and parents effected my work with kids. If I didn't know the family very well - I really never knew the student very well, and the school year for both of us was somehow less successful. The "Mr. Shinn" connection isn't easily formed with families in shelters or dysfunctional homes, yet knowing where and how a child gets his world view can tell us how he or she learns. I'm grateful for the teachers who took the time to know a little about my family, and me.
So - I'm home again after visiting the other "homes" I once knew.
Be well today and always,