Last week I wrote about three great teachers who shaped my life and contributed to the person I am today. This week during Teacher Appreciation Week, I was grateful to our dedicated PTO for recognizing our great teachers at the Teacher Day luncheon. I also want to thank the kind and caring staff of our Audiology and Child Find Departments for spoiling us with a variety of chocolate delights on Monday. That being said, I am confident that our teaching staff felt honored and appreciated. Thank you to all who participated in honoring our teachers.
This week, I want to share with you about three other profound teachers who shaped my life but not one of them had a teaching degree. Not one was a licensed teacher. Not one graduated from a college of education. Yet every one was or is a superb teacher. I am talking about three special mothers and on this Mother’s Day weekend, I want to share with you how these ladies contributed to my success as an adult.
I was fortunate to be born into a family which valued education – often, perhaps usually, more than I did. My paternal grandmother graduated from Willamette University in the years preceding the Great Depression. Her father was the superintendent of the Oregon School for Boys (a reform school) and he doubtlessly passed on to my grandmother the importance of a college education. She married my grandfather (an English teacher) and they spent the early 1930’s teaching English in CCC and WPA camps in Idaho and Montana. My grandmother was a strict grammarian who delighted in correcting my errant subject/verb agreement, dangling participles and split infinitives. She was relentless in her search for grammatical errors, a nasty habit I am afraid I acquired. She was however a delightfully witty and erudite gal who taught me that words were fun (when used properly of course) and I owe her a great deal.
The second woman who shaped my life was my own dear mother. She was born to good Danish stock in the Salinas Valley of California in the early years of the Depression. Mom was by all accounts a straight A student who parlayed these good grades into a scholarship to Stanford where she met my dad. I can’t begin to describe the many things she taught me but the thing that stands out is the importance of family. Confidentially, I was not the best of students in high school and I am certain that poor mother wondered why I didn’t inherit her academic scholarship genes. I muddled through high school graduating in the top 50% but she never called me a slacker, and was always there to tell me and show me how much she loved me. She passed away in 1986 and I honor her on this Mother’s Day. I miss you mom!
The third woman I am related to by marriage. She has the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, and the charity of Mother Teresa. She has taught me that people are more important than things and that faith, hope, and love are the true virtues to strive for (or is “for which to be strived”?). My dear wife Lynn has been my best teacher and best friend. I particularly honor her this Mother’s Day. Not everyone has been as blessed as I have been to have been taught by such strong, noble women who loved me unconditionally. But I do believe most of us have someone in our lives worthy of honor and recognition on this Mother’s Day. I especially want to thank all of the Taylor moms, grandmas, aunts, and motherly figures who support our kids and school. Thanks also go out to all the moms who work at Taylor and make it a caring, compassionate place. I hope you all have a blessed Mom’s Day!