This I Believe

Anne - Starkville, Mississippi
Entered on August 7, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of modeling, and I don’t mean the runway kind. I have benefitted from some good examples in my life and try to do the same for others. My parents were and continue to be an inspiration to me individually and as a married couple. My father and mother had their own careers (when working moms were rare) and demonstrated how hard work and a positive attitude can build character. By virtue of living under the same roof (and by their rules), I have a good idea of how to treat my own kids. Coincidentally, they had three children and so do I.. I am amazed by the challenge of parenthood…trying to recognize and nurture the uniqueness of each child and the skill that takes. But models have helped me in other ways as well….Like many other baby boomer kids, I was sent out to play for whole summers at a time. This of course, we did without parental supervision, but oftentimes formal lessons were arranged to teach us the basics. So off to the Green River for swimming lessons I went…the worst possible site for allaying hydrophobia. Into the murky water I flailed and swam and ultimately learned to dive, thanks to my swimming instructor (likely no more than a few years older than me). Chris Evert and Billie Jean King taught me to volley and hit backhand shots consistently and Nancy Lopez was my guide for putting. Billy Kidd and Jean Claude Killy were my favorite instructors for the downhill slalom races I would compete in on the weekends with my friends. And Eleanor Garber and Elizabeth Baron could not have been more different in age and style, but as my junior high math and English teachers they were ahead of their time in offering career advice and off the scale on inspiration. So who have we today to teach our kids a good lesson or two? Well, now that I’m a teacher, I hope the fact that I am a reasonably well adjusted working mom offers hope. That I got married later in life and had children much later still (while some of my students were pregnant at the same time) demonstrated it is possible to enjoy parenthood after your twenties and into your forties. That my swim suit, tennis racquets, and golf clubs have a permanent spot in the “way back” of my car, illustrates a lifelong love of sports and the joy of healthy living. Oh yea, and the three car seats in my “soccer mom” mini-van, offer the most important message of all. Protect those you love and be a life long model for them.