I believe that one learns from life lessons as well as from books. There are many things that I have learned from books, but throughout my life there have been lessons that no one could have learned from a book.
Kindergarten and first grade were the beginnings of a world that I had never known before. I could not believe that someone was going to teach me to read, or write my “ABC’s” and “123’s”. I remember wondering why my older siblings did not like going to school. Were they nuts? We got lunch given to us, and we got to play on the awesome playground equipment. How could anyone not love the place? In first grade my teacher was the most beautiful lady that I had ever seen (with the exception of my mother). I can still recall the sweet smell of her perfume. Attending school for the first time was the first of many life-lessons.
Although I believed that my third grade teacher did not like me, I credit her with my love of reading. Every day she would read us a chapter or two from a book. My favorite was Charlotte’s Web; she made it come to life in my imagination. Years later, I used the same technique to instill a love of reading in my own children. Lesson twelve: I can learn something from everyone, even if we do not like each other.
The next several years were when my academics began to suffer, and my life experiences continued to teach their lessons. For instance: I remember teasing my sixth-grade teacher about the notes he wrote addressed to a female teacher. Later I learned that these two teachers had gotten married. Lesson forty-five: the realization that teachers had lives beyond their classrooms.
Seventh and eighth grades were quite frightening; I was sure that I would not like being at this new school. Some of the kids smoked cigarettes and talked about things that I had not heard before, and the language that some of them used would have gotten me a bar of soap at home. My academic learning instantly took a turn for the worse, but my life lessons continued.
By the time I entered high school I had fallen behind in so many areas that, academically, I was failing. Because I was young and naïve, I believed it when I was told that, since I was only going to be a wife and mother, I would not need a formal education. It took me years to realize that this life lesson was untrue, thus when my children were born I promised myself to never allow anyone to teach them that particular ill-fated life lesson.
Although at the age of forty-seven my life lessons still continue, I am attending North Central Michigan College focusing more attention on learning from books.
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