This I Believe

Nan - Port Townsend, Washington
Entered on October 15, 2006
Age Group: 65+

Life is a blessing and I believe that time and health are gifts that change our lives. When my father died in 1974 he was only 58 years old. I realized the night that he died how fragile life can be. I thought my father would get better after he had triple bypass surgery and each day he spent in the intensive care unit I believed he would gain back his strength and return home.

So after the funeral and the days of sitting “Shiva”, which is how people of Jewish faith go through the grief period, I decided to move to Vermont with my young son and teach pre-school children. I believe that children learn by doing as well as by trying different ways of looking at life. At the age of thirty I learned another way to live. By moving to a small town in northern Vermont I had to make new friends, adjust to a colder climate and begin another chapter in my journey as a single mother and teacher.

My father’s death inspired me to take a risk and depend on myself and to make sensible decisions. This was a an invaluable lesson for me since I had always depended upon my father for his advise and approval. Through relocating and starting a new career in compensatory education I’d given myself a wider window of opportunity to for my son and myself.

In my family we were taught to honor our parents and to respect their wishes. So now I still keep my father’s legacy alive by hard work, honest friendships, and purposeful activities. I believe in remembering people and keeping their light alive.

I also believe that each person has a story within their heart and mind. I know that if I meet each individual in an open, honest way I will learn the beauty and uniqueness of that woman or man. In this way I learn to see the inner beauty and strength of human beings.

I believe that honesty and integrity are characteristics that can be nurtured and developed through parents and teachers. As a I woman I realize the vital importance of early childhood education. When children begin to trust the world they have the potential to become bright lights and our most treasured resources. If we give students challenging opportunities, cognitive skills and the right values, we can make the community a safer, kinder place to live, work and grow.