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This One Life

This One Life

Right here. Right now. We have this one life. Most of us, if not all of us in America have choices.  In November 2010 I had a parent teacher conference with our youngest’s kindergarten teacher and her assistant/aide. It was pointed out to me that our child’s behavior was just fine.  That she appeared to be able to handle all assignments.  She participated in class well.  That she was inquisitive. However, then came the ‘BAD’ news.  Hopefully, you people reading this have just played the music that goes with ‘BAD’ news conundrum. I’m being snarky.

Over the years, when I’ve gone in for a parent-teacher conferences concerning our children. I really don’t care about their grades. I bring paper and pen. I have questions written down ahead of time. My questions go like so, “Does my child raise their hand when appropriate or are they rude?” “Do they interrupt you or disrupt the class?” “Is their behavior appropriate?” “Are they helpful, without being asked?” To me, it is mighty important to be kind to others.  It is mighty important to consider others and to be considerate.  Our children know that. It’s my number one rule.  Next is, ‘take care of your health’. Then, ‘do your homework’. I don’t care if it’s done wrong. So long, as you made a valiant ‘effort’.

Now, our oldest laughs in stating that her peers think I’m an ogre with her grades.  It’s because she does well.  So, her peers think its parental pressure.  Nope. The pressure was inadvertent when the children were babies.  It was, “You will spend time reading and being read to when you cannot yet read. And you will be read to every day.” No cable television has been allowed in our home. No easy way to cook or clean was shown. Such as no dishwasher, no microwave oven. Dad rakes. Maybe you’ll help him rake. He mows the lawn, walking back and forth over our farmer’s acre lot.  Maybe you’ll wash a dish or two. Please set the table two times a week. You kids can split that minor chore. We don’t pay you for chores. We give you money and see what you do with it. Maybe I’ll have you peel a carrot, or a yam or an apple when your five.  But I won’t force you, I’ll make you a deal.  Ohhhh, THE DEAL. 

First, I make certain you have five to ten books read to you per day. Mostly my doing.  Then, when you learn, you must read something every day, especially before the allotted forty-five minutes of television watching per day on the weekdays and as much as ninety minutes on the weekend days. Computers, you will work with me twenty minutes a day three days a week. That’s when your homework is done.  Reicher’s always do homework.  We’ve explained there is no excuse whatsoever to not do your homework. We’ve explained not doing your homework is not only disrespectful to your teachers, as well to your peers.  Never mind your parents who pay taxes into the public education system.  Yeah, even when they were young, I laid it on thick, with those thoughts.

So, now going back to the 2010 parent-teacher conference. The teacher violated my rule number one. I’ll explain.  Now, the ‘BAD’ news, our youngest she explained in front of her young not yet married assistant was, “She is too global thinking”. So, I inquired, “Too global? Hmmm. Tell me what you mean.” They responded, “She cares about others. We’ve never seen this in our class, to this level. She doesn’t think like the other children. They are more local thinkers.”  I replied, “Oh, so she’s a bit young for such thinking. Well, I emphasize kindness. It is one of the most important things in life that one can contribute.” The two looked at each other. Then the teacher sighed. I then added, “I’ll talk to her about it. But it is really okay with me, if it’s okay with her. I’ll ask her.” That was their complaint. And by the way two years before that was similar to that teacher’s complaint about our oldest child as well in November 2008.

Well, at some point over the next two years, I met a woman who knew the goings on concerning the education system in our town. She appeared nearly as an older non-judgmental person, who’d known much about our town. I asked her for her opinion on the comments passed near a year or two before from the kindergarten teacher. Basically, she mildly refrained from condemning the teacher, whom she knew.  She let me know, we needed more global thinkers.  And that it needed to be attended to at a young age.  This one life can make a difference in the world. If you let it.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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