How Do You Measure the Value of a Life?

sol

It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt.

I will never understand how one person can kill another. This has weighed heavily on me since the disappearance of four young Bucks County men (ages 18-22) and the subsequent discovery of their remains. I did not know any of these men or their families personally, but it did not stop me from shedding a few tears.

By now this story has been splashed across national news – mystery murder in bucolic Bucks County PA. A 20-year-old man and his cousin lured each victim to a secluded farm in Solebury township. I will spare you the gory details, but they can be found on local Philadelphia television channel websites. Each of these young men thought they were going to buy some marijuana. Each met with their demise.

For over a week now details have emerged in news outlets and on Facebook. I don’t know what is more troubling – the timetable of terrible details or the comment threads. People have taken it upon themselves to be judge and jury. Since the men were buying marijuana they have been made out to be drug dealers and derelicts who “got what they deserved.”

As I said, I didn’t know these victims. It is easy to second guess and conjecture, but I subscribe to the “Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone” philosophy. What I do know is that each of them made a poor choice that led to unimaginable consequences. What I do know is that they were sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews, friends. They did not deserve to die for making a poor choice no matter what some self-proclaimed Facebook guru spouts out.

How do we reach our young people? How do we get them to realize that this life we move through each day is not a video game. People kill! They use guns and knives, drugs and words, but is ultimately people killing each other.

Grief

Grief   sol

I miss my mom.  My mother is still living, but living in the world of dementia.  Don’t get me wrong, I visit my mom almost once a week, but it is different.  Our time is spent looking at pictures and trying to remember each person.  Gone is the mom who I could vent to and know that my words would be locked in her vault – never telling my secrets.  Gone is the mom who I could go to and ask for prayers.  She said a 52 day rosary novena that was literally a “stairway to heaven”.  If you needed something from our higher power, you definitely put it on Lucy’s novena list.  Eventually your prayers were answered.  Gone is the mom who would tell me that everything would be alright. I miss my mom!

I am lucky in that I have a great support system made up of my kids and my siblings and their significant others.  I know I can go to them with anything, and they would do their best to give me what I need – an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or a night to just get away from it all.  But all of a sudden I miss my mom!

You see a little over two weeks ago, my husband lost his job.  It was very unexpected.  There is no need to spell out all the details, but it is the first time he has been out of work since 1994.  That year we closed a failing business without knowing what would come next. It was scary, but it all worked out. But we were 23 years younger then, and jobs are easier to come by when you are 38 then when you are 61.  I miss my mom!

I know in my heart that this too shall pass and somehow things will work out.  After all, “everything happens for a reason.”  My husband and I have weathered many twists and turns in our 37 years of wedded bliss.  He leans on me.  I lean on him.  He is my heart and soul.

I really do miss my mom, but I just let the memory of her words splash over me and remind me not to worry so much.  Maybe it’s time I took out my rosary beads.

 

 

 

 

I Got Published!

solSOL Tuesday

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for a public and have no self. ~Cyril Connolly

A while back I wrote a blog post for the PA Writing and Literature Project on why I teach.  I was very excited to have it posted on Project’s blog.  Last week that post was selected to be posted on Workerstories.org.

I did originally write that post for myself and was not worried about having a public, but if I am to be totally honest…. I LOVE THAT IT IS GOING PUBLIC AGAIN!

I  put a link to the piece below.

I Am a Teacher

Play Ball!

solPhillies

#SOL Tuesday

Baseball was, is, and always will be to me the best game in the world.  ~ Babe Ruth

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the whole year – opening day of baseball season.  Usually, I have a countdown to opening day hanging outside my classroom door. Beginning on the first day of spring training I would change the number each morning to indicate how many days I had to wait until I would see my beloved Philadelphia Phillies return to the diamond. This year my preoccupation with my walker and fracture took my attention – no sign out front, but I was secretly counting in my mind. I couldn’t wait to get home to settle in my seat in front of the TV to watch the game.  I am happy to report that the Phillies won game one of their 162 game season!

Baseball reminds me of days gone by.  Growing up we could not watch the Phillies on TV unless they were playing out of town. Home games were not televised, so we would listen to the games on radio.  My oldest memory is of Richie Ashburn and By Saam calling the games. Then Harry Kalas joined the mix in the 70’s. These games were the soundtrack of summer.

If we weren’t listening to the games, we were at the local playground watching my brothers play baseball.  Of course those were the days before girls were allowed to play sports. We eat dinner very early, so we could all get to the field in time for batting practice.  My dad was often the coach of one of their teams.  I learned the game by sitting in the stands all those years.

Later, I was in the stands again, only this time I was watching my kids play baseball or softball.  Again, we would eat dinner early and head out to the field as a family.  We cheered on the players until the sun began to set, and it got too dark to play.

 

Baseball is America’s game.  I know that there are many who would argue that football is the game, but I disagree. Some people think that baseball is too slow.  I think it is relaxing.  It gives you time to unwind and enjoy yourself.  Baseball may not be your game, but it certainly is my game.

Loving Leaners

sol#SOL17 Day 31                                       31-day-streak-with-border

Teachers have three loves; love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together. ~ Scoot Hayden

Today is the last day of the 2017 Slice of Life Challenge. I joined this group for the second time and have just as inpsired by everyone’s posts as I was last year.  Thank you for inspiring me!

“Have I told you lately that I love you?”  This Rod Stewart quote makes me think of my current 7th grade classes.  I. LOVE. THEM.  I will be so sad to see them move up to 8th grade next year.  While I always like the students who sit before me each year, once in a while you get an extra special group. This year I have one of those extra special groups.

What makes them so special you ask? They are hard-working, they complete their assignments (for the most part), they are fun to be around, but most importantly, they love learning.  They are not afraid to ask questions.  They attack assignments without groaning.  They are just a joy. When we are independently reading, they are all independently reading.  When we are working on a writing project, they are all writing; they are all in.

They are currently working on an Indpendent Writing Project, and through it we are living the writer’s life.  They have chosen a topic and a genre. They have written  a “proposel” and presented it to me for approval.  They meet with me once week to check in on progress and to make revision suggestions.  They are full of excitment and enthusiasm.  Some of the products they are planning are:  ABC books, magazine articles, cookbooks, personal essays, short stories, and more. I am looking forward to sharing their success.

This group of middle schoolers are genuinely kind and considerate.  Don’t get me wrong – they are middle schoolers, and they make mistakes, but they are truly sorry when they step out of line.  There is not a “Smart Aleck” among them.

They make me a better teacher.  I look forward to each day and what new discoveries will unfold.  I am constantly looking for ways to step up my game so to speak and create new challenges for them to explore. I hope they will look back fondly on this year as they move on.  I hope they will remember that I always valued the student and the learning more than the grade on the paper.

Thank you class of 2018.  You have a special place in my heart.

 

Tired

sol#SOL17 Day 30

I’m just tired; I just want the world to be quiet for a bit. ~livelifehappy.com

I am tired:

  • of people who make excuses
  • of indoor recess
  • of always feeling tired
  • of being on this walker
  • of never knowing what day of the week it is
  • of not having enough time to read
  • of seemingly never ending laundry
  • of disturbing television news
  • of unmatchable socks
  • of people who talk more than they listen
  • of complainers
  • of people who don’t understand middle schoolers

I am so tired.

Good night! Continue reading

Book Club Friends

sol#SOL17 Day 29                          friendship-quotes-3

 

Tonight I had book club.  It was my turn to host, but since I am still on the walker, my good friend and neighbor hosted for me.  My fabulous husband took care of getting all the snacks and beverages and took them over to her house last night.

There are ten women in our club, and we are known as the Chapter Chicks.  We have been together since February 2004 when we started out with four of us and we read The Five People You Meet In Heaven.  Soon we grew to ten.  We meet about 10 times a year, and whoever hosts picks the book.  We have some favorite books and some stinkers.  We have some members who always read the books and some who hardly read.  We have some nights when we really discuss the book, and some where we discuss everything but the book.

Tonight we celebrated two milestone birthdays – a 60th and an 80th.  I believe the youngest member is about 55. Although not everyone is always present, we are all always there in spirit.  We have been through a lot as a group – the death of a spouse, the death of parents, health problems of spouses, graduations, weddings of children, then grandchildren.  Some of us have moved; some have retired.

What I know is that if one of needs something the rest of us would do anything we could to help.  I am so thankful for the friendship of these women.