“Your” Children

Dandelion Watercolor

One of the biggest lessons in life I’ve had to unlearn is that my children are “mine.”

Gibran’s words are plain and true:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

Kahlil Gibran

Too many parents believe their children are a reflection of themselves. Our job as parents is to provide nourishment and safety for these souls. But they are whole people already – we do not – SHOULD not – impose our dreams on them.


Writing prompt: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Student: This prompt makes me sad. Because I don’t know. My parents tell me I must be either be an engineer or a doctor. I cannot have a job that pays less than that.

Teacher: Well, let’s say your parents tell you that you can pursue ANY profession that you want. What would it be?

Student: I don’t know…I don’t know, because I’ve never even thought of it.

Why do parents tell their kids how to live your lives when they have their own?


By the way, Gibran never had children. Maybe he could be this wise because he had the distance necessary to see the whole picture.








Want to be a Millionaire?


W is for Wealth and Wisdom*

What I know through years of experience:



*Part of my alphabiography project



Let ’em Go


One day, a mother took her four year old and five year old daughters to their Montessori preschool. She apologized to the teacher for being late, and explained that it took some time to get her kids dressed.

“Why don’t you let them dress themselves?” The teacher asked.

“They’d look like disasters! Nothing would match.”


The mother thought about it. She decided to let them dress themselves. Thegirls wore odd things: sweaters with light pants, short-sleeved shirts with boots…but eventually, each daughter forged her own style. The girls laughed loudly, and they walked proudly. It was clear that each girl was her own person.

It was challenging for the mom. She wanted to help them so many times. “Relax.They’re doing great!” The father said.


As the girls grew, their mother made mistakes. She got some things right, but she learned that “letting go” was her biggest challenge. She noticed that they learned lessons most effectively through mistakes: forgetting an instrument at home and having points deducted at school taught them to plan the night before. When they didn’t eat well, they felt sick and chose to eat better next time.

Everyone – the father, the mother and the kids – are still learning. And it’s all good.




A 10 Year old Says…



One of the questions on our last 5th grade social studies quiz was, “How can we, as Americans, ensure equal rights for everyone?” This was on the heels of learning about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement (literary study: The Watsons Go to Birmingham).

Most of my students answered, “Treat everyone like we’d like to be treated,”  or “remind everyone about the Constitution.”

But one student wrote:

We could start an activity or sports program where EVERYONE was invited. People of all races would play together and while they played and made friends with each other, they would see we are all the same and racism would be gone.


If you’re feeling discouraged, by recent racist rhetoric from a small group of small-minded people, remember there are a lot of good people out there. Our children are wise.


“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”  Lily Tomlin

I love teaching, educating, inspiring students through field trips. Students (especially low income ones) need to get out into the world and meet new people.  They need to explore. However, I can’t stand being on the bus to and from our destination. The screaming, the singing and the physical jostling – ugh!   I have learned  a couple coping techniques from years of experience, but I still believe teachers should be chaperoned separately, in a quiet car with our beverage of choice. The adult chaperones on the bus with the kids should be those people who say teaching is easy and that class size doesn’t matter.

On our bus ride to Arizona State University for a science expo, I allowed my class to board the bus first and then I got on. I stood at the front, assessed the situation, rearranged a couple kids to help minimize noise and “issues” and then took a seat near the front. Fortunately, sixth graders do NOT believe it’s cool to sit next to the teacher. Ah, a seat to myself!  The other sixth grade teacher, Mr. Ash was relatively new to teaching. I noted him sitting in the middle of the bus, between his class and mine, sharing a seat with a boy.  Mr. Ash is a super nice, tall man with big brown doe eyes. Throughout our ten week stint together, he constantly reflected on his work, noting what was working and what wasn’t. I liked that.

As we rolled down the freeway, one of my students asked me to turn the music up. It was so loud with sixth grade chatter, I didn’t even know the radio was on. “Don’t you think it’s loud enough in here?” He begged and gave me the prayer hands. I asked the driver, “Do you think you could turn the radio up a little? You’re the driver, if you don’t want to, it’s totally up to you.” Safety first!

The driver complied with no expression on his face. His eyes never left the road as his chubby fingers dialed the volume up. Instantly, the entire busload of students was singing at the top of their lungs:

“Your sex takes me to paradise, yes your sex takes me to paradise and it shows, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!”

I was at once mortified and amused. I looked back at Mr. Ash, his face in his hands.