Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Bit of Mother’s Day Inspiration

It has been a long Mother’s Day (spending the morning having “Mommy and me” time with my mom, the afternoon with my family, and a quick trip out of town in the evening), but I would be remiss if I didn’t post on Mother’s Day.
So Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, which includes moms, grand moms, great grandmoms, godmoms, and village moms (no children of your own but key members of the village it takes to raise our kids) out there. Hope you had some time during the day when a loved one said or did something to say “Thanks” for all that you do. And you do a lot.

Can’t resist including a few poems and quotes on motherhood to celebrate the day.

First, a favorite, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes. My mom used to quote the first line to me regularly in response to my complaining that some task or assignment was too hard. Sometimes she’d say it sweetly, sometimes wryly, sometimes in a joking manner, but it never failed to remind me that hard didn’t mean impossible.

Mother to Son
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Here’s a well-known poem which extolls the power of motherhood:

They say that man is mighty,
He governs land and sea,
He wields a mighty spectre,
O’er lesser powers that be,
But a mightier power and stronger,
Man from his throne has hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle,
Is the hand that rocks the world.

William Ross Williams

A couple of thoughtful quotes on parenting:

“A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her. They must be the most important thing in her life, but if she is the most important thing in theirs, she has failed.”
― Erin Kelly, The Burning Air

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one. -Jill Churchill

And finally, “The Parent”, by Ogden Nash, which can bring a smile to our faces when we are too through with our children:

The Parent
Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,
 And that’s what parents were created for.

Hope all you Moms had a great day!

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Filed under Holidays, Parents

Today is National Teacher Day!

It is National Teacher Day! Let’s take a few moments to think about special teachers who have influenced our lives and the lives of our children.

My favorite teacher from my elementary school was Mrs. Portia Paterson of Public School 116 in Queens, New York. Mrs. Paterson was my third grade teacher, and even though third grade was a ridiculously long time ago for me, I can still easily remember her warm, sweet nature, her expectations of best efforts and success from her students, and how much I looked forward to every day in her class. She was (and still is) married to attorney Basil Paterson, a New York City and State political leader. Basil Paterson was a colleague and friend of my late father, and it was especially thrilling to see Mrs. Paterson every once in a while away from school. Mrs. Paterson was my first African-African teacher, and she and her husband were great role models for our third grade class. I still run into her every so often now and it is still thrilling to see her and give her a hug. Thanks Mrs. Paterson!

Ms. Eliza Kuberska of Hunter College High School immediately comes to mind when I think about my children’s special teachers. She was my daughter’s seventh grade honors math teacher. Ms. Kuberska LOVES math, and her enthusiasm for the subject and her students was unending and irresistible. She is Polish, and while her command of English was flawless, her quick wit was delivered with an adorable accent. I went to see her to talk about a segment of the class my daughter was struggling with, and to talk generally about how we could help my daughter feel less anxious about taking tests (and do better on them). After I poured out my concerns about quelling my daughter’s anxiety, Ms. Kuberska responded with a mischievous grin: “I know what I must do. I must make more scary tests! Lots of scary tests. This will be good for her.” She smiled at my horrified expression (this certainly was not the answer I was looking for) and explained that if she gave more tests, the import of each would be less, and the class would be less focused on the grades and more on mastering the material. By learning to tackle and conquer “scary tests”‘ (which they would go over in great detail during and after class), she explained, it would give my daughter the confidence to approach difficult looking new material.

I walked away from that conversation convinced I had succeeded in dashing any hope my daughter had in improving in math. More scary tests–yikes. But Ms. Kuberska was right. She cheerily gave the class more tests and quizzes, assuring them that the goal was to learn, and that they were being given more chances to make sure they understood the material. With her help and enthusiastic support, my daughter succeeded in her math class. Thanks in part to those scary tests, she went on to excel in honors math throughout high school. It was a pleasure to watch Ms. Kuberska in action. Thanks Ms. Kuberska!

GCP readers, in honor of National Teacher Day, tell us about your favorite teachers. The favorites you had and the ones you loved for your children. We want to hear your stories! And if you are in your son’s (or daughter’s) school today, make a special effort to greet and thank a teacher whom you admire and appreciate. As we all know, their work is vitally important and invaluable.

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Filed under Ages 0-5, Ages 13-15, Ages 16-18, Ages 5-7, Ages 8-12