Grandma walked into the kitchen, and what did she see? There on the counter sat the toaster pulled out from its compartment, crumbs from toast scattered about, and ants scurrying to gather food for their nest. Grandma’s face began to get that mad look. She yelled, “Papa! Papa!”
“What?!” shouted Papa.
Even though Grandma loved Papa very much, she was not happy with his messy ways. Grandma in her angry voice, “Papa, you need to put things away after you use them. You need to clean up your crumbs after you eat. Look! The ants are all over the cupboard because you didn’t clean up!”
Even though Papa loved Grandma very much, he was not happy with her nagging ways. Papa smugly replied, “Well, the ants have to eat too!” Grandma was disgusted and said, “I hope one of these days the ants eat YOU!” Papa laughed loudly.
Grandma thought to herself, “I need to teach that Papa a lesson.” But how? She thought, and she thought, and she thought some more. Then it came to her.
Grandma got a jar. She went outside and tried to catch as many ants as she could. She was able to trap quite a few of the pesky critters. Then Grandma hid the jar. Later that day the grandkids came over to play. Papa was taking a nap. She whispered to them the story of Papa and the ants. Grandma told them about her plan and enlisted their help with the plot.
The grandkids went to work breaking up some bread into very tiny crumbs. Then they followed Grandma and watched as she began to lightly put crumbs all over Papa’s face and arms and legs. Each grandchild did their part and added lots of crumbs too.
You won’t believe what Grandma did next! She took the lid off from the jar, and she let those ants loose on Papa’s face, arms, legs, and belly! The ants were delighted, running here and there, grabbing breadcrumbs. They had hit the jackpot!
All the grandkids watched with delight as Papa began to twitch. The running of those little ant feet must have tickled. Papa even laughed a little in his sleep. He rubbed at his face, wiggled his arms, moved his legs about, and smacked at his belly. The grandkids put their hands over their mouths to keep from laughing out loud. Papa began to feel little nibbles all over his body. His eyes opened wide. He looked at his arms and legs. Papa jumped up like a wild man screaming, “I’m being eaten by ants! AAAgggghhhhhh!” Grandma and the grandkids burst into laughter. They laughed so hard that Grandma even had tears running down her cheeks.
Ohhhhh my, Papa was mad! He yelled, “Woman, what did you do?”
Grandma, still laughing, said, “I taught you a lesson.”
The moral of this story is – Clean up after yourself.
The grandkids helped Grandma clean up the breadcrumbs that had fallen on the floor and the little insects too. That was almost as much fun as watching Papa being eaten by ants!
This story was written for my grandkids during the virus,
April 9, 2020
Once upon a time there was an old Granny who loved her grandchildren oh so much. She would do anything to protect them. Granny loved her grandchildren to the moon and back.
Once upon a time there was a big bad wolf who loved to eat old grannies and their grandchildren. That wolf was very big and very bad! Everyone was afraid of him, and no one dared to be out and about when he was around.
One day as the grandchildren played at Granny’s house, they heard a peculiar growl. “What was that?’ asked Uri. They listened again and heard scratching at the door. The eyes of the grandchildren grew very wide, and they became afraid. Grandma saw their fear. She told them not to worry. She was not afraid of any big, bad wolf. Grandma said, “No one will hurt my grandchildren! No one!”
Oh no! The grandchildren could see that big, mean wolf peering through the window with his tongue hanging out. The grandchildren began to cry and hid behind their little, old granny. But that granny was brave and loved her grandchildren oh so much. The wolf began to laugh. He looked right at Granny and yelled, “Little Granny, Little Granny, let me come in!”
Granny looked him right in the eye through the window and said, “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!” The wolf answered back in a booming voice, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” He went to the door of the house. And that wolf huffed and puffed and blew the door down. The grandchildren were very frightened and clung to their Granny.
Granny stood at the door as it blew down. She put both hands on her hips and looked the wolf in the eyes. She pointed her teacher finger at the wolf and told him to get out or he would be poop. The wolf laughed at the old Granny. OHHHHH NOOOOO! The wolf started to come at Granny. Granny shouted to the wolf, “Put up your dukes! I’m about to twist your nose and pull out your toes!” That wolf just laughed and put up his dukes.
You should have seen Granny as she beat on that bad wolf. She hit him in the gut and kicked him in the butt. The grandchildren were amazed and started to scream, “Give him the hard elbow! Give him the hard elbow!” This was Granny’s killer move. So, Granny lifted that elbow and dug it into the shoulder of the mean, disgusting wolf. The wolf fell to the ground in great pain and scurried off out of sight.
That wolf was very persistent. He was not one to give up. But Granny was also persistent, and when it came to her grandchildren she would never give up. So, the final showdown was about to begin. That bruised and battered wolf came back. Granny needed a plan. She gathered her grandchildren into a circle around her. She whispered the plan into each of their ears. Granny gave each one a hug and told them how much she loved them.
Granny went to the cupboard. It was not bare. The cupboard was filled with cans of beans. She pulled out a can for each grandchild and one for herself. They ate quickly, gulping every, last bean. The Wolf was sneakily heading towards the door. Granny noticed his tail waving in the breeze. She looked at her grandchildren and asked, “Are you ready team?” They were afraid, but they knew what they had to do.
Granny looked at her grandchildren. She touched her eye. Then she touched her heart. And then she pointed at the grandchildren expressing her love for each, and every one. They slowly walked to the door. Grandma flung the door open and yelled, “Ready! (They all turned their backs to the wolf.) Aim! (They pointed their butts at that nasty wolf.) Fiiiiiiiire!”
The explosion was an explosion like no other. It blew the wolf to the other side of the world, and it was the end of the no good wolf. Teamwork had saved the day! Granny hugged each of her grandchildren. The grandchildren hugged Granny. Granny loved her grandchildren with all of her heart and soul. The grandchildren knew that with Granny around NO ONE would dare mess with any of them. They would always remember the day Granny fought the wolf and the explosion that set them free.
It was weeks before anyone could walk past Granny’s house because of the smell that surrounded it. But inside that house was the love of a Granny for her grandchildren.
Written for my grandchildren during the virus,
The playground is closed. It is surrounded by yellow tape like those used in a crime scene. The swings have been adjusted so there is no way children can play on them. Signs are everywhere telling children to keep off, the playground is closed. Silence is in the air. No child dares to enter.
So here we are, even the playgrounds are closed. It makes my heart sad. I know that it is necessary to do this, but it still brings up a sense of sadness. I think about the days when children could play with delight. They could swing, slide, climb, and explore the nooks and crannies of a playground. I can hear the laughter. I can hear the yells, “Watch me, look what I can do!” I can see them playing with friends, making plans, exchanging ideas, challenging one another… Oh, the joys of a playground.
For now, the playgrounds are closed. If we stay away, hopefully one day soon, children will once again enjoy their local playgrounds. Take care, my children. For now, run and jump and explore your own outdoor area. Discover all the wonderful and interesting things right in your own back yard. Shout to your parents/guardians to see what you have found. Yell to them to watch as you throw a ball in the air and catch it. Challenge them to a race around your house. Make plans for your next outdoor adventure in your own yard. I am sorry that you cannot play with friends during this time, but enjoy the opportunity to play with your family.
Take care, my children. One day the yellow tape will come down. The signs will be removed. The swings will be readjusted to fit as you sit down to swing. You will once again be able to slide, climb, and explore the playground with friends. The sounds of children playing on the playgrounds will once more fill the air.
For today, all playgrounds are closed.
This is my journal entry for March 30, 2020 – the time of the COVID-19 crisis.
Parents at home. Children at home. On-line learning. Some are asking, “Should I really teach my child at home?” Some are saying, “I can’t do this, it is too much.” Here are some points to think about when considering whether or not to “teach” at home.
I will address on-line learning first. This pertains to families that are being provided on-line teaching from their schools.
Now I will address families that do not have on-line services from their schools:
Parents/Guardians are their children’s most important teachers. What you do matters. It doesn’t mean you have to be a “classroom teacher”. It only means that you love your child and help them to be the best person they can be. For academics it is providing experiences that help children value learning and education. Being a good role model during this time is one of the most important things you can do. So enjoy and love your children. Value them and their learning. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Journal Entry, March 23, 2020
Today as I was doing my daily walk/run, I hear one of our gentleman neighbors calling out to me. He was working in his yard. “Hey, did you lose a glove?” I stopped (We were at least 6 feet apart; I thought I would clarify this.) I answered, “I don’t think so.”
“Well, I found a glove. I know you run every day, so I thought it might be yours. Do you have a leopard print glove?” I told him that I don’t own a leopard print glove so it must not be mine. He said, “Well I put it on top of the bush over there so if people walk by, they can see it. Maybe someone will find it.”
My neighbor then went on to tell me this story: “We just got back a few days ago from a trip to Gulf Shores. We were right on the beach. One day the police came along and told us that no one was allowed on the beach anymore due to the virus. They were going to give citations to anyone they found on the beach. They meant what they said. We saw them patrolling the beach. Soon no one was on the beach except the police. It was so strange. Then those people in Florida, they didn’t listen. They didn’t give a hoot what they said. They just continued to party on the beach.” We exchanged a few thoughts about the times. Then I continued on my short journey around the neighborhood.
Later in the day, I made a grocery list for my husband. He went to the store and came back with some of the items. He said, “No flour, no Velveeta cheese, no cleaning wipes…” We can make do; we are not hurting.
In the late afternoon, I could hear children playing outside. The sound of children playing, it is such a wonderful sound. It reminds us that there is still joy in the world. I love to hear the joyful shouts of children and to see them excited about playing outdoors.
In the evening, I check the news. The governor of Indiana has declared the state as “Stay at home”. So I have even more time to reflect and write. I did complete an on-line class on Universal Precautions.
I continue to pray for my son who is a pediatrician, my son who is working from home as a research chemical engineer, my daughter who is a teacher still planning and working with her students on-line. I pray for my husband, a pastor, who loves and cares for his people. He continues to serve as best he can. He continues to help those in need. I pray for my son-in-law who is a manager of a McDonald's and is still working. I pray for my daughters-in-law also both teachers. I pray for all of the small businesses. I pray for our nation. I pray for you – God bless each and every one of you.
It’s been a while! I haven’t written on my blog lately. Things have been very busy, and I just haven’t taken the time. The COVD-19 virus has had a way of slowing things down. I have a moment to reflect and write once again. I think to myself, what should I write about? I really have nothing important to say. I decided I would just take the advice of something I read on Facebook, take this opportunity to journal about our days. This is my journal entry from March 22, 2020.
It’s been a while! I started my day with a three mile walk/run through my neighborhood. Lately when I have done my daily routine, my thoughts have been filled with York preparations. Today I listened to the sounds of spring – the birds were chirping loudly to each other, singing beautiful songs. I noticed the wonder of nature and the signs of life all around me. Flowers are blooming. The trees are awakening from their winter naps; they are so majestic with all of their white blossoms. I pass one of my neighbors as she walks her dog on the other side of the street. We say hello to each other. She asks me if I am staying safe. I reply that I am trying. “How about you,” I ask. “The same,” she answers. “Crazy times,” she adds. I agreed. We continue on our ways. Except for the birds, all is quiet in our neighborhood as I complete my walk/run.
It’s been a while. I have only worshipped on-line when I have been sick and couldn’t make it to church. Even then, I could not listen to my own church because we did not have live streaming. Today as I prepare for worship (my church has managed to get the live streaming up and running), I get on my computer and find the site. I notice others beginning to sign on. It feels good to know that others are joining in worship with me. I see that one person writes, “I am sad and happy about this.” I understand. We are sad that we cannot be together in person to share in our love for the Lord and for each other. We are happy that we can still find a way to worship, even if it is not under the best of conditions. I listen to the music of praise; it touches my heart. I hear the message and take part in the liturgy. God has blessed me with the opportunity to worship with my congregation and others.
It’s been a while. York has been moving forward for months. Now I contemplate how to adjust and start again. With social distancing – Uri’s Journey cannot continue. So I decide on a new course – Journey of Love. Journey of Love provides young children with Bible stories and activities they can do at home. So I work on the next post for Journey of Love. Though I know that God has provided me with an opportunity to “be still”, and I know that my faith should keep me from worrying. I can’t help but think about all the progress we have made with York and what will happen to York with all the turmoil taking place. I pray for guidance and blessings. So I try to be still and have faith that all will work according to God’s plan. This is not easy for me.
It’s been a while. Normally on Sundays, my children and grandchildren that live close by join us for supper. Today my husband and I eat alone. We do talk to them by phone and text. But it is not the same as having them here to kiss and hug. We miss them. It’s so nice to have technology that allows you to see the faces of your loved ones when you are apart.
It’s been a while. The rest of the day is filled with things like cleaning the floors in my house; that hasn’t been done in a while. LOL! The other parts of my day are pretty normal. I do some wash. I watch some tv. I do some reading and posting on Facebook. I research education issues…
For all the kids out there, I look forward to one day reading some of your journal entries during this time of uncertainty. May God bless you and keep you!
There will be no discussion! This will not be discussed – period. Wow! What if I said that to a parent of one of my students? What if I said that to one of my students? What would that solve? What would that do to our relationship? Yet we say to teachers: “That cannot be discussed.”
Many teachers are helping their students to use their words, to talk through problems. They are helping students to learn how to listen, speak up, and work to solve problems. They don’t tell their students you can only talk about such and such when there is a problem.
Schools do have procedures in place for discussion, often called building discussion. There are rules for these discussions such as principals might have to be given time to look over the issues, which items are discussable & which are not discussable, etc. Some principals follow these rules to a tee. Others are a little more lax, understanding that teachers need to have opportunities to discuss. When teachers make a submission for discussion, these principals understand that they might at least need to listen.
It can be very frustrating, when a teacher has an item for discussion and the principal says, “No, that will NOT be discussed.” This is so frustrating to a teacher because to him/her the item is important; it often impacts his/her students and their classroom. There are times when teachers submit items that are indeed discussable, and leadership will say the items cannot be discussed. When this happens, the union president should be contacted. He, in turn, can contact the principals and let them know the items are in line with the stated rules and discussable. But the more important question to be asked - should a teacher have to be forced to take that step? Once a teacher takes that step to contact the union, she is seen as a trouble maker, a negative person or worst of the worst – not a team player. Who is not a team player – the one who has the question or the one who refuses to discuss?
As a leader, wouldn’t one want to know what their people are concerned or worried about? If a principal wants to follow the rules exactly for building discussion, first they need to accept and allow items that are discussable. Second, if there are items that are “not discussable”, a leader might want to: have a time period where any concerns are discussed and everyone knows the items are off the record. “These items are off the record – let’s discuss and try to solve together” or the principal LISTENS to concerns/questions and explains their thinking about why things are in place the way they are. Again, if items are “discussable” they should be on the record. When the principal is open to hearing questions & concerns, imagine the trust that develops from these interactions. It is also important that principals are honest during these conversations and not defensive.
Teachers also have a part to play in submitting discussable items.
No matter what, teachers deserve to be heard – especially with items that are discussable. If teachers are told an item is not discussable and it pertains to students – they have a responsibility to check to make sure it is not discussable.
Why do we have building discussion in the first place? What is the best way to build an environment of trust and respect? Is it by refusing to discuss? Building relationships begins with listening and understanding even if agreements cannot be reached – at least you have listened to each other and have tried to understand.
There will be no discussion – where does that get us?
A Regular Folk
I am not a weaver of words. Some people are able to write with such eloquence and beauty using just the right words to give you a picture of what is it they are saying. I admire their ability to connect and their talent. They speak to us.
I am a “regular” writer that writes “regular” words in a “regular” way. Nothing fancy. I am pretty much a straight shooter - usually to the point and I just tell it like it is. I am just a regular folk.
Today I am tired – drained. It’s hard for me to even get my thoughts down on paper. It’s been a weekend filled with love and sadness. I mourn the loss of a regular folk.
This man was just a regular man. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a hard worker. He was regular folk. He was like many of us “ordinary” people. And every day “ordinary” people leave this world – regular folks. But to the people that loved them, they were so much more than just regular folks.
We cannot overlook the significance of regular folk. After all it is "regular" folks that make the world go round. “Regular” folk have strands that reach out everywhere. In many ways they are the heart of mankind. These “regular” folk are the ones who really know you and care for you. They are just “regular” but they can have a major impact on a life. Where would we be without the presence of regular folk?
For children, “regular” folk are extremely important. Children need the consistency of regular people interested in their well being. They need the guidance and security of regular people. It is often the regular folk who make a difference in the lives of children. Children don’t need love from the rich and famous. They need love from the people around them, regular folks.
When I was a child I was raised among regular folk. So this ordinary man that raised me and loved me – is now no longer ordinary. He is among all those saints in heaven. No more pain, no more hurt, no more sadness – just love and glory. He is with the One who came as an ordinary baby and walked this earth as an ordinary man. God knew what he was doing when he sent Jesus as regular folk.
To my earthly father – I once more say, “I love you.” And I say, “Thank you for being my dad.” “Thank you, daddy, for being regular folk with flaws and imperfections. I know you were concerned about your “mistakes”. I know your heart, and I thank you for helping me to be a regular folk.”
To my heavenly father – I thank you for the gift of family. Thank you for regular folk who love and care for children. Thank you for my extraordinary sister, who cared for my father the last few years. Thank you for the love that is shared between my brother and sisters that are left here on earth.
Dad – I know you have been reunited with our loving mom. You see once again my brother, my two sisters, and one of your grandchildren. You are in the arms of our Lord & Savior and surrounded by those who were once regular folks.
Your regular and imperfect daughter, BEcky
I have been reading the articles in the Courier Journal about the state’s (Kentucky) recommendations that some principals be replaced at JCPS. I don’t know much about the process that is used for these recommendations, and I don’t know much about the schools that are mentioned. AND I don’t know any of the principals that are recommended for replacement. The articles discuss low income schools and what the loss of principals means to the students. Being a principal in this day and age is extremely difficult. Being a principal at a low income school is challenging and requires expertise.
Many of the points made in these articles are valid. High principal turnover is not good for low-income schools and the students they serve. All schools and children need consistency of leadership that is focused on the needs of children. I question, as the article does, if spending two days at a school can give you enough information to make a recommendation of such magnitude of dismissing leadership. But I also know that there are times that principals do need to be replaced, even at low income schools.
So when do we become concerned with and address the performance of a principal? It really comes down to a combination of factors. I’m sure the state of Kentucky also uses a combination of indicators to make their recommendations. In my opinion, here are a few indicators that I feel are important:
These are just a few things to consider. Superintendents might want to question and explore further if there are problems in these areas. I don’t envy them this process, because they do not want to pull out a perfectly good “plant” when weeding the garden. Superintendents want to look at what is happening in the schools and determine the cause of problems.
This whole discussion also brings up the question of who should be placed as leaders of low income schools in the first place. Should we be careful of putting brand new principals into these schools? If we do, how do we mentor them and ensure success? Do these schools need experienced and proven leaders? We have said that we need experienced and highly effective teachers at low income schools. Is this true also of leadership at these schools?
Thinking about all of this, we also have to consider the role of the principal. To me, the two most important roles are:
The biggest questions – What system works best for determining the excellence of leadership or insufficient leadership in schools? How do we respond if “good” leadership is lacking?
Leadership impacts teacher satisfaction which impacts students. We cannot underestimate the power of a good leader.
What?! The last couple of weeks I have been reading about Jefferson County Public Schools in the Louisville Courier Journal. All of the stories have intrigued me, and produced questioning on my part. The story and comments about magnet schools piqued my interest.
I have always admired the fact that Jefferson County Public Schools had magnet opportunities & traditional schools. Students were provided with a rich choice of educational experiences. I loved that Jefferson County did not make all of their schools the same. Parents were given an opportunity to find a good fit for their children. I knew there were some problems with the system, but the article brought out some real concerns with the magnet schools system that quite frankly shocked me.
When people fought charter schools in the Louisville area, one argument was – “We already have choices for our students.” You really couldn’t argue that, even though the rest of the state of Kentucky may not have had those choices. This opinion piece is not about charter schools though; it is about the inadequacies of the current system. I mention charter schools because the magnet system was touted as a reason for not needing to do something different.
So what’s my problem? When a large number of students are “let go” from magnet schools or encouraged to leave because of low grades and/or behavior issues - that is a problem. When most of those students are low income students and students of color (as stated in the article), that is a problem. When there are requirements that students must meet to enter those schools – that is a problem.
Why should these things be problems? Voices continue to rise that encourage us to support public education. After all, public education supports ALL children. They say the public school system is the only system that meets the needs of every child. My question is – Are these magnet schools really public schools if they have requirements for entrance and can “let students go?” I was under the impression that public schools had to educate each and every child; they could not pick and choose who attends based on grades and behavior. I was under the impression that public schools could NOT make students leave due to poor grades and that the behavior issue would have to be major enough to result in disciplinary actions that followed disciplinary procedures set forth by the school system.
Another question I have -How many highly effective teachers leave the other public schools in the system to teach at the magnet schools? Also where do the students attend once they are encouraged to leave the magnet school? I’m assuming that the students that are let go or do not fulfill requirements go back to one of the other Jefferson County schools that have to take all students. They have to be educated somewhere. These are often the students who cannot afford to attend private schools and probably wouldn’t be admitted there either.
I whole heartedly agree that we need to support public school education. We also need to make sure our schools are equitable. I hope that Jefferson County Public School s continues to offer magnet school experiences along with traditional schools. I also hope they find answers and solutions to the identified problems. Saying that families will leave to go to private schools if they change the current magnet system, is not the answer needed. That is an excuse. How can we improve the idea of magnet schools and make sure all students are provided with an enriched school experience? That is the big question.