A Legacy of Teaching – I am My Mother’s Daughter and My Daughter is Mine
From the time we are about two years old, we start to assert our will. At that age, it’s called “the terrible two’s.” I’m no child psychologist and this post isn’t meant to be scientific at all. I am merely making the point that beginning early in life we embark on a journey of self-discovery. We discover and even declare our independence as we move through life’s stages toward adulthood. Then, when we get to a certain point, we turn to look in the rear view mirror. After all the assertions of independence, we evaluate our experiences and realize we are indeed our parents’ children.
My Mother, The Teacher
Good or bad, we are products of everything our parents taught us, everything we observed, and everything they made us feel about ourselves, others and the world around us. Our parents’ influence in our lives is remarkable. As I look into the rear view mirror of my life, I am very aware of my mother’s influence on me and the trajectory of my life. I am my mother’s daughter.
My mother was a teacher. She spent her life in the classroom helping children to learn and believe in their dreams. I saw my mother pour so much of herself into her kids – that’s what she called them. They were almost an extension of our family. I trekked with her to teacher supply stores looking for gold stars and other supplies she used to facilitate learning and reward achievement. My mother sat in her classroom after school or at the kitchen table late into the evening, grading papers and writing notes on each one. She was excited whenever a new school year was about to begin. My mother loved what she did and it showed.
I am my mother’s daughter.
I am a Teacher
Then there’s me. My mother died when I was 21 and in college preparing for my own career. At the time I thought I was preparing to be a media professional. But, as I advanced on my journey, I found that my mother’s passion for education had taken root in me. My first job out of college was as a teacher in inner-city Miami. Initially, I thought I was teaching temporarily until I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. However, it did not take long for me to realize, I was doing what I was supposed to do with my life. I taught school for almost nine years before transitioning to a corporate learning and development position.
In the nine years I taught school-age students, I found myself alone in my classroom well after everyone else had left the building. I was busy designing new experiences, decorating bulletin boards, grading papers, or meeting with students and their parents. Sometimes, I would go in early or stay late just to pray over my classroom and go around to each desk and say a prayer for the students who sat there. In my rear view mirror, I realize I had become my mother. I was and still am an educator. Today, I design strategies and initiatives to help adults learn, develop and perform optimally in their job responsibilities. My mother left a legacy of teaching.
My Daughter, The Teacher
Last month, my daughter began her first teaching position as a middle grades science teacher. She completed her undergraduate degree in physiology and kinesiology almost seven years ago. She has worked for almost six years in a physical therapy unit at a local hospital in her community. Approximately two years ago, she decided to pursue a Master of Arts degree in teaching mathematics and science to middle grades students. After only completing a few classes, she knew she was in the right place. She had accepted the baton. She now teaches physical science to eight graders. I visited her recently. I gave her some tips and advised her to always see the potential in her students, regardless of their sometimes errant behavior. We visited the teacher supply store. I bought some supplies she could use in her classroom and with her students. She talked to me about the hope she has for her students. I know in my heart she will reach higher than I did and she will be a most excellent teacher.
My mother left a legacy of teaching.
Why do I share this story? I share because what we instill in our children through our words and actions has a profound impact on their lives. Consciously or unconsciously we are giving them a vision of what their lives can be just by showing them ours. My mother left a legacy of teaching. Turning from my rear view mirror, I can see clearly now that I am my mother’s daughter; and my daughter is mine. My mother’s life shaped mine and I have played a part in shaping my daughter’s. I could not be more proud of her. She will be an excellent teacher and her students are blessed to have her.
I am my mother’s daughter and my daughter is mine.