remembering an older woman

This morning I woke up thinking about women in my life who helped shape my views of children. God love them. From my upcoming sequel to The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling:

“Another person who shaped much of my thinking about children was my friend, Shirley. One of the most creative and fun people I have ever known, she spent years as a Boy Scout leader, often turning 30 boys at a time loose with wood carving knives! Many times she heard, “My mom never lets me do this,” so she took note and was sure to give them many more such opportunities. When it came time for Bible school, she was the craft lady who had prepared for this week all year long with hundreds of clothespins, cereal boxes, glue sticks, and cotton balls lined up in her garage. By the time grandchildren came along, she had mastered the art of providing creative and simple play and they spent hours at her house “painting” the outdoors with water and putting on dramas on her front porch. She taught me that no cost, child-directed play is always the best!

Since Shirley’s husband worked as the janitor at our local school, she enjoyed looking at how the schoolrooms were decorated when she went to help him clean. “There isn’t a square inch of those rooms that aren’t decorated out to who-laid-a-rail,” she would often say and she was right. “The refrigerator is full of ADHA meds because the kids can’t concentrate and is it any wonder when they dangle every imaginable thing in front of their faces?” she lamented. She often worried about those artistically gifted children who were stepped over in order to fulfill the subject hierarchy, understanding it before Sir Ken Robinson had even identified it. She went out of her way to praise the small painters and designers, raving about the beauty of their stick figures and sardine can dioramas! It was common sense insights like this that made me question so much of what I had been taught in teacher education courses in college!”

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