Monday, December 7, 2015

“What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the KIND.” – Cleveland Amory

Although December in the Christian world is the season of Advent and peace and goodwill toward men, turn on the news and you will see hate and fear, death and anger.  I am here today to share a happy and poignant story about kindness, because you need and deserve it!  As for me, I feel great writing about something that is both happy and touching. 

If you are the parent or teacher or sibling of a child with special needs, you know that more than anything, that child wants to be included and be accepted as "one of the gang."  A very special football coaching staff and all of the teams in the  Eastern Panhandle Youth Football League in Martinsburg, West Virginia, make a dream come true for 9 year old Shariff Williams during every single game.

Shariff has been diagnosed with both autism and Tourette's Syndrome.  Both he and his twin brother Malachi were born prematurely, and doctors were not even sure that Shariff would live, let alone, walk or talk.  Shariff LOVES football, and he wanted to play the game on the Panthers team with his brother. The coaches not only made that happen, but players from the opposing team know that on the first play after halftime, Shariff will be handed the football, and they know that number 6 is not be tackled on his run to the goal line. In their efforts to give a player and his family a special moment during each game, the coaches have taught lessons of helpfulness, caring, and acceptance to not only the Panthers, but also to the entire youth football conference, the parents, the spectators, and the community. 

And isn't that a great lesson to share?  And it all started with one little boy who just wanted to play football on the field with his twin brother.

I know that times are difficult right now, and that fear and hostility surround us as Americans.  I urge you not to let either of those qualities define you as a person.  Instead, let's look for the good and celebrate the positive.  We can all be a little kinder, and kindness can make someone's day. Let's take a moment to appreciate the small things that make life living, as well as the "little-big" things that can change a person's life. . . things like allowing a 9 year old who was never supposed to run or talk to play football with his twin brother, and even to score a touchdown during every game.

Take a look at this clip and the big smiles from the whole family, especially Shariff and Malachi. !  And I guarantee a smile for you as well.

As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at .  The website IS UP AND RUNNING!!!.  Signed copies ARE available!   

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER.  Signed copies are available 

Dede is the co-host of The Total Education Q & A, which can be heard on Blogtalk Radio at

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