Friday, May 10, 2019

"A child's first teacher is its mother."​ Peng Liyuan

Growing older has made me reflect on so many people in my life, and I know that in many ways, I have become my mother. I never thought it would happen, but now that I recognize that I have, I feel nostalgic, grateful, and loved.  My mother loved her children with such abundance! We never felt unloved or neglected; she unselfishly made us the center of her universe and taught us so many lessons for life.

My mother was so patient with us - teaching us to tie a bow over and over, flashing the math cards at us until we memorized the multiplication tables, ironing my dress for the second time before we left for church, because I was rough housing with my brothers. She listened to our childhood squabbles and fears, sometimes offering advice, and sometimes asking, "What do YOU think you should do?" My mother was a woman who possessed tremendous empathy, and she taught all of us to look at every issue from the other person's point of view, and to recognize that not everyone was as blessed as we were. Mom taught us to be respectful of all others, modeling the behavior and telling why and how we should apologize if we were disrespectful toward one another. As children, when we visited any home, we sat on the floor and were not permitted to touch anything in the home, because it was not ours, so we learned great lessons of how to respect the property and space of others. 

All of these lessons of patience and respect and good manners and being kind to others may seem old-fashioned today, yet these very rules are the making of a polite society. As a teacher, I passed all of my mother's lessons to my students, and for some students, they were lessons never experienced before. I freely showed my feelings of empathy and caring with my students, just as my mother taught me, and that lesson served me well in the classroom.  Students knew that I truly cared for them, and they could share their feelings, and I would help them to "figure things out" and make good choices.  Very often, I used my mother's question, "What do YOU think you should do?" 

My mother was real and genuine, and she put on no airs or pretense.  She smiled broadly and cried easily, wearing her beautiful and loving heart on her sleeve for all to see. She always thought of the other person before she thought of herself, and she was kind to everyone she met. My brothers and I were so lucky to have her as our mother.  Her beautiful lessons about how to live life will endure, through her children and her grandchildren.

Happy Mother's Day in Heaven, Mom.  We miss you every day, and we are so grateful that you were our beautiful mother. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

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! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

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 now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
 Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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