My father has been gone for 17 years, yet I continue to think of him every day. He was one of the top 3 men I admire in my life. An ordinary man with only a high school education, my father had the ability to analyze problems from all sides and present his findings in such a simplistic way that the answer presented itself. He never thought of himself as a "King Solomon", but he always seemed to offer the wisest advice to family and the friends who sought his opinion.
When I was unhappy for a short time at college (It was the 70's - I wanted cashmere and knee socks, and I got bell bottoms and peace signs), Dad wisely called me to his side and said, "You can stay at home with old Dad, but what would you have? No teaching degree, no college friends, no new books to discover. And then what?" I wasn't really thinking of quitting school - just having a bad week - but Dad put it all into perspective. If you want to attain a dream, you have to work for it, and that work will not always be pleasant. I have carried that lesson with me all these years, and shared it with so many students during my long teaching career.
Dad always gave solid advice that was easy to grasp. When my brother was in a hitting slump on the baseball field, Dad not only took him to the batting cages for some extra practice, he told George that he had to believe he was going to hit the ball. My dad knew about visualizing an outcome and creating self-confidence long before I ever studied those concepts at school. I can still see the two of them sitting on the front steps, under our yellow and white awning, speaking in hushed tones. Dad was whispering while George looked at him so intently that he didn't even blink. (And yes, the hitting slump was overcome)
I had a short failed marriage in the 70's, and I am not a person who is accustomed to failing. Dad explained that sometimes people are just too young to be married , and that the divorce was not all my fault. He listened carefully to what I said, let me cry on his shoulder, and patted my back soothingly, and somehow, that just made me feel better. Dad instinctively knew that sometimes no words were needed, just a presence, a listening ear, and unwavering love.
Happy Father's Day to all! If you are still lucky enough to have your father, please tell him you love him. I drove to see my dad on Father's Day in 2002, snapped a few pictures, and he died in his sleep from a heart attack 2 weeks later. I am so grateful for that final time together! Here's to our Dads!
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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. www.Fieldtripzoom.com 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 reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com 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! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
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 email@example.com The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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