Like millions of others across the globe, I have been heartsick since the death of George Floyd. In fact, in some ways, I wish I had never seen the video of his last words, calling for his mother, and saying that he could not breathe. It is a series of images I cannot erase from my mind.
I am not sure why some people are mean to those they perceive as being less than they are, but it is a subject I have pondered since I was a child. Was it something that happened in childhood? Was there an adult in their lives that tortured them, and they just couldn't help becoming the same way? Do they lack empathy? (Yes - always - buy why?) Why do they love that feeling of power over others? How do they feel after they have demeaned a person?
I was a high school teacher for 37 years, and a school is a microcosm of society. I saw lots of kids who seemed to enjoy hurting others and/or putting others down. I had countless meetings with parents and guidance counselors concerning these kids, and some got the message that what they were doing was not OK, but many did not. I can think of a few such students who met with incarcerations, or even untimely deaths. Now, just like then, I could implore a person to see the light and reform, and try to impart the idea of empathy, but the ultimate choice is up to the individual.
It is my opinion that we need to be vigilant about treating others with empathy and kindness. Now is the time to look at others we perceive as "different," and find our similarities instead. When I was a very young child, I saw a black man and asked my mother why his skin color was different from mine. Her answer was so simple, yet so sensible. "God made lots of people in different colors and who look different from us. He made a whole variety of people, but the most important thing he wants us to know is that inside, beneath different colors of skin, we are all the same. No one is better or worse. We are all the same inside.Then, as she always said, my mother said to "Treat everyone the way you want to be treated, no matter their skin color if if they are different from you." Audrey's number one rule, both inside and outside the house, was the Golden Rule. My brothers and I heard that rule so often; consequently, we have become human beings with great empathy.
With empathy, all problems can be solved. With empathy, gaps between groups narrow and communication can be established, and new treatises can be reached. It's all about teaching and practicing empathy.
I feel for those of you who are hurting - from the pandemic, from this terrible tragedy, from watching our country in turmoil.
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 and a company called www.StreamableLearning.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 web page 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 firstname.lastname@example.org The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl
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