A Prized Possession

John has always made it clear that there was one thing in his grandmother’s house that he wanted — and now that prize lives at our house. His mom made this collage of a precious poem by Dorothy Law Nolte, and it truly represented how she mothered him, how my parents treated me, and how John and I aspire to parent our children. When John’s uncle brought this to us, he shared that the frame this is in was actually a wedding gift (and there is a religious painting behind it) for Grandma and Grandpa Bindel. (I have not looked at the painting because the framing is very well done and I do not want to disturb it. Someday I will peak.) This hangs on our wall as an often much-needed reminder to me. I am so thankful and proud to have it!

Dorothy Law Nolte
If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.
With what is your child living?

Mr Pratz,
I had lunch today with my kindergartener, Caroline Bindel. The lunch monitors were so friendly and interacted so well with the kids.The kids had enough time to enjoy their food at a normal pace and visit with their friends. The system ran smoothly. To be honest, one of my biggest concerns about starting public school was lunch. My niece had a horrible experience in Oklahoma with rushed eating and a silent lunch period, which meant lots of yelling from the lunch monitors. I called last year to ask about your lunch policies, and Kelli assured me that the kids talked during lunch. :-) I am just so pleased with what I saw today! Thank you!

Amanda Bindel

 Caroline at two, mocking the lunchroom rules

 Caroline today, goofing with the lunch monitor

Where were you?

Where were you when the world stopped turning
on that September day?  (Alan Jackson)
That is the answer so many are thinking of today.
And it, along with these past three weeks of school, now, not as the student or teacher, but as the parent, has me thinking of my old teacher days. My days in the classroom.
And I miss them!
September 11, 2001 — I was still green. Not a young new teacher, necessarily, but certainly new. After seven years in the staffing business, meeting financial and achievement goals I’d set for myself, I realized I was always stressed and always working and not really satisfied. I decided to make my passion my work and zeroed in on books. After researching becoming a librarian,  I realized that teaching for a few years would be my best option. I enrolled in a post-bacc program with Texas State and was lucky enough to be hired at an incredible school in AISD, teaching English and Journalism on an emergency teaching permit. I guess by September 11, I’d have been starting the third week of school. I remember the teacher who knocked on my door and told me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, that I might want to turn on the TV. I remember my wonderful friend (then and now) and mentor teacher (then) casually walking into my classroom to sit and us watching the second plane fly into the building. I remember not comprehending it as real. I remember that my students did not either. It was like a movie at that point. I remember going to church with John that evening. To a church we had casually visited over the past few weeks. I guess it was that night that St. Matthew’s became our church. I remember (as I did not know anyone traveling or in New York) that my sister, nearly eight months pregnant, and my then unborn niece, were my biggest concern. How do you raise a child in this kind of world? I wondered.
Now here we are, nine years later. I’ve left that job, had two babies, and am already dreaming of the day I’ll return to work, wondering what that work will be. The original plan of a librarian? Continuing as a classroom teacher? Perhaps in some other school role, using my gifted and talented degree emphasis? Or building on the freelance work I’m doing now?
It’s still several years away, but I find myself dreaming of it, planning for it. I find it hard to imagine this new self in the work world again. Before kids, work was my life. Now, my life is my family, which is not as mundane and free as it sounds. I am really quite busy. How could I ever do both? I’m glad I have a few years to figure that out.