Nurtured in us at an early age was the love of God, family and the importance of education. We were also gifted piano lessons and practice was a given. We never questioned any of it but simply did as we were told. In the big scheme of life, I am slowly began to fathom the importance of having certain rituals and traditions. When it came our turn as parents, we passed along to our children that which we also felt important. High on the list after God and family was education which included physical education as well as learning foreign languages at an early age. Both children played soccer, ran track and field and participated in daily gym classes at their independent school. We selected this school because it placed great value on early foreign language learning beginning in pre-K and through 12th grade. After returning from my first Fulbright year, we visited Manlius Pebble Hill School where our son completed placement tests in math and English and was accepted to the school. Our daughter followed in one year. This school encouraged students to phone teachers with questions about homework and any other issues required by their teachers. As a public school teacher, I was in awe of the teachers at this school and the support of other parents offered. There was a higher percentage (25%) of diversity of students than at local public schools. Class sizes were small and sometimes had as few as 8 in one class. Over the years, we have reflected upon the values learned at this school. Like we did at home, grace was said by students who sat at round tables with their teachers for lunch. The students at MPH know how to make eye contact with adults and to shake hands. They learn community and respect for all students. There was also a dress code but no official uniform for classes.
After our two had a native command of German, we prayed the German grace before meals. I was reminded of this when our daughter visited at Christmas. Once one of the kids asked how the prayer went in English because we only prayed it in German. After returning from living in Germany and attending German schools, our two began French classes at MPH since German was not offered. As an educator I was unconcerned that they would forget German. It is with them for a lifetime and only takes a few weeks of living in the country to regain fluency. We kept it alive with praying in German and singing. Both my husband and I attained a Ph.D. degree in our given fields, yet we only expected our two to finish college and to always do the best they could. Our son furthered his education and has earned the highest degree in his field as well with a JD or Doctor of Jurisprudence and practices law today. Our daughter earned her BA degree in English, her paralegal certificate, a BS degree in nursing and an RN degree. She plans to further her nursing education in the future as well.
We taught our children to be tolerant individuals and to help others. Education remains high on our list of importance. As an educator of nearly fifty years, I was a role model for my students, many of whom remain in touch with me. Never underestimate the power of education and the importance of learning foreign languages, especially German. May peace be with you in 2018.