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The Greatest Teacher In A Child’s Life

I’ve always said teaching’s the most underrated profession, not because I’ve spent the last 45 years in that profession, but because whatever job, career, or profession there is in employment, are possible because of education. Careers may require knowledge of reading, writing, math, science, social studies, technology (including the former wood shop, metal shop, in some vocational schools auto mechanics, auto body shop, carpentry, electrical wiring), also in some schools driver education, family/consumer science (formerly home economics), business education, and more, all those at one time or another, being offered by public schools throughout this country.

So, it’s a pretty good assumption/assessment that teachers are extremely underrated in what they do for anyone who has or wants a job, career, or profession something during their life. The only other “job” that I feel is more underrated and unappreciated is the job of a mother, a mom, a step-mom, a foster mom, a godmother, a single father who, for whatever reason is put in the position to serve as mother and father. Tomorrow’s been set aside as the annual day to honor moms and pay homage for all they do for their children, even grandchildren, from their birthday, and throughout their lives.

It’s often said the first and greatest teachers of children were/are their parents, especially mothers. I say were because in my generation very few mothers worked outside the home. From the time kids were/are born, mothers tended to the needs of the kids until they went off to school around age 5, and even after they went to school when they came home, they reminded their children how to behave, respect, get after work done (homework) correctly and on time, and be accountable for chores and other responsibilities. In those early years, they subjected their children to the alphabet song, counting, identifying colors, learning to pick up after themselves, television shows including Romper Room School, Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Reading Rainbow, Captain Kangaroo, and the like. All those skills, songs, and television shows laid a foundation and that foundation was/is further strengthened by things moms continued teaching kids after they started school when they come/came home from school and have/had set times for chores, homework, all before playtime, hopefully teaching accountability for responsibilities, respect, and proper behavior.

That situation has changed considerably, because many homes are single parent homes and that parent is often mom, who’s probably working during much of the children’s early years and after school after they start school, but even though that’s more the norm today than the Romper Room generation, parents are still the child’s greatest teachers because they teach by example. Kids imitate what they see those closest to them do, say, act, have views on issues, policies, etc. That’s why it’s so important to set positive examples during those very impressionable years, so children can carry that with them into school, and society.

So, yes, mothers, or those serving as mothers in the roles pre-mentioned, are the first and should be, the greatest teachers of a child’s life throughout the early years, but it shouldn’t, and usually doesn’t, end then or there.

I have recollections of Mom, whom we lost 16 years ago this past March, who up until the day she passed was still prompting me on how to do things, react to situations, be a better parent, and constantly re-reminding me to always wear clean underwear in case I’m in an accident. She’d always ask why I was spending so much money on ballgames, questioning why I had to attend games in Cleveland, Buffalo, and not just watch them on television. After she passed, and I’d go to church (even today) and there wasn’t/isn’t an altar server, I’d almost feel her elbowing my ribs, nudging me to go up and assist Father with Mass. (That’s what she did when I served Mass as a boy and there was no server.) So, Mom’s been my teacher pretty much all these 69 years of my life, she’s just teaching me from her heavenly home now.

I remember Mom vaguely in my very early years, but I vividly remember the alphabet song, counting, Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo television programs, and I especially remember her and Dad’s expectations for homework, chores, behavior, respect, accountability for responsibilities, and accepting consequences if we didn’t do what was expected, or how it was expected to be done.

Thanks, Mom, for being the first, and greatest, teacher in my life. Anything good I am or have done is because of you.

So tomorrow, when you get up and before you do whatever you do on a Sunday in May, make contact with your greatest teacher, be she around here, miles away, or up in her spiritual resting place, and let her know you appreciate what she did to teach you the ropes as you started on your Life’s journey, and Happy Mother’s Day to all those who act(ed) in the roles mentioned earlier, especially Mom, Sally’s mom, Chasy, Chrissy, Erica, my sisters, sisters-in-law, grandparents, aunts, cousins, nieces, and friends, living and deceased. You truly are appreciated and highly rated by the Voice from the Bullpen.

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