Author Archives: maryloudriedger

About maryloudriedger

MaryLou Driedger lives in Winnipeg Manitoba where she works as free lance writer, a tour guide in the school programs department at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and a faculty supervisor for the University of Winnipeg's education department. She is a retired teacher who moved to Winnipeg after living and working in Hong Kong for six years.

A Lesson From It’s A Wonderful Life

Yesterday we saw  It’s A Wonderful Life at the Manitoba Theatre Centre.  The play based on the movie of the same name, tells the story of George Bailey, the owner of a small town money lending institution who believes his life has been a failure. As a young man he had big plans to get a university degree, be a world-class engineer or architect and travel the globe, but because he put his responsibilities to others first , this never happened. 

george thinks about suicide

George Bailey played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie version of It’s a Wonderful Life considers suicide on Christmas Eve.

Desperate business circumstances cause him to consider suicide during the Christmas season. 

henry travers as clarence

A guardian angel named Clarence is played by Henry Travers in the movie.

His guardian angel Clarence turns up and shows George what the world would be like if George had never been born. George realizes he has positively impacted his family and community in many more ways than he realized. 

last scene its a wondeful life

George Bailey with his friends and his wife Mary played by Donna Reed in the movie.

It’s A Wonderful Life is a story about how an ordinary person who faithfully fulfills obligations to friends, family and community can make a difference in the world. George isn’t famous or wealthy but at the end of the movie when all George’s neighbors and relatives  rally round to offer help and support, George’s younger brother Harry, proposes a toast to George calling him, “the richest man in town.” 

George isn’t financially wealthy but he is people wealthy. In a world filled with lonely people the richness that is added to our lives by human relationships should never be taken for granted. 

During one scene in It’s  Wonderful Life, a woman named Violet, who has experienced George’s kindness and help says to him, “I’m so glad I know you.” Hopefully there are many people who can say that about us. 

Other posts…………

Three Lessons From the Movie Arrival

Lessons From the Sydney Opera House

Lessons From Leonard

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Waterfalls

Waterfall in Cox’s Cove Newfoundland

Waterfall at the Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong

At the Tad Se Waterfall in Laos

At a waterfall in Costa Rica with my brother

At the Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland with my sister

Waterfall artwork by Theresa Himmer on Winnipeg’s Millennium Library

little-waterfall-discovered-on-a-hike-near-kenora-1.jpg

Little waterfall discovered on a hike near Kenora Ontario

At a waterfall in Colorado with my friend Rebekah

Montmorency Falls near Quebec City

Other posts ………

Designs

Churches

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Include Me Please

I walked into a classroom recently where the student teacher I supervise for the university had made a sorting chart with the children.  On one side was the label NATURAL and on the other MANMADE.   In each section of the chart the children had pasted appropriate items.  In the lesson I was observing, my student teacher was talking about community helpers and referred to them as firemen, policemen and garbage men.  

In our post lesson conference I mentioned that MADE BY PEOPLE would have been a better chart heading than MANMADE  and that words like firefighters, police officers and sanitation workers were more inclusive than firemen, policemen and garbagemen.   Apparently my student teacher’s exclusive language had already been pointed out by the regular classroom teacher and my student was a little embarrassed about unconciously slipping back into using terminology that might send the wrong message to the girls in the class or children who may not be sure about their gender identity. In another class I visited, the student teacher was leading a science lesson on the characteristics of animals.  Every single time an animal was mentioned she referred to it as ‘he’.  In the post lesson conference I suggested that perhaps the word ‘she’ could have been used equally when referring to animals or a more neutral ‘it’ could have been used. The student agreed completely telling me how dedicated she was to feminist ideals. She thanked me for pointing out the exclusivity of her language.  

Language is a powerful thing and using exclusive language in even little ways sends a subtle message to some children that they aren’t included.  We’ve come a long way since my childhood when exclusively male language was the norm but there is still reason to be vigilant about trying to raise a new generation for whom the use of inclusive language is a natural thing. 

Other posts……….

I Remember When……..

Proud of the New Words to Canada’s National Anthem

From Pale and Weak to Platoon Commander

 

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Missing Sue

white lace covers japanese cabs

 With my friend Sue in a taxi in Kyoto

On Tuesday it was my friend Sue’s birthday and also the one year anniversary of her death.

mayan ruins in mexico

Visiting Chichen Itza in Mexico with Sue

In the last weeks of Sue’s life I would send her e-mails every few days that included photos and I would tell her about the things I was going to miss about her.

new hats with sue

Sue and me at the Mountain Brook golf course in Gold Canyon Arizona

Among other things I said I would miss golfing with her,

Hiking the Peralta Trail with Sue

hiking with her,

lunch rudy and sue hecla island

With Rudy and Sue at Hecla Island

talking and laughing with her,

jay and sue and me

With my friend Sue and our sailboat captain in Florida

vacationing with her,

funny mirror osaka

With Sue in a fun house in Osaka

having fun with her,

sue serves us supper

Enjoying a delicious and beautifully presented meal as Sue’s meals always were in the sun room of her and Rudy’s home

eating the wonderful meals she made and drinking her signature gin and tonics,

Playing bridge with Rudy and Sue in Thailand

and having her for a friend.  

Now a year later I do miss all those things about Sue and many other things too.  

Other posts………

Sue

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Filed under People, Reflections

Don’t Trust The Trailer

instant familyI had watched trailers for the movie Instant Family and decided I didn’t want to see it because it looked like it would be one of those romanticized, feel good films about foster families and foster care.  But when we were trying to decide on a movie to watch with friends on Monday night I checked out Instant Family’s reviews and found it had received a positive response from critics and audience members alike.   I discovered that contrary to the cutesy trailers I had seen the movie was based on a true story and that Sean Anders the writer and director of the movie had been a foster parent himself.   Most reviewers agreed the movie presesented difficult but realistic truths about the foster care system. 

They were right.  The movie was engaging and didn’t paint a rosy picture of what foster care is like.  I learned or was reminded of some things.  

  • There are 500,000 children in foster care in the United States.
  • Although older children and teens make up the largest percentage they are the hardest to find placements for in foster care. 
  • Siblings benefit from being placed in the same foster home. 
  • The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their birth parents and this will be the top priority when decisions are made about children’s futures. 
  • Foster parents are a very diverse group and most, but not all, genuinely want to help children. 
  • Foster parents take an intensive course before being approved for fostering. 

When the couple in the film has just about reached the end of their rope with their three difficult foster children they go and see another set of foster parents for advice.  That foster mom reminds them…….”things that matter are hard.” 

That might be the core lesson of the film and applies not just to foster parenting but to every kind of family relationship. 

grandma sandy meets her grandkids instant familyI can recommend this movie. It will make you laugh and cry.  My favorite character was Grandma Sandy! I bet you will like her too!

And remember you can’t always trust a movie’s trailer to give you a true picture of what the film is about. 

Other posts……..

That’s Not My Kind of God Either

An Evening At the Forks

She’s Gone

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Filed under Movies

Imitating Emily

emily's art grade fours winnipegI was visiting a grade three and four class in one of Winnipeg’s inner city schools as part of my job as a university faculty advisor and I saw these marvelous paintings on the wall in a classroom where one of my students is doing her practicum. The classroom teacher had introduced the children to the work of the great Canadian artist Emily Carr and then led them through a step by step process to create their own artworks in Emily’s style. emily carr winnipeg school grade 3:4The display in the classroom included photos to show how the children had experimented with color mixing, learned about contour drawing and looked very carefully at Emily’s paintings of trees. They experimented with layering shades of the same color and thought carefully about every brush stroke. emily carr grade 3:4The children had also written stories about what it might be like to spend time alone in a British Columbia forest the way Emily Carr did. imitating emily carrEmily is always a favorite subject for children when I take them on tours at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  I tell them about her menangerie of animals that included a pet monkey.  Her animals accompained her into the forest when she went out in her little trailer she called The Elephant to camp amongst the trees and do her artwork.   emily carr display winnipeg classroom

A writer in Macleans magazine who eulogized Emily Carr after she died entitled her obituary She Made Trees Dance.  So did the amazing students in a grade three four classroom in inner city Winnipeg who inspired by Emily and guided by a creative and enthusiastic teacher made trees come to life just like Emily did. 

The photos of the students’ work have been posted here with their teacher’s permission. 

Other posts……..

Talk About Defying Convention

Old Sun and Emily Carr

Klee Wyck- May Your Spirit Dance

 

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Filed under Art, Childhood, Education, Uncategorized

A Cumulative Christmas Story By My Hong Kong Grade Five Students

In 2004 my fifth grade students in Hong Kong created this illustrated story for the school Christmas concert. We had been writing poetry based on The House That Jack Built poem pattern. A student Charissa Chan wrote the poem and all the students helped illustrate it.

This is the kind-hearted, dutiful angel Gabriel, who delivers messages for God

This is the young faithful virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted dutiful angel Gabriel who delivers messages for God.
This is Joseph, the hard-working, humble carpenter, who married the young, faithful virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted, dutiful angel Gabriel who delivers messages for God.
These are the tired, hungry people who traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph, the hard-working, humble carpenter, who married the young, faithful virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted, dutiful angel Gabriel, who delivers messages for God.
This is the impolite, money-hungry inn keeper who turned down the tired, hungry people who traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph, the hard-working, humble carpenter who married the young, faithful virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted angel Gabriel, who delivers messages from God.
This is the simple, but cozy stable of the impolite, money-hungry inn keeper who turned down the tired, hungry people, who traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph, the hard-working, humble carpenter, who married the young, faithful virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted, dutiful angel Gabriel, who delivers messages from God.
This is the tiny, but warm manger that was in the simple, but cozy stable of the impolite, money-hungry inn keeper who turned down the tired, hungry people, who traveled to Bethlehem, with Joseph, the hard-working, humble carpenter, who married the young, faithful, virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted angel Gabriel who delivers messages for God.
This is the beautiful, loving baby Jesus, who slept in the tiny, but warm manger that was in the simple, but cozy stable of the impolite, money-hungry inn keeper, who turned down the tired, hungry people, who traveled to Bethlehem with Joseph, the hard-working, humble carpenter, who married the young, faithful virgin Mary, who got a message from the kind-hearted, dutiful angel Gabriel, who delivers messages for God.
And that baby grew up and became a Light to the World!

Other posts……….

Five Star Hotels For The Holy Family

Christmas in Hong Kong

Puzzling- A Christmas Family Tradition

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Filed under Art, Holidays, Hong Kong