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Swimming Down a Different Canal, After the Storm, Old Friends and Inspiration from Young Educators

Dad and me with the globe we gave him on his birthday some thirty-five years ago. Dad has interesting ways of describing what’s going on in the world right now. 

Like many of us when we grow older my Dad often has to search for just the right word to describe things. I think Dad has always fancied himself a wordsmith and when he had to write a speech for any occasion he usually did so with the dictionary open beside him. I suspect he also used the dictionary when writing the very poetic and sometimes difficult to discern messages of advice he always included in our Christmas cards. Now, Dad finds it a struggle to look things up in the dictionary but his penchant for describing things in unique ways has not changed.  This weekend while talking about our current world situation he said,  “Well MaryLou we are certainly swimming down a different canal right now.”    Yes, Dad. You are right. We most certainly are. 

CBS’s Sunday morning did a documentary yesterday on Kadir Nelson whose work frequently makes the cover of magazines like The New Yorker. Nelson just won the 2019 Caldecott medal for children’s literature for his illustrations in the book The Undefeated. He has created a new artwork that shows people after the pandemic is over. It is called After the Storm.

After the Storm by Kadir Nelson- from the CBS website

Look at how the marvellously diverse people in the painting all have their eyes focused on something ahead of them and how they are all touching one another in various ways. Will the pandemic help to unite us and force us to focus on the things that are vital to creating a bright future for our world? 

 Kadir Nelson’s painting reminds me of a painting by Norman Rockwell called The Golden Rule which graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in April of 1961. Rockwell reminds us that no matter our differences we should treat others the way we want to be treated. 

Mural on the wall of one of the schools I visit.

I have been busy reading the papers and assignments my student teachers had to submit to me in lieu of their practicum placements in classrooms during the months of March and April.  I have found so many pearls of wisdom in these young educators’ reflections. 

“If kids are hungry or they don’t feel safe they can’t learn.

“COVID-19 has made me aware that not all students have access to technology at home and that is making it hard for them to keep up with school work right now.” 

“I’ve learned that teaching children about mindfulness and meditation can make a difference in how they handle things.”

“I’ve developed this real passion for teaching in the inner city and I wasn’t expecting that.” 

” If you give kids choices instead of always telling them what to do they will feel more responsible for their own behaviour.” 

” I love my students and I am so sad I won’t get to see them again before the school year is over.  I didn’t even have a chance to say good-bye to them.” 

Our small group in 2016

We have been in a friendship group with four other couples for decades.  Our group began at a church we all used to attend. Dave and I are trying to connect with one of the couples each week to see how they are doing.  On Saturday we had a great visit with our friends who are isolating on their country property and having some interesting encounters with skunks.  We used to stage an annual lawn dart competition at this couple’s home and while cleaning up their shed they had found some posters celebrating the winners of those tournaments.  It was nice to reminisce about old times and catch up on what’s going on in our lives right now. 

Other posts……….

Norman Rockwell at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

90 Years

Cocktails in a Stable


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Filed under COVID-19 Diary, Education, Family