Editor in Chief
At 8 years old and while my friends were playing outside and riding their bikes, I was indoors, setting up a makeshift classroom, playing “teacher.” Modeling behaviors of my real-life teachers, I read stories to my “students”—baby dolls seated in imaginary desks. I’d furiously solve math problems at the chalkboard my father had dug up for me. At the end of the pretend-school day, I’d clap the erasers and send my students to the bus—or the shelf where Mom said baby dolls belong after playing with them.
Not-so-ironically, I have spent the majority of my career at the front of the classroom as a Writing Professor at a Big Ten university.
No teacher, though, is a good teacher unless she can be a good student, so while I’ve made a career of “professing,” I am also very much a life-long learner—in and out of the classroom– and some of the greatest teachers I’ve ever known are those whom might’ve never stepped in front of a classroom: Seniors.
One of the most important friendships I have is with a Senior. He’s 90. We debate the “meaning of life” (neither of us have the meaning figured out, by the way) and sit together at church. He wonders, on occasion, whether or not he adds value to my existence and whether or not he adds value to the existence of others. He tells me that since he’s “old” (his word, not mine), he’s useless.
I am flabbergasted by his sense of uselessness and purposelessness because if it were not for him and the stories he shares with me, I’d not have been able to navigate some of the other most meaningful and important relationships I’ve ever had.
Stories are full of “teachable moments,” and I love reading the stories sent to us from our Senior contributors. I am reminded daily of the wealth of knowledge and wisdom of this tremendous national resource.
I hope you will follow along on my quest for being a life-long learner and that you will continue to teach me by sharing your story. Seniors’ stories provide our best content because your stories are both real and compelling. I hope to read your story.
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