Filed under: family, school, travel | Tags: children, deaf education, family, Gallaudet University, school, travel
With our daughter studying at Gallaudet University this year, we decided to take a trip to visit her. Emily has tried to explain what happens at her college, but until you experience it, you do not realize how different it is. It is like going to a different land.
In Washington D.C. it is not unusual to see many people from many lands. The embassies are considered to be part of the country that owns them. The folks at Gallaudet are mostly Americans who grew up in typical American homes, and except for one difference they could all be the kid next door, they are deaf. For many years people who were deaf were thought to be unteachable, after-all they lacked an aspect that any other learning child had, hearing, and because of that they were pushed to the edges of society. Here at Gallaudet the deaf are in control. When you enter Gallaudet you enter the land of the deaf.
From the bus driver who picked us up at Union Station to every food service, security, and sanitation employee there is silence, but every gesture and facial expression speaks volumes. All are here to help the deaf learn. Not all employees and students at Gallaudet are deaf, but every person on campus is dedicated to learning in a deaf world. The rules and language of Gallaudet are not the rules and language of the hearing world around them. As parents of a student there we were given a bit of slack, but it is expected that everyone at Gallaudet speaks American Sign Language.
Our Emily is not deaf, but since her early years in school she was fascinated with American Sign Language. In college she studied to teach in a school for the deaf. She has been both challenged and fulfilled in her early years of teaching as she helped young children, many of whom had as yet received no language training, express themselves. Now she is seeking her Masters degree so that she can better understand and better help the deaf to be full partners in the American life she leads.
As parents we are curious to learn about her life, and this was another good chance to experience the life she has chosen. We were blessed to have visited her in this new step in her life.
Filed under: school, School bus | Tags: children, debate, school, school bus, shirt and tie, speech, speech team
It was an impressive sight looking at all of those dressed up young people, where was I?
It’s Saturday and I have an out-of-town bus trip with the speech team, they sure are an impressive sight. Not only that but they are polite and dedicated, and working hard at something that many kids would not dream of doing. I mean, who wants to be able to do the Gettysburg Address from memory, or an old Ellen DeGeneres monologue, or maybe debate the use of food as a weapon? The kids are taking on some hard stuff and making it look easy.
It is interesting walking through the halls seeing young men and women talking to walls as they practice for their round, these kids really have to be focused. Yes, the boys are at least in a nice shirt and tie, but most of them are in suits. The girls are well dressed also, not prom dressed up, but better cloths than most of them would ever wear otherwise.
Yep, these are our future preachers, teachers and business people. The future is in good hands.
Filed under: Minnesota, School bus, seasons, summer, time, travel | Tags: attitude, children, friends, school, school bus, summer, vacation
The summer is drawing to a close and many kids are back in school. My daughter has been teaching at her school for most of the month. School started here this week. I hear the lament “Where has the summer gone?” I’m here to tell you that summer is still here and will be until September 23.
School for many signals the end of summer. The end of vacation and a slower pace we all look forward too, at least if there are school age children or teachers in the house. I think we are giving our children a false message when we lament the end of summer. We make it seem as if school was not a good thing.
A friend of mine was lamenting that he had to cover the spot of one of our youth who got a job and then quit after one day. The fact is that school, like work demands our time and attention. Quiting is not an option if you plan to make something of yourself. There are too many “summer people” in this world, and not enough fall, winter and spring people.
When I pick up the younger children in my school bus I see the excitement in their eyes. They are getting to be with friends and learn new things. The world is exciting, new and full of adventure. We need to somehow keep that new and exciting feeling in our lives. We need a school time attitude, not a vacation attitude.
When you travel to other countries you see how easy we have it here. We in America seem to live in a summertime attitude. We vacation and play so much, we have so much, even our poor people have so much more than the poor in other countries.
If we want our country to remain great we need to get back into that start of school time attitude where we are always busy and always learning. We need an attitude of the start, not of the end. The next time I hear the lament that the summer is over, I’m likely to reply that is a good thing. America and her people need to end their summertime attitude. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. This is the end of summer, it’s an exciting time.
Filed under: cars, church, food, friends, Kwazamohkuhle, Music, school, School bus, South Africa, travel | Tags: children, ELCA, ELCSA, Food, school, school bus, South Africa
Fifteen people from the Shetek conference of the ELCA flew to South Africa on an agricultural mission that departed on January 31, 2011. Among the things we packed to bring were the supplies for putting on a bible school program like we do in Minnesota. We knew that some things do not transfer to different areas of the world, but we figured they were Lutherans so it should work.
When plans were being made we asked the folks to give us some idea of how many to expect. They estimated that we would have about 140 people at the event to be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Kwazamokuhle School for the Disabled.
The program we used was Avalanche Ranch.
When you are doing a program in another country where most of the people grow up speaking another language having a native speaker at registration is important and we had the services of a bright young college student named Sinde Xaba to help put our participants at ease.
The school has hallways open to the air, but covered and paved to make wheelchair access possible.
The buildings are fairly new with construction continuing on campus as they continue to improve the school.
When you do a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Minnesota you expect to get grade school students. In South Africa you get students that range from 11 to 52. Registration was also a bit under what we expected, but Saturday is the traditional day for funerals in the area, and with a funeral for a young person happening that day, numbers were below what we expected.
Travel is also not as easy as we are used to. People were invited to attend from all over the circuit. Some would have to travel for quite a distance. Not all of the travel plans worked out. All part of learning about life in South Africa.
One thing was not a problem, getting the participants up and singing. Zulu tradition is one of singing and dancing in church. When we were teaching new songs and doing actions to them we found ready participants.
Craft projects of all kinds found eager participants. We were very impressed with thought and originality they put into their work.
Although the food was a bit different than we were used to it was very good, and there was plenty of it.
Free time was spent playing with the kids from the school who were not high enough functioning to attend the program. Some students did attend if they were able. The left over balloons and a few frisbees were left to brighten the day of the younger students.
I had not planned to attend the program. As a driver I planned to drive participants over to the school, take a few pictures and then go back to help at the center. The learning experience was one I would not have traded. It was well worth staying.
Sunday will be a busy day. Hope you join me on my travels.
Filed under: church, family, food, history, Holidays, Politicians, school | Tags: children, church, community, Food, history, music, news, newspaper, radio, school
I think of myself as a positive person. I really have never liked watching TV news shows, they are just too full of gloom and doom. Let’s face it, to keep an audience in a large market you have to have the creed that, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
That has even become the creed of day time talk TV and our politicians. The more they can make you believe that the world is a terrible place, the more market share they get. Let’s face it, you need market share to get elected, keep advertisers and pay the bills.
Small town radio and newspapers are different. Yes, there are stories of fires and crimes, but the main thrust of their programming is geared not to what is going bad in the world, but what is happening next door.
Oh yes, we will have the report from the highway patrol and the sherifs office, but we also get school news, city council minutes and county board meetings. The chamber of commerce will be on promoting their next event, it could be of a new store opening, or of the next picnic on the square.
Reports from the area schools are common in small town news. You can hear about the school play, the latest sporting event, or who is the new teacher of the year, it’s all good stuff. Stories of who the exchange students in school are and what country they came from are regular events. The newest graduating class will take up pages in a small town newspaper. Oh sure, the school is having trouble making the budget fit the income, but that is not the main thrust of school news. It’s about achievement and excellence.
The area churches will be broadcast on Sunday for those who could not make it. News of a new pastor or of a youth group event can be a big deal in a slow week. The listing of when the church services are and events that are being held at church are eagerly scanned for the next fundraising dinner or scouting event.
Veterans Day, Memorial Day, community plays and concerts, parades, pageants and musical events are all a large part of the small town news program. These are events that uplift and entertain us, they make us feel good about ourselves and our land.
So excuse me for not liking what I hear from the big market news agencies. I grew up on small town news, and I’m going to stick with it. All that doom and gloom is just not my style.
Filed under: family, garden, Hawaii, school, summer, travel | Tags: children, farm, garden, school, summer
We’ve been blessed with our youngest daughters presence for a few weeks this summer, but that is coming to an end. School children in Hawaii will soon report to class and the teachers need to be ready. With that in mind our baby is heading back to Honolulu.
Youngest has been spending her summer mowing lawn, picking garden produce and catching up with friends and family. Her sister and brother will arrive tonight for their last goodbyes, and a trip to see the grandparents is planned. Then it will be off to the islands until Christmas.
Both excitement and sorrow are part of living and working so far from home. She really misses her kids and is looking forward to see how much they have changed in the last months. The distance from family is a challenge. Thank God for Skype and cell phones.
Many changes come in our life and the departure of children is a bitter sweet one. We are lucky to have happy, employed children. We know we cannot keep them forever. They have flown from the nest and now are making it on their own. That’s a fact of life.