Taking Time and Learning

“Take time to think, for this is the source of power.
Take time to work that you may know the joy of success.
Take time to leave the world a better place,
for only then will you truly appreciate the journey of life.”

Life in the 21st century does not always lend itself to taking time. Since leaving Abington Friends School, I have been taking time to write. In recent days, I have been working on an opus entitled Dear Thomas. Over a two-year period, I penned my son Thomas 155 letters chronicling family history, my life, thoughts and feelings of the day, and hopes and dreams for the future. I am now in the finishing stages as I edit and re-edit this illustrated volume of about 600 pages.

"Know you what it is to be a child? It is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything." - Francis Thompson

Today is, indeed, a gift. As I get older, I find that time becomes more and more precious. After working with over 3500 young people in my forty-year teaching career, I am truly enjoying unraveling the mysteries of reading, writing, and arithmetic with Thomas. Words cannot express how much I value this time with my best buddy.

Each week, Thomas has to write about a particular topic in his “Take Home Message Journal”. Last week, Thomas was asked to write about, “What would you do if you were President?”. Thomas wrote the following.

“If I was President, I would help people. All people would have food. No one should be hungry. There would be no more weapons. People should be safe. All people would be able to go to the doctor if they are sick. Everyone would be able to pay the cost of going to college. Learning is very good. I love to learn.”

While I try to teach Thomas about life, he continues to teach me what life is all about. As Thomas was preparing to write his journal entry, I asked him the question, "What do you think is important in life?" The following words gently came forth - love, kindness, happiness, forgiveness, sharing, honesty, caring, and peace.

Wishing you all of the above,


Bob W.

The Wonder and Joy of Teaching Mathematics

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