Marlyn McKean

“Are we at the age now when we used to consider our parents as really old? I remember feeling that way in high school when my folks were actually younger than we are now. Since having lost several of our classmates up to this point, I know that all of us have to be feeling most fortunate to be alive and well, as well as contributing in the best way we know at this juncture of our lives. After our graduation in 1963, I went on to Wisconsin State University, Eau Claire, but transferred a year later to Northern Illinois University, graduating in 1967 with a B.S. in Education. I taught at the elementary level for five years before staying home to raise a family. After being home for fifteen years while raising my three sons, I kept my foot in the door of education by substitute teaching. It was shortly after this time that I then experienced the need to go back to full-time teaching after going through a divorce. During those whirlwind years, I had to put a hold on obtaining a master's degree. Three years ago, I decided to go back to graduate school for the Master's in Education. It was an incredible challenge, but it is both a relief and a pleasure to share that I did receive this degree on May 10, 2003! 2003 has continued to have some real significance to me in that it has been a reminder of how fast these decades have flown by since we left school. Needless to say, all of us can testify to how much we have learned over the past forty years. When often asked about my philosophy of education, I always share a simple version of a belief system that I use in working with children. The motto I try to live by in my teaching is to "praise and never give up!" No matter what circumstances we have lived to and through, this seems to be about the most practical advice to take along our journey of life. Who doesn't respond to praise in any capacity, and how does it benefit anyone to give up on any endeavor or in attaining any goal? Our era seemed to possess that kind of tenacity. How thankful we can be that we were raised in an era which reflected an old-fashioned work ethic, which also reflected the ethics of our parents. As has been said, values aren't necessarily taught, they are caught! As we continue to advance in years, I am still convinced that establishing and maintain-ing healthy relationships are really the only things in life worth our effort. Scripture refers to this as better than gold or silver. Also, as it says in Proverbs, "wisdom is far above rubies." In this present culture which breeds consumerism, materialism, and greed, we can do no less than to leave our children a leg-acy that treasures eternal values, loving relationships, and the wisdom of our years.”