The following are four of the most influential people in my life. Each of them played a large part in shaping me into who I am today.
1.Lisa Aven is my mother. She raised me in a loving home. As a child I remember her constantly striving to provide the best life possible for me and the rest of my family. She taught second grade for 20 years in an inner city school where we live. She is the main reason I wanted to become a teacher. Although she was a working mother, she never let that hinder her from being involved. It actually made her that much more involved. I remember countless hours spent on making crafts, cooking, and doing other countless projects. We spent pretty days walking around at the zoo and having picnics at the park. Everyday was filled with numerous hugs and I love yous. Most importantly we spent quality time together. She never failed to make time for me.
I included this picture because to me it is a symbol of growing my own wings. They taught me what I needed to know and on my wedding day they let go of me and are now letting me lead the life they always hoped for me to have.
I remember going to school with her on days when my school was out. I would help tutor her students, file papers, run copies, and anything else she needed. I remember feeling like such an important person doing each of those tasks. At a very young age I knew I wanted to be a teacher just like my mom. Over the years I grew to understand the passion I had for teaching. All the while, my mom has been there to share advice and cheer me on. Her support has been invaluable. I still look forward to the days we get to spend quality time together!
2. Bruce Aven is my father. He also helped create a loving environment for me. He did this first and foremost by leading a Godly home. Secondly, he demonstrated what a marriage should be. He loved my mom dearly and it showed. Through my parent’s relationship, I learned the qualities to look for in a husband. He showed me daily what it meant to be a hard worker. He worked 12-hour days 5 days a week to provide for our family. He made sure we had everything we needed. I remember seeing how exhausted he was after work. He always made it clear that he wished he had more time to spend with us. Yet, the time he sacrificed to provide for our family demonstrated how much he cared about us. Through my dads respect for me I learned how to respect myself in the ways I dressed and behaved. He taught me how to live a life to be proud of. He is very much the reason I am the woman I am today. Although I am married now and no longer live at home, I still value my fathers opinion in decisions I make. I know he wants what is best for me and will not steer me wrong.
This is a song my dad used to sing to me all of the time I used to be terrified of the rain in fear of it storming.
3. Tanya White was my neighbor growing up. She attended the same church my family when I was a child. She was also a teacher. She lived across the street from my house. As a child I hated to read. My sister was the Accelerated Reader champion at our elementary school. Unlike her, I despised reading. I would volunteer to do anything if it meant I could get out of reading a book. Every summer my mom would take us to the library and sign us up to for the summer reading program. I never looked forward to reading. My mom was very aware of this and discussed it with our neighbor “Mrs. Tanya”. I thought Mrs. Tanya was one of the coolest people in the world. When she found out I hated to read she invited me to come read with her. I thought this was wonderful. Still to this day I remember wearing my footed pajamas and running across the street to Mrs. Tanya’s house to read with her before bedtime. At least once a week I would run over and read with her for half an hour before running back home to go to bed. I thoroughly enjoyed these times. i remember feeling so proud of myself walking into her house in my PJ’s and seeing her old children and thinking ” I am going to read!” It is something I still think about today. Although I do not see her as much anymore, I still think about the influence she had on me. Now as a teacher I try to find things that will motivate my students to read. I strive to find what will excite them. I want them to have that magical reading moment that they will remember as adults. I would love to be a “Mrs. Tanya” to someone else.
4. Dolly Jones was my kindergarten teacher. She also was my Sunday school teacher. She helped me start school off on the right foot. Learning was always fun with her. I was a very quiet student wanting to please my teachers. I very seldom got into trouble. I did, however, get in trouble one day in kindergarten. I have never forgotten how awful I felt that day for disappointing my teacher. It was through getting in trouble I saw how much she cared. She was not harsh with me. Instead she was calm and loving. She explained to me why I was in trouble and let me know she was not upset with me. Her kindness was golden. Throughout my kindergarten year my confidence grew. The way Mrs. Jones conducted herself showed how much she cared for her students. It was her influence that made me want to be a kindergarten teacher. I strive to be like the kindergarten teacher she was and still is today. I have such wonderful memories from kindergarten and I want to create those positive memories for my own students. We have kept in touch over the years. Knowing that she is still passionate about teaching after all these years is beyond encouraging to me. I will never forget Mrs. Jones and my kindergarten year. This is her today 🙂