by Cami M
An book loving school teacher shares her advice on living with the past and present.
|Name: Rhoda Steiger
Resides in Connecticut
Occupation: 27 years as a reading consultant
Mission in life: “my object is to teach kids the love of reading. If I do, I feel like I’ve made an impact on these kid’s lives.”
Rhoda on boys and girls: I’d much rather have a difficult boy in class than a difficult girl. With boys you know exactly what is on their minds.
Advice on marriage: You have to work at it. It’s not just Cinderella. Don’t take it for granted. Appreciate each other.
All time favorite book: Yellow Raft on Blue Water, a saga of 3 generations of Indian women beset by hardships and torn by secrets but inextricably joined by the bond of kinship.
Rhoda and I bonded over books. “My love is reading,” Rhoda told me, but it became apparent in speaking with her that reading was as more a means, than and end in and of itself. Rhoda has spent her life teaching, combining her love of reading with the other big love in her life. “I’m a people person first of all.” She said, and books give (her) access to “other people, other times, other places.”
Rhoda spoke of the past, telling me about her mother who came to the states from Poland; and she looked to the future, speaking much of her children, “children-in-law”, and grandchildren. “I had two and my husband had two and we started with four and now (we’re) up to eleven, and my daughter is dating someone so I hope up to twelve.” It’s very fulfilling to see how the kids lives are unfolding, the different adventures they have, to see the different paths they’re taking.”
The advice Rhoda wanted to offer was about the timeline of our lives. “I think you’ve got to make peace with the past and move forward. I think a lot of people just constantly dwell on this that happened, or that…and don’t take full advantage of what they have today. Many times if you had to do things over, you’d do them differently, but you can’t. This is not a dress rehearsal.” She also was careful to add, “It’s okay to plan, but don’t wish your life away. Appreciate life and all that life has to offer… in the present.”
Rhoda’s life, like the stories she loves to read, is character driven. “To make yourself happy,” she said, “you have to be with people, just getting out and seeing the world, touching people’s lives.”
So while Rhoda appreciates the stories of her yesterdays as well as the growing legacy her family takes into the future, the message she left me with was to savor the moment appreciating the “characters” in own lives to the fullest.