I grew up in rural Indiana as one of five children. During my teen years I worked at a Quaker camp in northern Indiana, where I became a convinced Friend. At Quaker Haven Camp I worked with a young man who later became my husband. Soon after we were married I decided to become a teacher. So, with the income and support of my new husband, I completed my undergraduate degree in education at University of Cincinnati. Then as my husband completed his MS at Michigan State and PhD at Notre Dame, I taught school. Attending Ohio State University part-time during my children’s pre-school years, I earned a M.S. in early and middle childhood education, while my husband taught college. Thereafter and for most of my working life I have either been a teacher, teacher educator, or religious educator.
We moved to New Jersey 38 years ago to become teachers at Moorestown Friends School, where our children were also students. Before coming east in 1979 my husband and I taught in Cincinnati, in East Lansing, and in East Africa with the Peace Corps. We raised our children without our parents’ support, because they lived quite far away. Nevertheless our two children are fully grown and have been good parents themselves. We now have one grandchild, whose family lives only 15 miles away. Our daughter lives in North Carolina.
I first became involved with the Quaker Parenting Project, while I was Director of Religious Education for PYM. In my work with the Children 0-13 Committee I got to know Harriet Heath and Terry Waitz. In the mid 1990’s the Children 0-13 Committee held a PYM conference on “Raising Peaceful Children in a Violent World” and led parent discussion workshops throughout the YM on topics related to the Friends’ Testimonies. I have led Quaker Parenting workshops at Friends General Conference, in Honolulu Friends Meeting, and in Moorestown Meeting with Emma Richter since 2004. I learned that parents have a deep spiritual hunger and need to make their own decisions about how to raise their children with the support of their faith and in accordance with their values.
My path intersected again with Harriet Heath about fourteen years ago, when a group of Quaker parents began writing Paths to Quaker Parenting. The process, which we recommend in Paths………. and use to facilitate parenting groups, is one which has worked for us and empowers parents to make decisions based on their own values.