Friday, June 15, 2012

Jim Weiss

The girls and I have been fortunate to encounter people with true passion. 
There was Lilah’s instructor from her Nature Class who emphatically believes that every child should experience the wonder of nature by being immersed in it, for hours at a time.  He could sell me a yurt in the woods by a stream and make me believe I no longer need wifi and my six burner stove......
More recently there was Geoff, the leader of the archeological dig this past May.  His passion for history and archeology solidified my belief that history is perhaps the most important thing that we can learn.  It connects human beings through a shared experience and can often give us a glimpse into the future by careful examination of the past.  Our trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art forever changed the way I will experience a museum.....
There is the Sister that runs our church’s religious education program.  Her passion is her faith.  Five minutes in her presence is good for the soul.  She has inspired my family to become better people.
One thing that these people have in common is that their lives have become centered around their passion.  It is a calling.  It may be spiritual or religious, but something moved these people to develop a passion and dedicate their lives to it.  I have often shared with my girls that pure magic can happen when you merge passion with dedication.  My hope for them is that they can have this in their lives....make a living, provide a comfortable live for themselves by doing what they love.
This week we met Jim Weiss, storyteller extraordinaire.  We have listened to many of his stories on audiobooks through the Tales 2 Go app, or from cds we have purchased and borrowed from the library.   Romeo and Juliet was brought to life in my car as my girls began to understand this Shakespearean tragedy.  My personal favorite retelling of his is Puss in Boots.  I just brings me joy.  
Jim was in our state due to a homeschooling conference taking place in Hartford this weekend.  When I heard he was giving a free appearance at a library not too far from us, I was quick to rsvp.  I wanted to be in the presence of someone who can make stories come to life.  That is Jim’s gift.  He can stand in front of a room full of children and bring stories to life.  He has a way about him that makes you lean in for more.  When he told us the fable The Tortoise and the Hare, he became the tortoise, contorting his body and facial expressions in such as way that he made us believe he was that tortoise slowly but steadily moving towards the finish line.  
Stories were shared that were new to me and geared for an older audience, for which I was grateful.  I did not realize that Great Hall Productions has a cd filled with stories from the Civil War.   Not just any stories, not the stories that were were told as students, but stories of women from both the North and the South whose tales of courage, tenacity, and bravery must be heard.  While we are not studying US history yet, I bought this cd, as well as his Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson discs.    I want to hear more of these stories and I want to share them with my girls.

I will continue to seek out opportunities for my girls to meet and be positively affected by passionate people who are using their passions, talents and drive for a greater purpose. They are role models for my children.  Perhaps Lilah will go to culinary school and open her own bakery or cupcake boutique.  Perhaps Grace choose to pursue music professionally, or realize her dream of working at The Weather Channel.  Whatever their goals may be now, or in the future, no goal can be realized to its fullest potential without passion.  

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