My Roeper story is about finding a place where adults are nurtured with their children, or to paraphrase Robert Fulgum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, all I really needed to know, I learned at Roeper.
From psychologist Judy Packard, after she conducted what would be the first of several IQ tests for our children: “Never forget you are the parent. She might be smarter than you, but you will always be her mother.” Judy helped me learn to examine the complicated feelings I sometimes felt as an inexperienced parent, instead of just looking for a simple answer in a parenting book. She gave me the confidence to embrace the role of the mother of a gifted child. There was no right or wrong way, and she gave me the strength to accept that.
From then Head of School Chuck Webster on my new job as Lower School Secretary: “I have confidence in you. If you couldn’t do the job, you wouldn’t be here.” When internal confidence is wavering, it never hurts to have it reinforced by someone else! I almost forgot that we learn from mistakes, and I prepared myself for making plenty.
From my office in the Domes I learned that a Band-Aid or a hug can make almost everything feel better, especially when backed up with a friendly smile and/or a shoulder to lean on. And a lot of times people just need to have someone to listen. I learned that I could be pretty good at that.
From Annemarie, when I worried that our daughter wasn’t finding direction in her life: “Gifted people often have that problem. When you are only good at one thing, it’s easy to decide what you will do, but when you are good at many things, you want to try them all. Don’t forget, it’s her journey, not yours.” You can’t take someone else’s journey for them; sometimes you can’t even help them along the way. The best you can do is to offer them some tools to make their own decisions and then support them.
From Carolyn Lett, who asked me to join her SEED program: Despite my reservations about revisiting and stirring up old, painful memories and sharing these very personal feelings, she encouraged me to acknowledge those feelings and to accept those truths as part of my own story. I learned how using windows and mirrors could help me better understand myself and others.
At Roeper I found support when I needed it, help when I wanted it, advice when I asked for it, and a place for me to return the favor.
Sue Williams, former LS Secretary