My name is Jennifer Morrison. Here is a bit of my story. It may or may not explain why I am here.
When I was about 40, I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was sitting in a creative memoir writing class, feeling utterly and completely moved by the impact that the simple act of telling a story had on the members of the class. I kept thinking about how *I* would teach the class, which I thought was kind of funny at the time, because despite the fact that I am preceded by long line of teachers, I had never, ever considered becoming one of them.
But it struck me suddenly and forcefully that I wanted to help people tell their stories. This was it; this is what I could do to make a difference in my little corner of the world.
Okay, it didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Back in university I had explored the power and significance of the story – from great literature through to storytelling as an educational tool to empower illiterate people in the most poverty stricken areas of the world. I learned that we understand our world through stories, whether they come from artists, family, historians, religious leaders, politicians or media.
Having no idea how to develop a class, and serious doubts about my ability to run one, I go back to university.
There, I frame my interest in the story around the study of lifelong education and the significant role it plays on a personal, community and global level. And every memorable marker in my own life of learning is substantiated during this time. Grade five: A creative classroom fosters holistic learning. Grade eight: Compassion in the classroom makes learning experiences more meaningful. High school: Questioning the status quo empowers you. University: Study that is validated against your own personal experiences transforms you.
So I get an education degree, and then a certificate to teach English as a second language (ESL). I find out I’m actually a pretty effective facilitator. Teaching gigs happen. I get creative in my lesson planning and people learn. And they enjoy it. To now, I’ve taught both in-class and online courses in fiction and non-fiction, and ESL. I achieved both my B.Ed. (Adult Ed.) and B.A. (Communication Studies) as an adult learner. I am currently working on a post graduate certificate in Expressive Arts, where I continue to discover new strategies for facilitating arts-based learning programs and helping learners unleash the creative process. At 47, I’ve not ruled out a masters degree.
My biggest education came from Carly and Kelsey, the marvellous creatures the universe somehow deemed me worthy of parenting. They have taught me more than any teacher possibly could – powerful lessons about love, patience, wonder, humour, beauty, devotion, contentment, hope, faith, gratitude, the supreme value of being silly and the fact that sometimes, things really are funnier the more times you say them.
Carly and Kelsey were ever lovely and devoted to a mother who got atrociously cranky in traffic, valued experience over money, never did anything in a practical fashion, took wrong turns and got lost with remarkable consistency, pointed out subversive messages in the Disney movies they were trying to watch, forgot to do the laundry sometimes, thought birthday parties at McDonalds were dumb, was vehemently intolerant of small Christmas trees, rarely baked cookies and who stood on the dining room chair and played air guitar to really loud music. But she also adored Carly and Kelsey for each of their unique and special gifts, and she told them so often.
She made really good soup and outstanding lasagne. She brought them into a loving circle of family and friends, all of whom cared for them from the bottoms of their souls. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Our village did a damn good job and I will be eternally grateful. Carly and Kelsey continue to generate an abundance of love and light with every passing year, and now that they are independent adults, I am approaching life as if there is an adventure around every corner. But the greatest adventure of all began when those beautiful, smart, funny little toe heads came into this world and all the best stories began.
I believe everyone has a story worth telling. And in particular, stories from real life. I believe the world is a better, more democratic, tolerant, just and beautiful place when more people tell their stories. Whether a story is intended for publication, personal growth, or sharing within a family, the act of telling it is tremendously rewarding. If, through this website, I can inspire one person to tell a story, then I’ll have deemed it a success.
talk to me: jensrealia AT hotmail DOT com
Copyright © Jennifer Morrison 2008