About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Call Me Old-Fashioned

   It’s a cliche to say that times change.  But as a mother, and a teacher, it’s all-so-evident.

   Take for example my students’ last project.  They were to complete a book report after reading a biography.  (I allowed them to read about anyone, so subjects ranged from Robert E. Lee to Madonna to Michael Jordan to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen).  The project required my students to complete their book report on a cereal box.  The inspiration behind my non-traditional book report was a Wheaties box.

   First red flag, my students didn’t know what a Wheaties box was.  They didn’t understand that it’s really a huge honor for an individual to be featured on a cereal box.  And that whole discussion made me feel quite old (I’m 35, my students are 9 and 10).  

   Fast-forward several weeks.  My students eagerly brought their cereal box book reports to class, prepared to share their work.  One of the requirements was for students to also bring their books to class.  That’s when I was handed notes.  “Dear Mrs. Kennar, We read the book on our iPad so if my daughter does need to bring the iPad to class, please let me know.”  Another note told me that their son had also read his book on the iPad and the iPad was in his backpack.  In addition to everything else I worry about on a daily basis, I was now worried that one of my students had a $600 technological device just as casually stashed in his backpack as his turkey sandwich might be.

   The bottom line is all 32 students completed their assignments.  All 32 students created cereal box book reports (although, admittedly, some more well-written than others).  I am glad that my students read books.  I am glad that most of my students enjoyed the creative freedom this project provided them.  

   However, this whole book-on-the-iPad thing is really disturbing me.  Yes, it’s convenient, but with this convenience we’re forgetting to teach our children to wait.  Back when I was a fourth grader, I would have needed my mom to drive me to the public library.  I would have to walk around and look at my book choices.  I would have had to wait in line to check out my desired book.  I would have needed to keep track of the book’s due date so I wouldn’t accrue late fines.  

   Is it really in our best interest to make everything so easy, so quick, so instantaneous for our children?  I don’t think so.  Convenience is fantastic - but more so for adults.  Our lives are fuller, busier, we’ve earned some short-cuts.  I think our kids need to learn the beauty and grace involved with waiting.  Our children need to learn that most worthwhile things in life don’t happen right away, but they do happen.

   And some people, like me, smile when I’m called “old-fashioned.”  It’s not such a bad thing.


  1. Honey,
    I agree that technology can make things too convenient and take away the satisfaction of waiting and anticipating for something we want to read, watch, or listen to. Your kids are so lucky to have a teacher like you sharing with them such great traits like patience and understanding.
    I Love You!

  2. I know I am considered old fashioned,but I will stay that way.I like the idea of holding a book in my hand to read and having them put on my book shelves when I have finished.I think parents are way too quick to buy all these electronic gadgets for their children and the children are too young to appreciate them.Some things should still be just for the adults.Your children are so very lucky to have you as their teacher.I only wish you had had teachers like yourself when you were going to school.I am so very proud of you and love you very much.

  3. I like the technology of life today, but your Mother, has taught me the value of reading and collecting books. When I read, I can escape to another time & place. I often wonder where you come up with the ideas for your Blog. Your Mother & I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad