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, November 28, 2012


   I lie to children.  Monday through Friday, September to June, at some point during the school day, I lie to children just entering their double-digit years.

   Maybe “lie” is too harsh a word.  I fool, I act, I entertain.  I persuade, I cajole, I influence.  

   I read with an excitement I don’t feel about Father Serra and the establishment of the California Missions.  I pretend to listen with interest as a student recounts a video game experience.  I bite my tongue and don’t tell a child I’m glad I only have to be her teacher until June.

   I “create” an honest statement of praise to begin each parent/teacher conference.  I diplomatically tell a parent that their child has leadership qualities, meaning they’ve become the “mean, popular kid.”  I tell a parent their child has artistic tendencies, meaning your child is drawing “Angry Birds” during lessons.

   Upon returning from a one week Thanksgiving break, I’m met with hugs and echoes of “I missed you.”  When asked, I tell students I missed them too.  But I lie.  It’s not that I didn’t miss a particular student, it’s that I didn’t miss my job - teaching this group of students.  Because I’m not just teaching.  I’m mothering.  I’m counseling.  I’m feeding.  I’m 
reminding about untied shoelaces, encouraging a child to take a jacket outside to ward against the chill in the air.  I’m teaching the importance of “please” and “thank you,” and I’m teaching how to win and lose graciously.  

   And, I confess, I do things and say things that no teaching-credential program would approve of.  I am sarcastic - “Thank you for waiting so quietly.”  I use guilt - “Go apologize to the office staff for being noisy as we walked by.”  I try to shame my students with, “I’m so disappointed in you.”  And I hope flattery will bring more of the desired behavior - “You’re too smart to need reminders about how to walk in a line.”

   I am the hugging teacher.  The one that greets her class each morning with, “Good morning, loves.”  I am the nurturing teacher, the one who draws hearts on the board, to send my students love while they’re taking a test.  I do it because it’s the only way I know how to teach.  

   And I confess, some children are harder to love than others.  Some children are much more difficult to appreciate than others.  Some children scare me; my future is, to a certain extent, in their hands.

   I confess that some days I count down the hours until the final bell.  I confess that by the time March rolls around, I’m counting down the days to spring break.  And upon returning from spring break, I’m counting down the days to summer vacation.

   I confess that teaching is harder than I ever thought it would be.  I confess that, after twelve years, I fantasize about quitting my job.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Publication News!

I am pleased to share that one of my personal essays "13 Lessons About Marriage" has recently been published at www.divinecaroline.com.  Here's the link:


I hope my readers know how very thankful I am for you!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


       Memory works in funny ways.  I can recite the Preamble to the Constitution but not always recall what I ate for dinner the evening before.  I can recite phone numbers and license plate numbers but not remember where I last put down my pen.

Thirty-six years on this planet and here are some of my random memories:

My first memory dates back to when I was almost three.  I wore a nightgown, and my brown hair hung down.  I was leaning on the wall behind me as I talked on the phone that hung in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen.  My Grandma sat on the couch, facing the fireplace.  I know I was speaking to one of my parents.  And I know they were at the hospital, and when they came home, I’d have a baby sister.

I remember attending kindergarten orientation, wearing sandals, and worrying when the teachers announced that students would not be permitted to wear anything but closed-toe shoes to school.  Had I already broken a rule?  (My mom assured me it was okay for that one day).  

I remember a birthday party at Burger King, leaning forward to blow out the candles, and my long hair almost getting singed by the flames.

I remember I wore a skirt the night I first was kissed.

Those are just random snapshots - a few culled from the millions of momentous moments scattered throughout my life.

And now I wonder - what will my son remember?

I am trying to raise my four-year-old son with endless amounts of love along with a sense of fun and responsibility and security.  I am trying to raise my son in a home that is happy.  I am trying to give my son confidence to be who he is.  I am trying to provide my son with a childhood full of memorable moments.

    What will stand out from the millions of moments we share?  I can only hope the good moments will be those he holds on to and carries with him throughout his life.

There is  his first visit to Disneyland.  His Halloween performance at preschool.  A pony ride at Griffith Park, a tricycle ride around the block, picking out the Christmas tree with Daddy, or visiting Grandpa at the golf course.

Or will it be a Sunday outing to Ralphs, an afternoon spent outside watering the plants, or shredding lettuce for our dinner salads?

I don’t know yet, but I’m anxious to find out.  
Readers, I must ask, what is your first memory?  I’d love to have you share in the comments section!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Books, please

   I am a book person.  Each summer, my mother would take my sister and I to the library at least once a week.  We each borrowed ten books (the maximum), and as my mom drove us home, I began reading in the car.

   My shyness and unease during high school would propel me to search for a place where I felt accepted.  I found refuge in the school library, volunteering at lunch and after-school.  

   During college, I worked part-time in a public library.  And as an undergraduate student, I gained classroom experience by volunteering to read aloud in an elementary school classroom.

   Suffice it to say, I am reluctant to embrace a hand-held tablet device.  For those who travel, I think the tablet certainly does solve the problems of space and added weight that a pile of books can create in crammed luggage.
          However, in my mind there are so many benefits, so many reasons why we can’t stop publishing physical books.  Here is my list of the five reasons why I prefer a book to a digital version.
  1. Books are unique.  The font, picture, and design of each book is distinct.  The covers are designed to stand out.  They are a way of glimpsing the content inside as well as differentiating one book from another.
  2. Books are substantial.  Meaning, they fill up my bookcase.  Physical books are a way of documenting my life, my interests.  There is the shelf of books about parenthood.  The shelf of books about living in France (a fantasy of mine).  The shelf of books about teaching.
  3. Books can be easily shared.  I can read a novel that I enjoyed and pass it along to my mom, knowing she’ll be entertained.  
  4. Books can be personalized.  I highlight while I read, tag pages with post-its, and mark thoughtful passages.  My reading thus becomes my reading, different from someone else’s final take on the story.
  5. Books are cheaper.  A book is much easier and cheaper to replace than a tablet.  Accidents happen, and I admit I once dozed off in the bathtub and dropped the biography I was reading into the lukewarm water.  The book was ruined, but I was able to easily buy myself a replacement copy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Contrary Costumes

I know Halloween was a week ago, and I should now be thinking of turkey and mashed potatoes.  Instead I’m still scratching my head, wondering what on Earth parents are thinking when they allow their child to dress in certain costumes for Halloween.

My son is four years old so it’s been easy to select Halloween costumes for him.  On his first Halloween, Ryan was a pumpkin, the next year Mickey Mouse, next Pablo the Backyardigan (Pablo and Mickey were hand-me-downs), and this year Ryan was a firefighter.  I know that as Ryan gets older he’ll want to have more of an active part in the decision making process when it comes to selecting his costumes.  And I’ll deal with it when that time comes.

But I’m thinking of the students at my elementary school and what their parents allowed them to wear for our school-wide costume parade.  This year, “blood” was on shirts, hands, and faces.  

Students were dressed as “nerds;” a term I’ve never been fond of nor have I fully understood.  When I have asked students to explain what a nerd is they will first tell me that a nerd is a smart person.  I think that is someone who should be celebrated not teased.  One of my students, in her “nerd” costume, wore large black plastic eyeglass frames, a plaid blazer, lipstick, and carried a clipboard.  One student was dressed as an older woman, complete with extra padding on her backside.  

   The day after Halloween one of my students told me that while he didn’t dress up for our school parade, he did go out trick-or-treating with his family.  His costume?  He was a homeless person - dirty face, torn clothes, bare feet.  I was aghast.

I understand that Halloween is supposed to be a day of fun, a day when you can do things you can’t or wouldn’t normally do.  But why are parents allowing children to participate in this way, to perpetuate some of these stereotypes?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Challenges of Baby Naming Essay

Challenges of Baby Naming Essay L.A. Parent has published one of my essays! Check it out (and the adorable picture of my little king and me!)