Friday, January 12, 2007

Joann the "child whisperer"

I was kind of a strange 12-year-old. At a "Parents & Teens" workshop
in the mid-1980s, Joann took me aside to have a chat about the
direction I was headed in life.

It was obvious to me that Joann was "not like other grown ups" -- she
listened to what I had to say, and talked about it with me as if we
both had special knowledge of our subject, like one expert to
another. It felt almost... collegial.

And I really liked the fact that she didn't "freak" when I told her
some of the crazy things that I believed. In fact, I remember her
just smiling quietly, that Joann-ish twinkle in her eye. And after
weighing my words with real respect, she told me: good grief, change
course, kiddo! Somehow she could treat me like both an equal AND as
a kid who seriously needed some guidance.

I took her advice, and my life started to get less weird, more
grounded. I met her several more times over the years at other
workshops at Haven, and found myself laughing and learning every
time. What a talent! What fun! Thank you, Joann!

Paul Ingraham


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