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February 15, 2024

White-haired, 80+ and Connected

There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.
— Rosalynn Carter, 1927-2023, U.S. First Lady and Housing Advocate

Today’s message is from Ruth Ann H. Ball, a self-described, “Exchange Leader of several years ago, author in retirement, encourager of children, future teachers and directors in early care and education programs.”

To be honored as an Exchange Leader was wonderful!!! However, as a retiree, life moves forward and we can make decisions to keep informed about what is happening in the field or we can change our focus to doing something different. I chose to make new friends and be involved in my retirement community. After 50 years in the field of early care and education, however, I continue to keep informed and stay connected with old colleagues. Reflections of wisdom gained along my professional journey are shared as I listen to former colleagues and ask questions about what is happening in the field. Professional growth doesn’t stop after retiring. We can choose to continue to grow and learn.

I was humbled recently as I sat in a restaurant reading a manuscript when a colleague from many years ago came up to me. It had been so long since I had seen her, so I asked her name. Her appearance had changed. But what she said to this white-haired, 80+ woman was that I looked great and that I continue to be an inspiration in the field of early care and education. I was shocked, but so grateful for her words. We continued our conversation as I caught up with her work and professional roles. What an unexpected gift to my day!

When life gives your lemons, make lemonade; enjoy every day with hope, love, and grace. Be open to listen and ask questions with whomever crosses your path.

As a co-author of the article, “Where We Belong When We No Longer Belong,” Ball shared this additional wisdom:

I honored my dream by practicing these principles:

  • Stand up for yourself and your values
  • What other people think of you is “none of your business”
  • Give back what you did not get; share the inside track

Share with the hashtag #ExchangeEveryDay

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