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Life Lessons: Educator’s Edition…Ruth Nemzoff


Life Lessons: Educator’s Edition…
Ruth Nemzoff

Welcome to a special edition of Good Enough Mother Life Lessons! With school well underway in most parts of the country, we thought it would be great to devote some time and space to the people who are so good to our kids.. educators! Hope you enjoy these special Life Lessons and happy school year to teacher, students AND their parents!

Are you happy at the moment?

Yes. The empty nest affords me opportunities to pursue my own interests. I love having fewer daily family responsibilities.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

If you are lucky, life is long. Have patience with the journey.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

We all continue to grow and change. We should not freeze our perceptions of ourselves or others.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I would like to create groups which explore family relationships. I hope my two books Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children, and Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family, will facilitate these conversations.

What’s your secret to happiness?

My secret to happiness is having several arenas to use all of my skills…family, community, and profession.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Swimming everyday keeps me grounded.

What’s your biggest regret?

I don’t have one, because throughout life, I have reflected on my unfulfilled dreams and tried to fulfill them.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

The most important lesson I taught my children is to be kind to each other and to others.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I wish I could be more organized, however, I have adapted to my own unique, chaotic systems.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I’m most proud of the three programs I have helped build for persons with disabilities…Goodwill Industries Job Placement Program in Boston, The Plus Company Shelter Workshop in New Hampshire, and Gateways: Access to Jewish Education.

When were you happiest?

Now. I have family to enjoy and can look back on several successful careers, including being a state legislator, being a professor, and now being and author and public speaker.

What ten words best describe you?

Energetic. Passionate. Creative. Risk-taker. Athletic. Driven. Thoughtful. Adventurous. Caring. Positive.

What is the best way parents can help you in the coming year?

In the coming year you might ask your child or grandchild how you might be helpful to them. If, for example, if homework time is crazy and stressful, you might offer to help via phone or Skype. Sometimes children need the comfort of knowing they can ask a question.They child may might never contact you, but just knowing they can talk with some one can reduce tension.

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff, author of Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws into Family (Palgrave/Mcmillan Sept. 2012) and Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children (Palgrave/Mcmillan 2008) is a resident scholar at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center. She holds a doctorate in social policy from Harvard University, an MA in counseling from Columbia University and BA from Barnard College. Find more information at


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