Thursday, February 28, 2008

From Karen Ranzi in New Jersey

I met Lisa many years ago through a parenting group and homeschooling activities. Early on, from the days that she led folk dancing for a small group of us homeschoolers at Carole Blane's house, Lisa stood out to me because of her enthusiasm for life, her amazing energy in any endeavor she took part in, and her deep love of her family.

When I first began homeschooling my two children in 1995, I was very worried about them learning all the subjects that were offered in school so I insisted that the children work on specific topics with me at home a couple days of the week. This often involved coercing them to engage in topics not of interest to them.

Over the years, when I would see Lisa with her children, I observed her dedication to respecting their needs and interests and never to force them in any way. Lisa was gifted with a confidence in her loving attitude toward her children which I felt was contagious. She was a leading influence in my life, and her example made me examine my own parenting practices. I realized through this beautiful guiding light what was really important were my expressions of love and respect for my children.

Lisa motivated my husband Harvey and I to go to the unschooler's conference in Massachusetts last May. We participated in a parenting workshop led by Lisa and her supportive husband, Larry. I felt the power of her words which spoke about following the needs of the child and adolescent, and it is Lisa's influence that has helped me so many times in the past years to establish this loving and respectful relationship with my teenagers. Lisa would spend much time with me on the phone and at unschooling meetings giving me the confidence I needed to withstand outside pressures in disagreement with unschooling values.

I was recently visiting a mutual friend of Lisa's and mine in Costa Rica, Beth Corwin, who wrote a letter with a prayer for Lisa's recovery and to send blessings to her, which I was to deliver to Lisa upon my return on Monday. The ending quote that I will share with you sums up the way we and many others feel about Lisa:

Some people come into our lives,
Leave footprints in our hearts,
And we are never the same.
Karen Ranzi

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