mailmanThere's a county wide campaign developing that seeks to spread awareness about the importance of stable nurturing relationships. You may have heard of it: "Tompkins: Be the One."

I've been fortunate to have had more than one 'One' in my life. At the campaign's kick off in December I found it powerful to hear from individuals young and older than young, about the 'One' in their lives. For me it is powerful to simply reflect on the Ones in my life.

Interestingly, I had a date with one of my very earliest 'Ones' a day or two after I'd attended the "Tompkins: Be the One" kick off. I pointed out to her that she was a 'One' for me.

Louise Bement was my 4th grade teacher. Sometimes school was difficult for me. I was a day dreamer. I liked daydreaming and I liked to write. When I was in her class she would give what might be considered a straightforward assignment, and to be honest I can't remember what the directions were (I bet she can though), where newly introduced words were to be used in sentences or in a story. I'm writing 'story' here because that is what I wrote. Did she suggest story? Maybe. Regardless, she accepted my stories. They were looooong.

Rather than encourage me to not ramble or to be concise, she allowed me to write to my little heart's content. I began looking forward to getting my work returned back to me. Mrs. Bement was effusive in her praise! I remember feeling so PROUD. To my delight she even mentioned my work to my parents when she ran into them outside of school. Through them I learned that she would read my stories to her husband and that he enjoyed them too!

If asked, I expect that most of Louise Bement's former students would tell you how valued she made them feel, and how 'seen' they were. We are so fortunate to have had her as a teacher.

So what is my "Be the One" up to these days? Louise Bement serves as the Lansing Town Historian. She also continues to be my One. She illustrated this to me during our recent visit. How? By gently encouraging me to share the stories I've written as an adult.

Lisa Campbell
Lansing, NY