Women – Ah….. What a vast subject! I am first and foremost thankful for the country that we live in. The influence of Christianity upon our country has freed women to become closer to men in equality than in most countries. There have been many women in my life who have been able to influence me as a result of this. I can’t even begin to talk about all the hats a woman must wear in the course of a lifetime. Growing up in the 1950s, the definition was definitely different than it is now. For most women in the 50s, staying at home, raising children, and feeling less than a man was the norm. However, in my home I never felt that I was less than my brother, or that I would grow up and achieve less. I am sure that this was because of the strong influential women in my life.
My grandma was a Mennonite. She lived a pure and simple lifestyle, but because the Mennonites believed in God’s Word, they believed that there was neither, Jew nor Greek, slave, nor free, male nor female. As a result, her parents sent her to college. This was in the early 1900s. She became an English teacher at Indiana University (needless to say, my dad’s English was impeccable). Now picture the freedom of a Mennonite woman becoming an English teacher at a secular university. She reached for the stars and captured them. She taught Sunday school, raised two children and became a staunch supporter of Moody Bible Institute.
My mother was a pastor’s wife. Words could never capture the woman that my mother was. As a young pastor’s wife at a large church that catered to college students, she was extremely busy reaching out to college students, teaching Sunday School, raising two children and meeting people’s needs. She had a dream, her goal was to go to college and become a teacher. When I entered school, she did too. Many nights after she had tucked me into bed, she hit the books. She learned how to paint at college, and she learned how to teach. I will never forget her graduation ceremony when I was in 5th grade. She was 40. Even then I knew that she had accomplished something special. Some of her friends enrolled in college after they saw what she had accomplished. None of my friend’s mothers had gone to college; after all, it was the 1950s. She went on to teach third grade for 22 years. She never forgot how to be a mom. She played games with me on rainy days, and encouraged me to become what I was intended to be: a mother of 5 and a teacher myself (I guess it is in the blood).
My oldest daughter is an Occupational Therapist. As I see Jenni work and raise an adorable daughter, I am inspired to keep going. She worked hard to get her Master’s degree and she continues to strive to improve her knowledge of her field. She never forgets to spend lots of time with Ilah and the quality of that time is top-notch. Her enthusiasm as a mom is outstanding.
My second daughter, Juli, is also a teacher. Juli inspires me by the love she showers on her son, Jonah. She is a busy teacher (there’s that blood again), she coaches volleyball, and she is working on her Master’s degree. She is pregnant, yet she is still strong and nurturing. She shows that a woman can resolve to reach so many goals at one time and still remain sane.
Kati is the oldest of my twin duo. Kati inspires me because she knows what she wants and quietly goes after it. Kati is a teacher (there is that blood again) and she is also a coach. She is working on her Master’s degree, despite teaching, coaching, and being pregnant. She is a great mother to baby Miles. I am proud of her quiet strength and her ability to achieve new goals all the time.
Krista is my baby girl – by 5 minutes! Krista inspires me to break down barriers, to reach for goals even at 59, and to keep believing in the power of women to be what we are called by God to be. She is goal-oriented through and through. She went after her Master’s degree and she remains, “all business Swenor!” I know that she will accomplish great things as a counselor.
I am really blessed to have such great women in my life! They all have inspired me and continue to inspire me to believe that God has blessed us as women, to be a blessing to those around us. Go Girls!!!!
Pam is a retired English school teacher. She is married to Dick and has five children- Jenni, Juli, Kati, Krista, and Daniel, and three grandchildren- Jonah, Ilah, and Miles. She spends her time volunteering at a local outreach, serving on the board of a local pregnancy center, watching Ilah twice a week, and is currently helping her youngest daughter plan a wedding long distance:) Now that they’re retired, Pam and Dick also like to take camping trips to National Parks in the fall.