Sharing their wisdom

It was a real honor to have Selina Everson, Linda Belardi, and David Katzeek open their chest of knowledge in front of our class today. I truly believe that what makes each culture unique are the stories, advices, and wisdom that are transmitted from generation to generation through elders.

We have an interesting saying in Romanian : “ Cine nu are bătrâni să-şi cumpere“, which basically is translated: “ Who doesn’t have elders should buy some.”  Where do we buy our elders? What this really means is that the richness of people is not measured by material things, but by the elders who are our connection to the past and our bridge to the future.


Listening to “ Grandma Selina” speaking about her experience as a child, being forbidden to speak her native language stroke a sensible cord in me. I remembered my grandmother talking about her childhood and annexation of Bessarabia, Romanian territory to Russia. That had a huge impact on her family because all use of Romanian language was phased out, and substituted with Russian. People were not allowed to speak their language, which is such an important element that defines the identity of a culture. I admire Selina Everson because she is a survivor, she fought for her values and beliefs.


There are a few things I’m taking with me from today’s experience that I want to use in my classroom.

Firstly, David Katzeek’s advice to give students the confidence that they can do whatever they put their mind into. A great teacher knows how to build confidence in another human being.

Secondly, Selina Everson’s lesson about not giving up in front of hardness, and respecting every culture. It is really important to me as a person to preserve my culture for my kids and I would try to infuse that feeling of preserving the cultural identity in my classroom.

Finally, Linda Belarde’s words to love your students, to get to know them, and their stories.

5 thoughts on “Sharing their wisdom”

  1. Ioana, Thank you for sharing that wonderful phrase from Romania! I think it is spot on, and definitely parallel’s what the Elder’s had to say. I often wish that American society could focus more on the values and stories of our ancestors instead of the capitalist, commercialist, materialistic mindset that dominates everything we do.

  2. Thanks you so much for sharing your personal family stories. I particularly loved your saying: ” What this really means is that the richness of people is not measured by material things, but by the elders who are our connection to the past and our bridge to the future.”

    How important is that phrase! And– how many parallels I feel there are with that phrase and the words we heard from the Tlingit Elders in the panel.

    You did a great job of summarizing some important take-home points from the Elders. Thank you for reminding me of the important words and lessons learned.

  3. “ Who doesn’t have elders should buy some.” I love this! I have often toyed with the idea of adopting a grandmother so that I could learn even more about my culture.

  4. I love the idea of buying elders. We all need to promote the preservation of the knowledge of our elders – it is a resource that we lose and can do more to document!

  5. I love the Romanian phrase you shared about elders. Life’s richness truly is in our elders and in the preservation of our traditions and wisdom. Thank you for sharing that beautiful perspective.

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