Teaching brings a multitude of riches

by Joe Westerfield

IN MY VIEW published 5/11/23 in the Messenger-Inquirer

I have heard people say that they do not want their kids to be teachers because they would never make any money or have anything. Baloney! I taught school for 33 years and I am rich.

I am rich because I got to be apart of the lives of several thousand young men and women.

I am rich because I have seen these young men and women grow up to be successful doctors, lawyers, accountants, financial planners, teachers, principals, bank presidents, college professors, scientists, Realtors, business owners, morticians, architects, farmers, factory workers, mechanics, firemen, policemen, CEOs, cosmetologists, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, school board members, city commissioners, state legislators and many other jobs I may not know about or have long forgotten.

I am rich because I helped over 5,000 students register to vote. I got to see the excitement in their voices when they went to the polls for the first time and told me about it.

I am rich because I got to see the light bulb go off when they understood what I was trying to teach and when they understood why working hard was important.

I am rich because I got to see students learn to study, learn how to become organized, and learn from their mistakes.

I am rich because I got to see thousands of young ladies in their prom dresses and their dates in their tuxedos at the prom. I still have lots of pictures taken with them at the prom.

I am rich because I saw these same students at their graduations in their caps and gowns and heard their wonderful speeches and saw them march out for the last time.

I am rich because I found the vocation that I was interested in and got the opportunity to teach the subject I liked and spent time building up the experience I needed to work with high school kids.

I am rich because I have a box full of cards, letters and e-mails that former students have sent me over the years.

I am rich because of the hundreds of Facebook posts I received when I had the honor of being inducted into the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame in 2018.

I became a teacher because I thought it was one of the most important jobs in our society. I still do. Money isn’t everything!

Joe Westerfield was a teacher in Daviess County Public Schools for 33 years before retiring in 2002. He wrote this in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 8-12.

Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving on the hill

For 47 consecutive years the Burton Family has gathered together on Thanksgiving to celebrate our family and to give thanks for all our family’s blessings.  Because of Helen and Merle’s love and dedication to family we’ve grown a lot over the years but we’ve also lost a few.  Merle, Helen, Bill, Carol and Michael we miss you and look forward to the day when we will be together again.

Because of our love of family, we won’t be sharing turkey, cranberry sauce, nut dressing, oyster casserole or pumpkin pie this year.  Instead we will count on God’s good grace to bring us ALL back together next year to share our stories, tell our bad jokes, argue “a little” over politics, pray and love on one another.


1. the ability to judge well.
“an astonishing lack of discernment”

One thing that the younger generation has over the older generation, besides getting up stairs faster is they grew up with technology overload.  By growing up in a world with data, facts and opinions at their fingertips they developed the ability to see all that information through a discerning and critical eye.  They don’t automatically assume everything they read and agree with on the internet is true and everything they see and don’t agree with is false. This is not something older adults do easily.  We grew up in a world where if it was printed it was true. Now, us oldies are thrown into a world where every piece of information we read contradicts the last thing we read and we don’t know how to handle it so we just start ignoring the ones we don’t agree with and call them “Fake News”.  

How sad that with all this information available to us, we use it to prove a point instead using it to learn and grow and connect.  Sites like Facebook and Twitter are starting to help us discern the substantive from the fluff, the real from the click-bait. Facebook now adds an information tag on many articles.  But we have to do our part too and take advantage of that. So start using all the tools provided by this information age to seek out the truth for yourself. If you see a fact that doesn’t seem right or that feeds a bias you have, go check it out on sites like http://snopes.com or https://factcheck.org.  There’s a good chance there’s just enough truth in the fact to keep a less discerning reader believing it but that doesn’t have to be you.  Read an article from a news source you’re not familiar with? Check out the source on https://mediabiasfactcheck.com or the https://www.adfontesmedia.com/interactive-media-bias-chart. Having a news source that falls on the extreme left or right doesn’t mean they are spewing fake news; it just means they are picking the parts of a story to feed their narrative or agenda.  Take the time to find the same story on other sites. Great places to get both sides of stories is https://www.theflipside.io/ and https://www.allsides.com/.

It’s time for all of us to take control of all of this information and use it to build up, not tear down.  To bring together, not drive apart. To connect with discernment.

Fiorella Nut Dressing


1 1/2 lbs Pecans
Celery leaves
Parsley leaves
1/2 lb sausage
6 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Dried Bread

In food processor mix pecans, sausage, celery leaves, parsley leaves and dried bread.  Add salt, pepper, eggs and water.

Mix with hands – add more water as needed to arrive at desired consistency.

Stiff in turkey or bake in casserole dish @ 350 degrees until done.
Continue reading “Fiorella Nut Dressing”

Life lessons we could learn from our dog

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

Remember, if our dog was the teacher we would learn things like:
• When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before rising.
• Run, romp, and play daily.
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Continue reading “Life lessons we could learn from our dog”