The End of the Would-haves, Could-haves, Should-haves

For Adult Education & Family Literacy Week, we want to share a speech given by Seeds of Literacy student Norma at a fundraiser earlier this year. It is such a wonderful speech, and conveys how much she values her family’s education and achievement — and that now it’s her turn to achieve her dreams. We hope Norma’s words inspire you, like they did us.

Many times there are the would-haves, the could-haves, and the should-haves that we carry with us for various reasons. Though the intent of addressing some of these “-haves” in our life is there, somehow the time is always taken up with something else.

What would have happened if I put my education first? Could I be in a different situation at this time? Should I have changed anything? You tell me! This is my story:

I am a single mother of two sons. My eldest graduated high school, got a job, and got married, which has lasted 21 years with 3 children. My youngest graduated high school and received a full scholarship to play college basketball. After college he was chosen by a French team to continue playing ball. He has been married 15 years and has 3 children.

I have 6 grandchildren. My eldest graduated college in three years.The second grandchild graduated college last month, and the third will be attending college in the fall.

You see, getting my sons to this point in life has been my total focus. While guiding two boys to become educated and responsible men, my education was placed on the back burner.

I have been employed by the federal government for the past 28 years. In 2010, I suffered injuries to my back and knees while working. After my claim was denied, and being unable to return to work in 2012, I had to seek assistance through social security disability. After all the medical and therapy appointments, boredom had set in. I was not ready to be confined to the house, and the money wasn’t what I used to making.

Having been out of the job market for 29 years left me feeling totally lost. I knew I needed to do something. Not quite knowing what to do, I went to the library to get a schedule for the GED classes.

At this point there are no distractions to keep me from being focused on the part of my own life that is incomplete. I knew I wanted to get my GED and take some computer classes but the concern was my age. I needed one-on-one help and I knew I would feel uncomfortable in a class with people young enough to be my children. I spoke with one of the workers who told me about Seeds of Literacy. She assured me that everything I was looking for was there.

After enrolling with Seeds, I met [Site Coordinator] Chris. If it wasn’t for Chris, I would have left and never returned. I felt out of place. He helped me by welcoming me and explaining the program in a very comforting way. Once my [skills] evaluation was complete, he assured me that I would be ok. He took my confidence to a whole new level.

Working with [Receptionist] Colin, [Site Coordinator] Sharon, and [Program Officer] Dan has been the best experience. They are right there to help you. There are challenges, but knowing that I have the support of the teachers and their help when needed makes things easier.

The tutors are awesome! These are people who take time out of their day to help others. I am so grateful for the tutors and everyone at Seeds of Literacy. They care. They are so encouraging that it makes you want to learn more. The tools for learning are at your disposal. Chris, Colin, and Sharon make sure that you have what you need to achieve your goal.

My goal is to get my GED and work again.

This is the end of the would-haves, could-haves, and the should-haves.


You can support students like Norma by donating today to Seeds of Literacy.