The Mom Next Door: Kathy Loewen



Written by Leigh Attaway Wilcox
[ FortWorthChild Magazine, August 2007, page 19, Edited by Shelley Hawes Pate]

Not many schoolteachers can say they've climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kathy Loewen can. In February, this petite, Black Belt, uber-active mom of two adolescent boys, scaled the tallest free-standing mountain rise in the world. Her sixth grade math students, along with her 12- and 16-year-old sons, followed along from across the world as she and her team worked up to the summit. Her classes charted the ascension through e-mails sent at varying points throughout the trip.

Having taught high school and preschool, Loewen has happily settled in teaching math at Eubanks Intermediate School in Southlake. While many might consider this a tough age to teach, Loewen enjoys adolescents because she can see tremendous growth from the beginning of the year to the end. Loewen also enjoys the aspect of integrating real-life math into lesson plans.

WHAT SHE DOES:

“I've always been very, very active. I was blessed to have two boys who love the outdoors and are also very active; as a family we do a lot together,” explains Loewen. The fact that her boys love to run, hike and climb—just like mom—simply opens doors for them to spend time together. Every summer the three make a trip to Colorado to hit the mountains. As a marathon runner herself, it is fitting that Loewen's boys enjoy running and often jog with her. Both boys share her love for martial arts as well. They started karate in 1997, as a family, and it has brought them together in many ways ever since. “We workout together two or three times a week, we go to tournaments together; my boys are now even teaching Karate. It's a neat way to teach them leadership skills.”

HOW SHE DOES IT:

Facing a classroom full of hormonal pre-teens five out of seven days a week and raising two adolescent boys as a single mother sounds like it would be overwhelming, downright nightmarish at times, right? Not when talking to Loewen. She's the epitome of a calm and fulfillment. She lives her motto quite obviously everyday: “Don't sweat the small stuff.” When facing a dilemma, Loewen asks, “Is this going to matter in 5 years? If the answer is yes—then I'd better address it. If not, them maybe it doesn't need the effort, attention or stress that I'm putting into it.”

Above all, Loewen shares, “Remember what's important. For me, my boys are the important thing.” It can be all too easy to get caught up in the oh-so-busy aspects of everyday life . . . the dishes, vacuuming, laundry, cooking and bills; Loewen simply doesn't. “You've got to know where their hearts are. You've got to know what's in their minds. The only way you can know that is by listening to them. Once you know that—you can tackle just about anything and get through it.”

SIDEBAR: QUICKTIPS

•  Teach your children responsibility. Not only for them and their future, but for your own sanity, too. Kids become contributors in the family.
•  Be flexible. Remember that kids think and see things differently. Try to understand issues from a child's perspective.
• Share an online family calendar. Everyone can see what is happening with all family members when planning events. Kids gain a feeling of importance in the family when they see their events and can even schedule them.