#presentwoman Highlight – Teacher Beth Rittenberg

Ron & Beth

#presentwoman – Beth Rittenberg

Many of you ask where I receive my inspiration to write and speak as often as I do. I’ve mentioned before how blessed I was to have grown up with the parents I have. The other blessing I had growing up was being surrounded by the outside influences I had such as teachers and other adults. God has continued to bless this area of my life well into adulthood.

It is a distinct joy of mine to highlight a #presentwoman I had in my life growing up, Beth Rittenberg. She raised four sons and one of those sons, Bart Rittenberg, became one of my best friends and that has continued even into today.

Mrs. Rittenberg wasn’t just my second mom growing up she also taught school at Vassar Public Schools in my hometown of Vassar, Michigan. Recently she won the ‘Excellence in Education’ award from the Michigan Lottery. The news of this award didn’t surprise me in the least considering I had a front row seat of the investments she made and continues to make in students year in and year out.

Mrs. Rittenberg granted me the permission and honor of highlighting her for all of you. Enjoy the interview below…


#presentwoman Interview

Joshua Koch: Why did you get into teaching?

Mrs. Rittenberg: I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was in the third grade. My teacher, Mr. Richey, made me a wizard’s hat for learning my multiplication tables. He made me feel so accomplished. I just wanted to be like him.

I graduated high school at a time when the teaching profession was saturated. I was told, “Don’t go into teaching, you’ll never get a job,” but by 18 years old, I knew I was called to be a teacher. So I stepped out in faith and got my teaching degree. Not only did I get a job teaching in the community where I lived, I got to choose which job I wanted. God has surly blessed me with a career I love and kids who have enriched my life and made me a better person.

Joshua Koch: Teaching has obviously changed over the years.  What makes you continue investing into the lives of students?
Mrs. Rittenberg: Boy things have changed over the years in public education and the world in general. I also say, “Lord don’t let me stay too long at the dance!” I still love teaching kids.
Here is what drives me: it is not all rainbows and ponies, but on those occasions when you know a student finally ‘gets’ it.
Times they feel like ‘wow I can do this.’
Times they smile at a cheesy pun or stupid song I make up, or they shake my hand, or even ask me to pray with them, that’s my motivation!
I’ve decided that growing old is not bad at all because lately I’ve been invited to former students weddings, or have worked with them on projects, or even just connected with them on Facebook.
That is just so rewarding seeing them grow into wonderful human beings.
Axiom & E-mails
Joshua Koch: Have any favorite Josh & Bart stories?
Mrs. Rittenberg: I spent a lot of time on my knees praying, “Lord, please watch over those boys, and don’t let them do anything stupid!” Two things that come to mind right away:
First –  when you and Bart hacked into a friends email account (when technology was still pretty new, back in the days when I would unplug the keyboard from the home computer and stick it in my truck when I left the house) and sent out a mass email that I’m sure you guys thought was funny at the time.
Bart was kicked off the computers at school and that’s when the juniors were online studying for the SAT’s! I was so mad at you two.
Second – Bart’s summer before college when he should have been working, but no, he toured with your band Axiom, which by the way, that name is stilled duct taped to my wall downstairs. On my knees again, “Lord, please don’t let those boys get killed this summer!”
But the night he called us after you guys played at Cornerstone, and he was recalling the story of a young man who was demon possessed and everyone around just started praying including you two.  Bart witnessed the power of the Almighty God that summer and I knew you boys were exactly where the Lord wanted you to be.
Manhood From A Mother’s Perspective
Joshua Koch: As a woman, who raised four incredible men, and married to one as well, what does ‘manhood’ look like to you?
Mrs. Rittenberg: Four boys and six grandsons, born to raise the sons of Earth! Raising men of God requires lots of diligent prayer time for sure and an ability to let go and give them up to Christ.
Oftentimes I take them back and try to fix the problem myself, that’s the struggle for any parent. For me, manhood looks, first and foremost, as having a relationship with Christ. Possesing a servant’s heart, first to their wife and children, to their church family, to their community, and to their job.
Manhood comes from being the spiritual head of their household, which sounds old fashion, but it is prudent. It comes in the form of leading prayer, singing praises, reading the bible, a kind work, a hug, and a hold of a hand. It comes from being a man of integrity. Manhood is using your gifts to harvest your field to the very edge.

My Note To You

Mrs. Rittenberg, now it is my turn. The example you’ve set for me from childhood to this day has been paramount to me turning into who I’ve become. As great as my parents are, it is people like you that invested in my development that turned me into the man I strive to be.

I love you very much. It was an honor of mine that you let me write this about you. This can’t repay what you provided me with growing up, but know that I admire you deeply and wish you even more blessing than you’ve experienced.


#presentwoman Series

As you may recall I wrote a highlight on a friend of mine named Abby. You can read her story here.


eBook ‘Simply, Give A Crap About People’

We are excited to announce that the writing process has begun for our first eBook. This eBook, titled: ‘Simply, Give A Crap About People,’ will be available to all of you free of charge. You will be able to download it across numerous platforms.

Whether you have been on this journey with us since the beginning or a couple of hours: Thank You.

One way we would like to thank you is by sharing some of your stories in the eBook.

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Continue being #present

Joshua Koch – Contributor

 

2 Comments on “#presentwoman Highlight – Teacher Beth Rittenberg”

  1. Joshua, I thought you were a pretty cool cat in your youth, but I just LOVE the man you’ve become😘
    ~Raise a child in the way he should go and when he’s old (or still pretty young) he will not depart!!!

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