By Martie Thompson
World Golf Village area resident Judy Harmon Holmes was born in Minnesota, but grew up in Maine. She attended school there and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. She also has a master’s degree in school counseling. While teaching English at a school in Cumberland, Maine, she learned of a program that would pay for an advanced degree, so she took advantage of that opportunity and earned her doctorate in teacher education and professional development from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After she completed the seven required years of teaching back in Maine to offset her doctorate degree sabbatical, she moved to Maryland, where she taught graduate courses to students and teachers at Frostburg State, part of the University of Maryland system. When she officially retired and moved to Florida, she continued to teach online classes for about three years at Frostburg State. Currently, she teaches workshops dealing with how to teach kids to become responsible and will publish her first book, “How to Create Totally Irresponsible Kids or Six Ways to Do The Opposite,” in March 2021. She and her partner, Fred Raskind, have been together for 16 years. Judy has three adult daughters and 11 grandchildren.
Q: How did you decide to retire in Florida?
A: I had a good friend who taught with me in Maine and when she retired, she moved to this area. I used to visit her here every year and I always said, “I’m going to move to St. Augustine when I retire.” It almost didn’t happen though, since when Fred retired from his synagogue, we decided to move together to Maine instead. Then one day, he found out about a part time job at Temple Bet Yam in St. Augustine and decided to take it. So we changed our plans and I ended up in Florida after all.
Q: What do you like best about living in the World Golf Village area?
A: We’ve lived in a few different places here: the Cascades, Turnberry for a couple of years, and then we just bought in The Residences. I love the landscaping here, the flowers, the birds, the water … it’s just the most gorgeous place.
Q: What made you decide to take on your project of Creating Responsible Kids?
A: We spend a lifetime learning how to do what we do professionally — and then when we finally figure it out, we retire! I felt I had more to say, so I started this website (creatingresponsiblekids.com) about the importance of kids being responsible for their own learning. I teach workshops for parents and teachers and a class at Flagler College in addition to writing the monthly blogs on the website.
Q: What are some of the tips you have on your website?
A: As parents and teachers, we can make or break the responsibility that kids should have. For instance, I recommend that instead of “why” questions, adults should ask students “what” questions. The answer to a “why” question (“Why didn’t you clean your room?”) tends to be answered with an excuse that shirks responsibility. The “what” question (“What chores were you supposed to do today?”) requires the child to take responsibility.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love spending time with family and friends as often as I can. I ski, hike and go rafting in Utah when visiting my middle daughter. I go kayaking in Maine when we vacation there in the summer. I love to write, to read and to play Bridge once in a while — but the “once-in-a-while” presents a problem because I don’t play enough to get good at it.
Photo courtesy Judy Harmon Holmes
Judy Harmon Holmes (second from right) with daughters Kristin Phillips, Kim McAvinchey, and Cheryl Scheinberg.