Sharon StanleySharon Stanley

Hometown: Westbury

Member of EHSLI since 1996

My husband Christopher and I have been married for 24 years and we have one son in college. I am a retired, New York City teacher, who specialized in remediating children with learning disabilities, language deficits and behavioral disorders for over 30 years. After I retired, I worked as a children’s librarian in the East Meadow Public library for 2 years.

My last meal on earth:

My last meal on earth would be steak, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and a Carvel Hot Fudge Sundae.

What is your favorite movie and why?

To Sir with Love.  Sidney Poitier’s role as a teacher in an inner-city school is inspiring to me. I watched this movie the day before I would go back to school after the summer to remind me why I chose teaching as my career, despite the many challenges I faced.  Sidney Poitier remains one of my favorite actors.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?  

Chris and I enjoy swing dancing and go out several times a month. We also love to travel, take walks on the beach or in the forest, going out to eat, seeing a concert or going to the theater. I am also an avid reader.  If any of these things can include our friends and family, that is even better.

What is your idea of the ideal vacation?  

I enjoy vacations that include the wonders of nature. My goal is to visit all the national parks in the United States.  I also want to visit all of Europe and parts of Africa.  I love participating in water sports whenever I get the chance.

What is your favorite quote:

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the one you make.”  John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Who is your role model, hero or inspiration?

I am fortunate enough to have many role models and heroes. For me, The Beatles inspired my humanism and encouraged my activism.  John Lennon’s honesty and no-nonsense view on life, in addition to his musical talents have remained in my heart since childhood. George Harrison, who was greatly underestimated within The Beatles.  His way with words and music is insightful and clever.  He was the first rock and roll star to gather his famous friends and created a rock concert simply for charity; an important tradition that continues to this day. Each member of The Beatles, while together or apart, stressed beautiful messages of peace and love and they were never shy about it. It reminded us how the world could be a nicer place.   I admire Neil DeGrasse Tyson, our rock star astrophysicist, who makes astronomy and science so approachable and interesting.  Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his PBS show, “Finding Your Roots” let my family on a DNA journey to meet new cousins around the world.  Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler are among many women who I admire.  Their raw talent and tenacity are attributes I am awed by. Being a member of the ethical society and part of the ethical humanist movement at large, I am friends with so many men and women I admire.  Many have been involved in social action since the 60s and 70s and their activism and encouragement fuels mine to this day.

My son Gabriel and my husband Christopher are my inspirations. They are talented, clever and wonderfully rational thinkers. I love to ask their opinion of all sorts of things.

If you could do one thing over in life, or something you wish you had done, what would it be?

I am fortunate enough to have done so many things and met wonderful people.  I aspire to live life without regret and I try to avoid feeling remorseful; “I wish I would have…. could have…. should have….” etc.  Nonetheless, my one regret is that I made the terrible choice to smoke cigarettes and found it very difficult to quit.

What one thing do you absolutely want to do before you die? 

I love rafting and canoeing and would love to go rafting down the Colorado River.  I also hope to visit the Pacific Islands. I would love to meet Paul McCartney to thank him and tell him how much his music means to me.

Why are you a member of EHSLI?  

Chris and I found EHSLI while we were engaged and “shopping around” for a religious affiliation. We accidentally stumbled upon the society and went to meetings regularly in 1995.  In 1996 we asked David Harmon to marry us in a wonderful ceremony that our friends and family still speak about; how beautiful and meaningful it was. Our membership was cemented when we went to the YES Group’s annual Pasta dinner. We were so impressed with the teenagers we met there. They were eloquent, talented, intelligent, and musically inclined, yet still concerned with social action and making our world a better place. Chris and I decided that we wanted to be a part of this place and raise a child just like them.