What's her secret?: Don't sweat the small stuff

abredeson@islandpacket.comDecember 4, 2012 

Nancy Conder, left, poses for a portrait with her daughter Leslie Shaw and her granddaughter Ella Rae Shaw, 3, on Wednesday afternoon at Christ Lutheran Preschool.


  • Rest assured, the moms featured in this column are not bragging about themselves. They often have no idea they are even being selected for the weekly feature until they get a phone call. Most are recommended by readers. Please send your suggestions of Lowcountry moms to features writer Amy Bredeson at abredeson@islandpacket.com.

Name: Nancy Conder

Husband: Frank

Town: Hilton Head Island

Children: Two daughters; three granddaughters

Occupation: 30th year as director of Christ Lutheran Preschool

Favorite mommy moment: "My favorite mommy moments when they were little were just having them curled up in bed and reading stories. All of us are avid readers. Even at school here, that's probably the thing I stress the most is trying to instill a love of reading in children. And now I get to do it with my grandchildren at home, too."

Hobbies: Reading, gardening and taking care of her grandchildren. She has three granddaughters, ages 1, 18 months and 3.

Biggest pet peeve: A warning against one of Conder's pet peeves can be seen on a sign hanging in her office. It reads "Thou shalt not whine."

She said parents should instill basic manners in their children. Teach them to say "hello" back to someone and to say "please" and "thank you." "It's something that we really do work on every morning (at school)."

Most challenging moments: The first was when her second daughter, Leslie, got sick at 16 years old. She started having horrible pain in her stomach. An MRI showed that she had ovarian cysts and kidney stones. Leslie was diagnosed with ureteropelvic junction obstruction, a birth defect that she and her parents never knew about. She went through four surgeries, eventually losing one of her kidneys.

The other most challenging time in Conder's life was when her older daughter, Leigh Ann, moved to Colorado.

"You raise your children to be strong, independent people, and then ... they exhibit that and say, 'Bye. I'm packing up my little car, selling everything and moving across the country.' ... Watching her pull away, going out there, was definitely one of my hardest struggles."

Volunteer work: For the past seven years Conder has been on the board of Hilton Head Heroes, a local organization that provides vacations on Hilton Head to children with life-threatening illnesses. "Working on that board and seeing the families that have the children with life-threatening diseases ... it kind of puts things into perspective."

Words of wisdom: "Not to sweat the small stuff. It's not going to matter if they don't eat their peas and carrots. Read to them. Spend time with them whenever you can. They grow up fast."


Christ Lutheran Preschool

Hilton Head Heroes

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