Sick

In a year defined by sickness, this week has been particularly so. 

There are many forms of sickness of which I speak. The obvious one is the coronavirus – whose toll mounts  despite having the means right in front of us to control it.  Less obvious is the sickness in our politics and civil discourse – not just between members of different political parties but within our families and amongst our friends. …


Integrity

Are you a person of integrity?

Before you answer this question, consider these two definitions of the word integrity.  

“The firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” (Merriam Webster)

“The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change.” (Cambridge)

The key characteristic of both definitions is not the presence of moral principles or a strong moral code but it is the fact that there is a firm adherence to them and that we refuse to change them.…


Speak

Zadie Smith is a brilliant writer distinguished by both her accessible prose and astute observations of the human condition. Reading her slender, new volume of six essays called “Intimations” – all written during the pandemic – is like having a conversation with a friend as you go through a difficult time. It is a salve of words.  

Among her many gifts is humility. At one point she acknowledges a basic conceit of all writers. …


Teach

Our children have many teachers – in school and in life. The role of any teacher, defined either by profession or practice, is always critical to the success of our children. But is profoundly more so during times of great uncertainty — much like the challenging times we live in now.

Teaching is often associated with instruction, but observation and modeling are equally important.  We may say, “do as I say not as I do” but in the long run they are more likely to remember and follow our actions than our words.…


Roles

If an actor is defined by the roles he or she takes on, then by all accounts Chadwick Boseman was a man defined by dignity, strength and justice. Playing Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and the Black Panther, among others, Boseman’s talents were undeniable – as were the many ways in which he chose to share his gifts both on and off the screen.

His death last week of colon cancer at the age of 43 stopped me in my tracks – not just because it was a tragic loss of a talented person in their prime – but because the same disease has wreaked havoc in the lives of my family and friends.…


Convention

The Constitutional Convention led to the creation of our democracy. The Seneca Falls Convention was the start of the women’s suffrage movement. The Geneva Convention was a series of meetings that led to more humane treatment during times of armed conflict.

Conventions can be events that unite us, that bring together diverse groups with a shared goal and — as the examples above show — lead to important progress.…


Deep

I was drowning. 

I was just chest high in the water when my feet slipped off the rock and sent me sinking down into the deep end of a swimming hole. I don’t know if I was 7 or 8.  Nor do I recall which state park this body of water was located. What I do remember is the abject sense of terror I felt that was only assuaged when my older brother quickly swam to my aid and lifted me out of the water.…


Here

I love the Beyonce song, “I was here.” It’s an inspiring and anthemic reminder and call to action regarding our purpose. Consider these lyrics:

I wanna say I lived each day, until I die
And know that I meant something in somebody’s life
The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see

I was here


In this context and most, “here” refers to the specific time and place that we occupy. 


Catharsis

During these times, many have sought solace in a well-made television series.  One that can at the very least escape the time, one that when done well provides a much needed catharsis.

A catharsis is an emotional release – “a process of releasing and thereby providing relief from, strong and repressed emotions.”

Two shows that have provided that effect in our household bear many similarities and a few marked differences.  …


Smile

I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, my mind struggling to process the hour of bad news I had just watched.  At a loss, I wondered what would happen if I just forced myself to smile. I imagine if anyone had seen me, it would have looked quite ridiculous, as I stared at the ceiling trying to hold a forced smile as long as I could.

The first five seconds were legitimately challenging, perhaps evidence that these muscles had atrophied a bit during these last several months. Eventually, as…