Humility

Consider this. If you voted in the Presidential election, then regardless of its outcome, there would be 70 million people who disagreed with you. These are not 70 million idiots, socialists, extremists, racists, or rioters. They are your fellow Americans who have different lived experiences, concerns and priorities than you. People who receive their information from different sources than you and are often surrounded by similar folks that reinforce their opinions, knowledge and biases.…


Vote?

In the 2016 election, over 110 million Americans who were eligible to vote did not.  To be more precise, 110,178,918, people over the age of eighteen sat out a race that was decided by less than 80,000 votes. 

To put that in further perspective, it is the equivalent of the entire eligible voting populations of the United Kingdom, France AND Belgium deciding not to vote in their respective elections. …


Support

To support someone or something can mean many things. The definition can be either to provide material assistance – often in the form of financial help – or  “to bear the weight of something or hold up.”

The former is clearly a lighter lift. We can make a phone call, donate a few dollars, provide a reference etc. The latter is literally a heavier commitment . 

If I asked you how many people, causes or organizations you support according to the first definition, it might be a pretty expansive list.…


We

Which word do you use more often, “We” or “I”?

David Brooks’ column “How to Actually Make America Great Again” reflects on the new book by Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett called The Upswing It chronicles America’s swing from solidarity (we) to individualism (I) over the last fifty years.

As one point of evidence, the authors cite that the use of the word “I” in American books has doubled between 1965 and 2008.


Safe

It is among the basic needs on Maslow’s hierarchy – just above those physiological needs of food, water, warmth and rest.

We tend to think first of physical safety, but there are many other forms. Consider the following questions:

Do you feel safe from disease?
Do you feel safe from natural disasters?
Do you feel safe from losing your job?
Do you feel like you can safely pay your rent or mortgage?…


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.…