Fun?

I’m not sure if I would describe myself as a fun person. Sure I can be funny and I like to have fun – who doesn’t? I also lead a happy and satisfied life. But am I “fun”? Are you?

By “fun,” I’m referring to someone who is naturally disposed to fun. They seek the company of other people, enjoy novel experiences, always up for a good time, like to be the life of any party – even if it’s a party of one or two.…


Grid

Grab a pencil.

Create a grid with an x (horizontal) and y (vertical) axis.

Label the x axis “Time” and the y axis “Meaning”

Now begin to plot the major activities in your life – both professional and personal – on the grid.

For example, I spend a lot of time on email – and generally get little meaning or value from it. Conversely, I get a tremendous amount of meaning from writing and spend comparatively less time doing so.…


Tickets

I was interviewed recently for this article that appeared in the New York Times.

It was a vivid and important look at how young people around the world assess their potential for success in life and what they think is necessary for achieving it.

Perhaps surprisingly, young people in poorer countries were generally more optimistic about their chances of future success than those in more economically developed countries like the United States.…


Experiment

There is a passage in Richard Power’s thought-provoking new novel, Bewilderment, that I find myself returning to again and again.

It describes an epiphany of sorts he has when considering his son and the undiagnosed mental health issues he is dealing with. He writes:

“Watching medicine fail my child, I developed a crackpot theory: Life is something we need to stop correcting. My boy was a pocket universe I could never hope to fathom.…


Build

I promised my daughter I would make her bed on Friday.

I finished it on Saturday.

Of course, making her bed wasn’t just tucking in her covers, arranging her stuffed animals and fluffing her pillow. It was putting together a new loft bed with a built-in desk and shelves underneath.

Now, I don’t consider myself especially handy. I’ve hung some drywall in my time and done a few projects here and there but by and large I would admit my skills are as limited as my tool box.…


Freedom

This weekend my youngest daughter, fresh off her 10th birthday, began her fifth stint in quarantine.

This time around she will miss two soccer games, one of her best friend’s birthday parties, running a Girls on The Run 5K that she’s been in training for months and of course, trick or treating on Halloween. She will also be spending the next week doing school online. Bringing her total time of unnecessary online learning to over forty days.…


Serve

Two weeks ago I watched a grown man cry and it was extraordinary.  They were neither tears of sadness or joy. I suspect they were tears born out of a deep humility, appreciation for others and a calling to serve.

The man was Colin Powell and the event, which was one of his last public appearances before dying last week, was for the school named in his honor; The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.  …


Will

On Thursday, my wife and I met with a lawyer to put in place a will – a task that was long overdue. I suppose that one of the reasons for the delay was our aversion to confronting our own mortality. Though, we already had many of the difficult conversations necessary to make decisions that form the basis for this binding legal document. The most important of which was the selection of who would serve as the legal guardians to our children should both of us die while they were still young.…


Books


Two weeks ago, I was one of over fifty children’s book authors who participated in the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. It was incredible to see so many children and their families demonstrating their love of books. While signing books and seeing a kid’s face light up is an unimaginably cool experience, the best part of the day came when a teacher, who had traveled the whole way from Hershey, Pennsylvania, approached me with a small gift and important story.  …


Subtract

Recently, I had two exchanges with family members that did not go particularly well. Both were spurred on by trying to refute or debate claims fueled by divisive media outlets. Since the election, I have largely tuned out of political shows, but like Michael Corleone says in the Godfather, “Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!”

I called one of them the following day and posed this simple question: “Does watching political shows bring you any joy?”…