Expectations

Two teams compete in the Olympics.

Both win the Bronze.

One country is elated and the other disappointed.

So goes the power and toxicity of expectations.

When considering the word expectations, it’s almost impossible to imagine it without some qualifier.

High, low, exceeding, diminished, raised, wildest, lowered, defying, beating, surpassing, failing, great, outsized, living up to, playing down and on and on.

So unhealthy is our relationship with this word that when we say that something has “met our expectations,” we shrug our shoulders, suggesting some level of mild disappointment.…


Eventful

This Sunday was quite the eventful day for me for multiple reasons.

CBS Sunday Morning segment featuring the story behind my new children’s book, Three Little Engines was scheduled to air. The excitement was palpable for several reasons. The idea of having my book and its message shared with an audience of millions is obviously pretty cool.  Selfishly, the idea that my mom, my family and friends would be able to gather around the TV to see me talk – not just about the book – but about how grateful I was for all they had done to get me “over the mountain” was a tremendous gift.…


Blind

We knew this moment would come.  

Throughout the pandemic, our family has been watching Little House on the Prairie.  It has in many ways been a cathartic experience, watching the Ingalls family with all of its struggles persevere through no shortage of difficult times.

While the book has been subject to recent criticisms, the television series from my youth has held up remarkably well – tackling issues of poverty, race, Native American relations with nuance and compassion largely unseen today. There…


Breathe

A few random times each day, my Apple watch will beep with a nudge for me to breathe.  Presumably this isn’t because I’ve stopped doing so, but rather a reminder to take good deep breaths for up to a minute.

On average, we take 20,000 breaths a day. A vital and subconscious act that we take for granted. Think about it. How many of your own breaths do you even notice each day?…


Engines

We love to think that we are the primary engine of our own success. And there is no doubt that our individual effort is critical in almost any achievement.

But as my new children’s book, Three Little Engines – a modern retelling of the classic The Little Engine that Could that comes out on Tuesday – I wanted to use this opportunity to illustrate who really helped this book ‘get over the mountain.”…


Depends

As Independence Day approached, I decided to google the root word “depends.” The origin of “depends” goes back to the Latin terms “de” meaning down and “pendere” meaning “hang.” Hence the dual and often conflicting definition of both “needing or requiring support” (e.g. “I depend on you”) and “undecided or open to influence” (e.g.“It depends”)

Many Americans have a strong aversion to the idea of dependency or even its softer cousin, “interdependency.” …


Fairness

Consider this scenario. One daughter goes to the pool and her mom buys her some candy. Another daughter goes into town with her friends and uses her allowance money to buy some candy. A third daughter gets no candy that day.

Is this fair?

This was exactly the debate that unfolded in my household last week.  

One one level, you could look at this one particular situation and conclude that it isn’t fair. …


Lucky

Over the last several months, I’ve been on a good run.  

It started with being asked to give the commencement address at my alma mater. 

Then on Friday, I published my first piece for Esquire.  I’ve always wanted to write for them and this specific topic, “Dads without Dads” is an especially personal reflection timed for Father’s Day.

There is an NPR special report I’m working on examining inequality in education on Long Island that will air at the end of the month.…


Artifacts

If you see the movie version of “In the Heights” based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, you are likely to be wowed by the lavish dance numbers, moved by the stories of dreams and swept up by the fantastic music. Yet for me it was the poignancy of a collection of artifacts that show up in the film’s penultimate scene that will linger long after the images and tunes leave my head.…


Dogs

It seems as if every other person I know got a dog during the pandemic.  A testament to the many perceived positive attributes of man’s best friend.

While we welcomed our dog, Scout, into our family four years ago, I can attest to how much their love can do for a family during the most difficult of times.

Whether in a human home or within their own families or packs, dogs by and large are loyal, cooperative and caring.…