Complementary

To hear this term is to presume something positive. It implies that things fit with one another, get along, are nice.

Yet in the field of psychology, complementary behavior may not always be as helpful as it sounds.  It means you respond back to someone in the same way they did to you.  For example, if someone yells at you, you yell at them.

By comparison, non-complementary behavior is responding to someone in a different way from which they acted towards you. …


Tears

It happened as the parade of cars drove through our town, our children’s teachers beeping and beaming as we waved.

It happened as I attended the virtual graduation ceremony at City College and read the students and parents’ supportive and proud comments and emojis scroll down the Youtube Live chat box for an hour.

It happened as I watched each episode of Some Good News, as each story chronicled one beautiful act of appreciation after another.…


Laugh

“What kind of tree can you fit into your hand?”   —- “a palm tree.”

Each morning our daughter’s elementary school principal shares a taped video message.  She concludes it with a joke submitted by a student – similar to the one above. This ritual is a new one, as  previously the morning announcements in school did not include any joke telling.

While not privy to the reason behind this addition. My…


Let’s see how your mind works

In this interview, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, recounted what attributes are common among musicians. One that resonated was the idea of musicians having especially patterned minds. The term refers to the ability to remember and think in patterns. In music this comes in especially handy in remembering chord progressions, lyrics etc. For an average person, we might be able to recite the words to a song we know only if we begin at a familiar place, like the beginning or at the chorus.…


That is very kind of you

“That is very kind of you”  I said to the man on the train who offered up his seat so I could sit next to my mother.  I’m not sure why I used that somewhat antiquated phrase. Perhaps it is because I have been thinking of kindness a lot lately.

It began last month when my wife and I took our three daughters to see Little Women.…


What does a child feel?

We’ve all been there. Seemingly out of nowhere, a child just loses it.  These meltdowns have an almost surreal beginning, leaving us wondering, “Where the hell is this coming from? “  They quickly escalate into an exorcist-like demonic possession. What else can possibly explain what is being spewed from the mouths of babes?  The litany of complaints, grievances, and injustices fly out like one speaking in tongues.…


Wisdom from William Shakespeare and Marc Maron

The irony of self-knowledge is that to gain it, you need to look outside of yourself. Recently I noticed that tucked inside the word acknowledgement are three smaller words – a + knowledge + me.

Yet science shows that we are wired not to see the broader context of our lives. While confirmed by modern research the sentiment goes back at least to the days of Shakespeare – who wrote in Julius Caesar:

Lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.…


What will you see when you listen to this?

Ira Glass has said “audio is the most visual medium.”  He was referring to the ability of gifted storytellers to paint pictures in our minds using the intimacy of their voice as a brush and words that provide color and form.

Another way to interpret that phrase is the ability to help us hear something that changes the way we forever see the world.

Throughout most of my life, this largely happened via music. Gifted


What will you do at 3:00PM today?

Across the country today, graves will be marked by American flags and adorned with flowers.  Each will be a poignant reminder to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
 
The origin of Memorial Day is not without controversy.  Many date its unofficial beginnings to the period immediately after the Civil War when southerners began decorating the graves of fallen soldiers.  What was seen as an incredible act of conciliation, the women of the South who led this effort, treated the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers that same – decorating both. …


What Do You Do When You’re Wrong?

In response to last week’s post, several readers wrote me to point out an error. I incorrectly wrote, “Mr. Rogers invited the postman, Mr. McFeely, to come soak his feet in his pool.”  

In reality, he invited Officer Clemmons. Mr. McFeely is white while Officer Clemmons is African-American – not a minor point considering Mr. Rogers was trying to make a statement about integrating public pools.

My initial instinct was to hope no one else noticed and ignore it.