Better

I did not see the straw that broke the camel’s back. But the reasons that compelled my 9 year old to repeatedly whip a tennis ball into her sister’s masterpiece lego house on wheels presumably ran deep into the sinkhole that was 2020.

After going all Godzilla on her sister’s prized creation, she ran down the hall and locked herself in her room. I had been getting ready for the day and missed the fireworks and the twenty minutes of sequestration that followed.…


listen

When I was a young boy, I loved to listen. I would saddle up next to my Mom, eavesdropping on grown up talk, while cigarette smoke filled the air. I would hole away in my room, laying on the top bunk, listening closely to the lyrics of every song on a new album. Late at night, I’d strain to hear the static filled voices of talk radio hosts, broadcasting from AM stations hundreds of miles away, until I eventually drifted off to sleep. …


Blessed

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as blessed as I did this Thanksgiving. It was a day of almost complete harmony among my wife and I and our three daughters.  

Our day began with a simple exercise of writing down the many people and things we were grateful for this year, in spite of all that has engulfed our nation and impaired our daily lives.

Under different circumstances, this request could have been met with eye rolls and pleas to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.…


Acceptance

When your children misbehave or act in a way that that drives you crazy, it makes it difficult to follow the guidance of Mr. Rogers to “love your children exactly as they are, without any conditions attached.”  

This type of acceptance becomes hard when confronted with a child, or an adult for that matter, who seem defiant or uncompromising. But that is exactly the point.

Accepting someone exactly as they are is a choice.…


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.…


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.…


Schools

It’s like ”playing a game of 3D chess while standing on one leg in the middle of a hurricane.”

These were the words Richmond Superintendent of Schools and former recipient of the National Teacher of the Year, Jason Kamras, used to describe the process of planning for the opening of schools.

This vivid simile captures the complexity (3D chess), dexterity (standing on one leg) and danger (hurricane), that is inherent in what seems like a near impossible task.…


Thinking

Inside Bill’s Brain is a documentary series that invites us to see how Bill Gates thinks. Among the more remarkable practices is his long standing “think weeks,” where perplexed by a particular problem, he loads up a bag of books on that topic and takes off to a secluded cabin where he just thinks about that issue. Returning hopefully with a deeper understanding, a plan of action, perhaps even some solutions worthy of exploration.…


Daddy

It is my favorite word.  To hear anyone of my three daughters call me “Daddy” is a delight, even when it is to register a complaint or voice frustration.  There is an innate tenderness to the term that I never want to go away.  I have never heard my daughters call me dad or father, although I’m guessing they use those terms whenever referring to me with their friends or teachers.   …