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.   …


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…


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.…


Cats & Dogs: Two stories about kids and culture

As I walked my dog on a blistery January morning, I noticed that every block or two, bundled up children were being dutifully escorted to their street corner. Waiting for the bus to take them to elementary school.

It would be impossible to know the exact political orientation of the parents and grandparents who had risen early and braved the cold that morning.  But given that particular Pennsylvania town’s voting history, one might surmise that it was divided politically. …


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.…


“Lift me up!”

I was on a roll.  After weeks of having task after task pile up and doing my best to just stay above water, I was now laying waste to a to do list and email box that had seemed hopelessly out of control.
 
I felt like a castaway who was adrift at sea for weeks but could finally see paradise on the horizon.
 
Just then, my eleven-year-old daughter came bounding into my room demanding playfully “Lift me up!”…


Is the force with you?

On a recent flight, I decided to watch the movie, The Last Jedi.

During one scene, Luke Skywalker dispels a long held myth about “the force.”  Over many films the assumption was that the force was something that one possessed, an internal feeling or power that was universally good.  Here Luke explains to the young Rey that the force is actually a connection we have with our world and with each other.…


What to do?

This week I watched a two-minute video and read a ten-page magazine article that hit me like a punch to the gut and left me staggering and wondering, “What to do?”
 
The video was of the sixteen-year-old environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, who had sailed from Sweden to address the United Nations.  Her provocative and passionate speech left me feeling shamed and helpless.  Watch for yourself.  How do her words make you feel?…


What’s on that post-it note?

In the corner of the sixth grade classroom, there was a chart with twenty or thirty hand written post-it notes attached. Each represented a student’s recommendation for their non-fiction essay. 
 
Approximately half were about global warming, several more about hurricanes.  A few would write about inequality or racism. By my estimate at least 80% of the suggested topics were about large societal problems.
 
My initial thought was how conscientious and social minded these students must be – which was admirable. 


Polar Opposites

It stood almost ten feet tall and weighted close to a thousand pounds. We were less than four feet away, separated by two trainers and a steel fence. Feeling small in its presence, it was literally awesome.

While most of the onlookers were equally mesmerized watching the polar bear go through its training exercises, it was impossible not to notice the five-year-old girl who sat just in front of me.…