A few weeks ago I attended the funeral for my Uncle Dave. He was by every count a decent man, exemplified by the service itself. It began with his fellow volunteer firemen providing a testament to his forty-seven years of service, later multiple moving letters were read from each of his children and grandchildren. The homily offered by the priest spoke of a man he knew well and was clearly so fond of.…


I spent the 248th anniversary of our country’s birth eating a hotdog at a baseball game. Doesn’t get any more American than that does it?

Actually, it does. The extent to which I spent any time reflecting on the importance of our nation’s founding was the three minutes it took for a soldier to perform our national anthem. Perhaps our country deserved a little more from me on July 4th.…


When we think of the word misuse, we are likely to link it to things like power, money, and time. At different times in my life I have misused all the above. But what else to do we misuse to our detriment?

Last week, I was listening to a conversation between Marc Maron and the singer Jewel.  She was discussing her lifelong struggles with mental health and in particular how much she worried about being good enough or belonging.…


As I write this, the sounds of staple guns and buzz saws echo in the background. The cacophony of construction noise coming. from the home next store is now entering its second week.

Last week, it took me twenty minutes to drive two miles to pick up my daughter from a friend’s home. The delay resulted from an unimaginable number of road closures that forced detour after detour, as road repairs were happening en masse.…


The history of Father’s Day is pretty fascinating. Confirming the belief of some that dads get short shrift, it took almost 60 years after Mother’s Day was recognized as a national holiday for it to become the same.

It was initially met with skepticism “as one florist explained, ‘fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.’”

This I believe has certainly changed over the years, at least in the home of this softie.…


By the time you read this, I will have attended three very different parties over the course of a week.

The first was a celebration of life for a dear friend who died way too young. Friends from her college days and early New York years gathered to remember a life so bright that to simply say her name would bring a smile to your face.…


When I was younger, I first dreamed of playing left field for my beloved Boston Red Sox. That obviously didn’t work out. Later in 4th grade, I wrote that my life’s ambition was to work hard and make enough money to take my mother to Disney World. That dream came true. At different points, I dreamed of going to college, being a writer, becoming a professor, going to Scotland, getting married and becoming a father.…


Memorial Day is an occasion to pause and reflect on those people who died in service to their country. My grandfather was one such person who was killed when a German missile hit his ship off the coast of north Africa in 1943.

While days can be ephemeral forms of remembrance, physical memorials are also erected and stand in public places to ensure that we remember consequential events or people.…


We spend so much of our life in preparation for something else. We prepare for school, work, meals, projects, vacations, for the day ahead.

Recently, among the many things I’ve been preparing for is the launch of my second children’s book, America’s Dreaming, which comes out June 4th.

Of course, we had to prepare the book for publication, prepare the marketing and publicity plans to get the word out, as well as preparing for launch events, book store visits, school visits and so on.…


We follow many, bend a few, flout those that rub us the wrong way, and break those that we find unfair altogether. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some unwritten, unspoken, others codified in codes of contact or law.

To not follow or break them risks everything from our own guilt, to admonishment from our peers to loss of freedom or finances.

On the other hand the rejection of others can reap the rewards of freedom, independence, gains in time or treasure, even admiration of those who admire the rebellion.…


Several weeks ago a former student reached out to me via LinkedIn looking for some career guidance. He was a great student, a good person with impressive experience for his age. However, given that his field was software engineering, there was little I could offer him….except for my connections. After dropping the ball for a few weeks, he nudged me – as I suggested he do if he hadn’t heard from me.…


While reading this New York Times article last week, a turn of phrase caught my attention “one sad nod and head shake after another.” While it was referring to the book, The Age of Grievance, I found it ironic in that it perfectly captured my experience having just read the paper. Every story was one piece of sad or bad news after another. Even the Arts section, which I save for last, so I might end on a positive or inspiring note, was riddled with critics tearing apart various movies and plays.…


This time of the year represents the anxiety ridden period when “would be” college students anxiously await their college acceptance letters. Understandably this can be a particularly stressful time for students and parents alike.

But should it be?

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of students who apply to college will get accepted. In fact the average college acceptance rate is 70%. Over half of U.S.…


Students were gathered in masses. Strangers talked to each other. Often loaning their special glasses so others could get a glimpse of the solar eclipse. Anticipation was high.

When it was all over and we returned to our class, some noted that they were underwhelmed. Expectations had been higher. Promises of complete darkness, lowering temperatures and the quieting of birds were unkept.

This underwhelming feeling was echoed when I went home and heard from my own children.…


A few weeks ago, we revealed the cover for my next children’s book, America’s Dreaming, which will come out on June 4th. The story is about our universal dream to feel seen and welcomed. As revealed in the author’s note at the end, it is based on my own difficult move in the middle of a school year from Boston to Pennsylvania.

The cover reveal was assisted by John Schu, who is a well-known librarian and best-selling author.…


As we sat in the sixth row of Ebenezer Baptist Church, a recording of Martin Luther King’s Drum Major sermon played in the background. It was the last sermon he gave from that pulpit as he would soon leave for Memphis where an assassin would end his life.

Shortly after, a large white man ambled up the aisle. I must admit I am not proud of my knee jerk judgmental reaction.…


Saturday was a day of savoring life.

Earlier in the morning I ran into an acquaintance at the local library. He asked me if I was still coaching soccer (I am) and I in turn asked him the same (he is not).

He mentioned that his soccer coaching days were over, as his children had moved on to high school sports or other activities. I quipped he must have a lot of free time on his hands. …


How easy is it for you to simply relax? By relaxing, I don’t mean falling into a heap at the end of a day tuning into something mindless on a screen of your choosing. I’m referring to the kind of relaxation that asks us to quiet our minds, to think of nothing, while presumably also doing nothing. To relax as a form of just letting everything go.…


Yesterday, I was blindsided by a  phone call letting me know that a mutual friend of ours had died.

I have been sad ever since.

To be blindsided is to be hit unexpectedly. The pain is amplified exponentially because you are wholly unprepared.

While on a rational level we know that all people die, we have an expectation that it should only happen after someone has had a chance to live a long and fulfilling life.…


I had resisted reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius for a long time. The reasons for which aren’t entirely clear to me. Perhaps it was my perception that it would be cold, indifferent or dispassionate, like the word stoic implies.

Still other people, I know and respect, swear by it. Its sales soared as people searched for meaning during the pandemic.

Despite it being one of the best selling philosophy books of all time, it was never meant for public consumption.…


Imagine a young girl in a classroom. Because her family has little money she shows up to class with no school supplies and asks the teacher for a pencil. The teacher obliges but hands her a pencil with no eraser. When the girl simply requests a different pencil with an eraser, the teacher declines, saying “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

Brittany Means was that little girl and she has now gone on to author her first book, Hell if We Don’t Change our Ways.


Have you ever wondered where confidence comes from? Or why do some people seem to have more of it than others?

It’s a question I’ve been grappling with on and off for most of my life. As my own confidence is often fleeting.

I was surprised to learn recently that research suggests that 50% of our self-confidence is genetic. Meaning some children are predisposed to be more confident than others – even their siblings.…


As the camera pulled back to reveal the face behind the hand that played the strings, a huge smile cut across my face. Tracy Chapman was on the Grammy Stage.  Playing a duet with Luke Combs who had covered her classic, “Fast Car”, the crowd echoed my reaction. Taylor Swift stood and sang along, others followed suit. It was a quintessential “Grammy Moment.”

Later in the same show, Joni Mitchell performed at the Grammy’s for the first time in her prodigious career.…


Guess what I overheard yesterday?

Well actually plenty, and each time it was valuable and unexpected.

To overhear something is to hear it without the intention or knowledge of the speaker. Not to be confused with eavesdropping; to overhear something is not intentionally listening in on a conversation you shouldn’t but rather just picking up the ambient conversations around you.

My first instance was walking to school in the morning.…


She approached me with a four inch stack of index cards, asking if I would help her study for her upcoming Earth Science midterm. My middle daughter had created what had to be over two hundred flashcards to help prepare herself for her exam and over the course of the last week had repeatedly reviewed them. It was both astonishing and impressive to see her mow through these cards with such precision and accuracy.…