One of my favorite writings assignments I give my 10th graders is the "Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit" write-up. We're reading a holocaust memoir, and we talk about the qualities the survivors had in common: 1) the ability to maintain hope and optimism; 2) a feeling of gratitude, no matter the circumstances; and 3) grit and … Continue reading Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit can together defeat fear
The entire reason for my attending a class as a grad student was to argue with the professor. She was on one side politically, I was on the other. I respected the woman immensely, but daggum, did she know how to push my buttons every week! It was like she was TRYING to make me … Continue reading You can’t manipulate the educated, which is why they don’t want us educated
This week in school I taught about the rescuers during the Holocaust and WWII. (We're reading a Holocaust memoir and I like to give my students historical context.) We learned about Irena Sendler, who smuggled out 2,500 babies and children from the Warsaw Ghetto, and about Oskar Schindler whose list preserved the lives of 1,200 … Continue reading Quit protesting and start doing; it’s not the government’s job but ours
When the incomparable composer John Williams was shown a cut of "Schindler's List," and Steven Spielberg asked to him to compose the score, Williams was so moved that he humbly said, "You need a better composer." To which Spielberg replied, "I know, but they're all dead." Spielberg himself had put off directing the movie for … Continue reading “I’m not good enough.” “No, you’re not. But there’s no one else to do it.”
My 6-year-old tried to play chess with me at their school’s STEM night last week. I didn’t realize he knew the rules, and it turns out he doesn’t, because he produced a secret weapon: a 6-legged spider he’d made out of clay in his class earlier. “This is spider-guy,” he announced. “And he can eat … Continue reading They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)
What if, instead of worrying about the world and its expectations, we focused on only a couple of key items and let the rest of world just . . . go on its way? Think about that: maybe there’s only a handful of things we really need to worry about, and as for the millions … Continue reading What if we just quit bothering with the world? The easiness of essentialism.
I didn’t realize until I was older that we had a weird tradition in our house. It was mandatory that when a canning jar popped, no matter what part of the house my mother was in, she’d shout, “Thank you!” If she wasn’t home, that duty fell to me, and I didn’t always want to … Continue reading Two logical reasons why I bizarrely thank canning jars . . . and everything else
There are revolutions happening all around us in America, but we don't always recognize them. But once we do, we realize we can be part of them. If we dare. Most of these revolutions arise from breaking with the status quo of our ancestors. And not just talking about change, but actually being part of … Continue reading America’s the land of revolutions; let’s start another one!
I hate guns. They terrify me. They kill, indiscriminately, even in the hands of the most skilled and trained users. I hate their shape, their noise, and the smell of the cleaning agents. My neighborhood is filled with gun-lovers. Hunters, cops, concealed-weapon holders—I’m surrounded by them. I wish I knew who stored loaded handguns in … Continue reading I hate guns, but there’s something I hate even more (A pacifist’s confession)
Recently a mother of an autistic son in the Salt Lake Valley found the following stickers on her car around her Autistic Child sign: What caught my eye, however, was this sticker. Exactly what’s this supposed to mean? It means that the perpetrator is embarrassingly ignorant, on many levels. Ignorant of autism. Ignorant of appropriate … Continue reading Excuse me, but your ignorance is showing