What Should We Talk About?

My favorite part of teaching was sharing evocative passages, affecting scenes, meaningful lyrics and innovative ideas with my students. We’d read, watch and listen to them, then think, talk and write about them.


It kept me from the curriculum. But then I’d think, Why isn’t this the curriculum? This is what kids need to learn! For example, after watching the scene where Tom Hanks scolds Geena Davis in A League of Their Own,


“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!”


I’d share it with students and explain why I showed it to them. And now I’m sharing passages, scenes, lyrics and ideas with you with the goal of getting a thought-provoking, life-enhancing conversations started.

Hey, Helicopter Parents, Get a Dog!

If you think being a "helicopter parent" is harmless, you probably haven't listened to Julie Lythcott-Haims. The former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising at Stanford says that when parents don't step back, they're damaging their children. Here's why: When parents "overparent" (do way too much for their kids) they're sending them the signal that they aren't good enough to make it on their own. That without mom's (or dad's) doting, they'll fail. If parents sincerely want to see their children become self-supporting and self-reliant, Lythcott-Haims urges them to stop hovering. need to have the opportunity to screw up and fail. The question is, do parents truly want to see their kids b

Schools need to understand and value “quirk theory”

Can you guess what the following members of this disparate group have in common? Steven Spielberg Lady Gaga Freddie Prinze Jr. Judd Apatow Pete Wentz Tim Gunn Yvon Chouinard Albert Einstein Ben and Jerry Taylor Swift In high school, all were ostracized outcasts because their peers thought they were weird. Their “flaw” was that they didn’t conform to the norms. Alexandra Robbins writes about them in The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth. In what she labels “quirk theory,” what cost them acceptance, connections and contentment in high school – their courage to be themselves – is precisely why they all became impactful, change-and-improve-the-world adults. Success in the adult (real) world demands