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.

How to Be Happy (Or at Least Feel Better) Watch This Movie Scene -- The Breakfast Club.

Andrew: My God, are we gonna be like our parents? Claire: Not me... ever. Allison: It's unavoidable, it just happens. Claire: What happens? Allison: When you grow up, your heart dies. Bender: Who cares? Allison: I care. The last ten seconds of this memorable scene won't leave you. I've grown up and I know this isn't true. Not only has my heart not died, its sensitivity, empathy and compassion have intensified. Its capacity to feel has lifted. My heart is more alive than ever. There are times when I wish it had died. Or at least weakened. Because the longer I live, the more I experience things that make my heart hurt. This planet's sadness can be overwhelming. Why it might die No wonder then

Why Asian Women Should Run the World - With Anna Chen (M.P. Podca

The Missing Pieces Podcast returns! Jaime interviews his former student, Anna Chen. Anna is currently a pre-med student at Johns Hopkins. Jaime wonders why so many of his top all-around students are female Asians, so he poses that question to Anna, a female Asian. He also asks Anna about a thought he had while watching CRAZY RICH ASIANS - that pursuing your passion may be a selfish American thing to do that runs contrary to (the more Asian?)"family first" philosophy. Here is the East Bay Times article on which this podcast was based: "Perfect Girls"

How to Be Happy (Or at Least Feel Better) Listen to These Lyrics! -- Heather Nova's "London

I wish Heather hadn't called it "London Rain." (Video published by Daniel Mitchell.) That title doesn't capture the song's essence. (But what do I know? I've never written a song.) Maybe because she wrote it during a hurricane in Bermuda, rain was on her mind. Lyricist/Performer Heather Nova Whatever. It's these magical six words from the refrain that get me every single time I hear them: Nothing heals me like you do But it's this stanza that put "London Rain" into my personal music hall of fame: When somebody knows you well Well, there's no comfort like that And when somebody needs you Well, there's no drug like that (1:13) It's so accurate, but so rarely talked about. We want people to kn

How to Be Happy (Or at Least Feel Better) Watch This Movie Scene -- Titanic

Rose: Go away! Jack: I can't. I'm involved now. You let go and I'm going to have to jump in there after you. In this scene from my daughter's favorite movie, after Jack spotted the suicidal Rose, he couldn't go back. He couldn't go back to not knowing that a severely distressed young woman was about to leap from the Titanic's bow into the Atlantic. If he had turned away and pretended that he hadn't seen, it would have haunted him. It may even have destroyed him. Once you're in, you're in. You may want to get out. You may even get out. Still, you can't go back to not knowing. Not caring. Not being involved. Well, if you're compassionate, you can't. If you are a good person, you can't. My daug

How to be Happy (Or at Least Feel Better) Watch This Movie Scene -- I Am Legend

"The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness." I love this scene so much that I had a t-shirt made that said, en espanol, ilumina la oscuridad "Light up the darkness." In the film I Am Legend, Robert Neville (Will Smith) doesn't tell us how to brighten the world, but he describes how Bob Marley did -- with his courageous actions, heartfelt lyrics and lovely melodies. Music, Marley believed, cures. The Legend, Bob Marley But what if we aren't a one-in-a-billion icon like Marley? Can non-legends light up the darkness? Absolutely, because anyone can be the third kind of person. Anyone can be a proton. The first kind of people are