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.

Movie scenes that boost our mental health -- THE WAITRESS

"Nobody ever tells you beforehand how ridiculously hard it's going to be." That utilitarian line from the late Adriennne Shelly's screenplay, The Waitress (1:14:15), is so much bigger than the context from which it was delivered. It was the only line from a fed-up, disenchanted mother of a bratty toddler warning Keri Russell's character about the burden of motherhood. The scene was so small, the line so obscure (so obvious?) that Jessie Nelson didn't include it when she turned the film into a Broadway play. In the case of parenthood, there's no doubt it's true. Until my two granddaughters were born, I'd forgotten how ridiculously hard it is to have a babies and raise them into good, healthy

Song lyrics that boost our mental health -- "Shallow" (From A STAR IS BORN)

I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in, I'll never meet the ground. Crash through the surface where they can't hurt us, we're far from the shallow now. -- "Shallow" written by Lady Gaga, Andrew Wyatt Anthony Rossomando and Mark Ronson Yes! Crash through the the surface. Swim far from the shallow. The shallow sucks. Why, then, do we live most of our lives in its perceived safety? Actually, the shallow is dangerous. Dive into this and see what happens! You will meet the ground -- and the sand and rocks. Shallow, surface-level conversations, for example, are mind-numbing, leaving us dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Socrates said an unexamined life isn't worth living, but it's hard to have an ex