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.

Five thoughts on living in a COVID world

1. I don't much like writing about what everyone else is writing about, but this is an unprecedented time in my life and our history. 2. About a month ago I got sick. Not terribly sick. But I've had a cough that won't go away, and the last few days I've gotten worse. Since I'm never sick this long, I wonder, Do I have it? I doubt it, but I'd like to be certain one way or the other. I can't be, though, because I can't get tested. I wonder how many other other people are wondering, Is this a "normal," cough, cold and/or flu, or do I have the Coronavirus? 3. Just about everyone has their opinion on politics. Do we need more or less regulation? How should we be taxed? Where should tax money be s

Why unrequited platonic love hurts so bad, what we can learn from it and how I cope with its sadness

Trailblazing 19th century American Journalist and women's rights advocate Margaret Fuller wrote, "All human affections are frail." As kids today say, "Facts." Frail, ephemeral and in so many instances, hurtful. While not as devastating as unrequited romantic love, unreturned platonic love diminishes our self-worth and dissolves our confidence in a different way. With romantic love we may suffer when we're not chosen, but we can accept that only one person can be "the one." But since platonic love isn't legally or morally restricted to one person, being platonically ghosted is a huge hit to our self esteem. Wait, there's no reason why we can't be close, but you're STILL rejecting me? What did

How privilege puts out the eye of the tiger - and what we can do about it

My daughter Kylene and I were wondering if the art supplies store Michaels was started by a guy named Michael. It was. Michael Dupey. Which reminded me of when I taught economics and how I wanted my students to learn the origin of successful companies. I wanted them to realize that the largest, most successful businesses started small and that almost always there's a fascinating founding story. "Learn it!" I'd insist. "Find a company you like, then do the research. Who started it? Why? How?" I wanted them to learn that it wasn't magic. Michaels was started by Michael, and there's a Michael behind every other company "who was no smarter and no better than you." Embedded in the lesson was that