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.

I wrote a poem

Who will feed my hummingbirds? For 35 years a bird feeder hung outside the patio door of mom’s modest Michigan townhome When I’d visit, I’d make sure it was filled but when I’d leave, I’d worry about the birds and the squirrel who precariously balanced on the fence and the feeder filling his face making us laugh until she’d leave and the sparrows, robins and the occasional cardinal would take what was left which was enough because of me and mom and my brothers and sisters and mom’s neighbors and friends who ensured the feast would be there especially in winter Mom’s gone now as is the feeder I’m sure because I don’t go there anymore but now I have a hummingbird feeder that hangs outside the

Kyrra's quest to turn lemons into (unsweetened) lemonaid continues with Myabetic Diabetes TV

During my 32-year teaching career, I cried in the classroom three times. 1. A student was killed in an auto accident on a Saturday night. The following Monday, when I saw his name still on the roll sheet, I broke down. 2. During my last class, on my last day, of my last year as a teacher, my daughters and granddaughter surprised me by showing up to sit in on my last lesson. 3. My wife called me while I was administering a final exam to tell me my then 24-year-old daughter, Kyrra, had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My thoughts flashed back to when she was nine months old and had to get her very first shot. I'll never forget her initial shock and the tears that followed. Learning that my

Free Enlightenment - Literally and Spiritually

Kelli Jo Ford's first novel, Crooked Hallelujah, is about lives so startlingly different from mine that it reminded me how important fiction can be for developing empathy. A book's ability to transport us into another person's world is magical. Reading - losing ourselves in others' lives - makes us better people. Watching characters, whether on film or in real life, won't reveal their thoughts. Reading does. Crooked Hallelujah is a feel-bad/feel-sad read. Kelli, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, writes about three generations of Cherokee women - Lulu, her daughter Justine and her granddaughter Reney are all badasses. But they're oppressed. Oppressed by their gender. Oppressed by