Learning from failure

The teacher walked up and down the aisle handing out magic markers and brightly colored folders like you might find at an office supply store. I got a red one, the girl in front of me got an orange one. It was the first day of school, I was starting the sixth grade, and, of …

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A letter to a former teacher: Pulling me back from the ledge

When I was 11, my basketball coach, who wasn’t much older than my teammates and I, walked the sideline of the small town community hall where we played, yelling and throwing his hands up in the air when we made a mistake or he disagreed with the referee's call. A few years later when I …

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Fighting my stutter

The teacher stood over me like an angry giant. Looking back now I’m guessing that he couldn’t have been more 5’8 or 5’9 tall and probably had just graduated from college, but to me the substitute teacher held a position of authority, looked pleased to catch his prey out of the classroom, and like he …

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Snoopy and Teddy: The best of friends

In a long running gag from the comic strip Peanuts, Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she’ll hold a football for him to kick. Charlie Brown refuses to kick it at first, not trusting Lucy, not wanting to get burned again. The two go back and forth until she convinces him to trust her. Charlie Brown …

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We’re all imposters

The guy sitting two tables away coyly opens his smartphone camera and puts it on selfie view so that he can check himself out. When he sees that his hair and game-face are in place, he clicks off the camera. When his lunch guest arrives, he gets up and gives the visitor a strong handshake. …

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Finally believing in me

On two different weekends recently, my 16-year-old and 11-year old sons both went to their school dances. I got a kick out of seeing them get ready for their big nights out. They put a lot of thought into what they were going to wear and dressed-up nicer than I had expected. They looked like …

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