Report cards: What not to say

I should have read the room better. If I had, I would have known to keep my mouth shut. My daughter pulled out her elementary school report card. She had been working hard over the past two months after a tough start to the year and sat with me on the sofa excited to see …

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Through the eyes of a teacher

When my kids were young, they loved to listen to children’s entertainers like the Wiggles, the gang from Sesame Street, VeggieTales, Raffi, and Joe Scruggs. They loved the silly, upbeat music and crazy performances.  The music was so well loved in our house that our daughter wanted us to call 9-1-1 when we somehow inadvertently …

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The artist dying to come out

When I was 20, I took a drawing class. I believed in the Liberal Arts tradition that college should be about more than just checking off a list of required classes. I believed that college should help you to become a better person. You should learn a career or trade, but also learn about yourself …

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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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“Cranking it out”

I warned my son. I gave him reminders. I warned him that the start of the school year was coming fast. I even offered a few harsh stories from my own past – stories of me procrastinating and paying a hefty price. Of course, my son didn’t listen. 'Just get it done' He’s taking an …

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Saying you’re sorry

I think one of the best lessons I ever gave my kids: telling them when I’m wrong. For example, a few years ago, I picked my son up from his high school cross country practice and was driving him home. The sun had started to set and a cold wind blew making it feel later …

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Back to school shopping

I put the composition book up to my nose, flipped through the pages, and took in the inky smell of the paper. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a Target store worker round the corner and quickly pulled the notebook down and back on the shelf. Before moving onto the next aisle, …

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When I grow up

The little kid stood back from the small table in the corner of the dentist office, where he’d been playing with a couple of toy die-cast cars, and told his mom that he wanted to become a veterinarian when he grows up so that he could help his friend Petey’s dog. He told his mom …

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