• Teaching
  • Apologies to David Brooks: Students Learn From People Who Love Them

    My social feeds are circulating a David Brooks column: “Students Learn From People They Love.” The piece cites research from cognitive scientists about how integrated emotions are with learning. The many comments on the NYTimes site wonder whether Brooks would have more accurately said “respect” rather than “love.” Probably, yes, but my read is that […]

  • Books
  • Life Among the Savages

    In her memoir of young family life, Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson tells the story of the outsize influence of a child’s first grade teacher. We get a delicious profile of her daughter Jannie’s Mrs. Skinner: We had been exposed to Mrs. Skinner from about the third day of school, when Jannie came home […]

  • Books
  • Joe the Curmudgeon

    Joe Queenan is a crowd-pleaser at my house. When The Sons are home, and we are lingering after a long breakfast served at 1:00 p.m., Queenan’s Wall Street Journal column is good for a laugh. He’s a curmudgeon, especially about things modern. “Uriah the Hittite” is a family meme: [A] couple of years ago, when […]

  • Family
  • Classic Blunders

    This post has the potential to insult multiple family members, but here goes. Our older son got my full dose of rage about young love. His first girlfriend lived a 30-minute drive from our house. He was 15, so I logged a lot of driving time with them. One time I was especially ticked with […]

  • Family
  • You Can’t Go Home Again

    Birdhouse Light Switch Cover. You Can't Go Home Again.

    “I know they say you can’t go home again.” That is true figuratively but not literally. I did “go home again” this summer to visit my parents. I slept in my childhood bedroom. I took the photo above, of the birdhouse light switch cover. That little birdie did not fly out of the nest. He […]

  • Blog
  • I Pitch

    Some negotiations are complicated dances. Others can be stripped down. If I am in the dance setting, I try to put my Getting To Yes skills to work. I know I am supposed to identify the underlying issues for both sides and keep an open mind about the resolution. But sometimes, dammit, there is something […]