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The Wisdom to Know the Difference (Day Twelve: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Monday, January 12th, 2015

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.PC250048

-The Serenity Prayer

I like Victorian-era cemeteries, and whenever I visit one the Serenity Prayer enters my mind.

In those days there was no cure for tuberculosis, which was romantically called “consumption” and which along with other infectious diseases filled the churchyards and necessitated the creation of vast new burying grounds.

Victorian cemeteries were intended as parks where families could picnic and visit their departed loved ones on Sunday afternoons.


You Can Become a Better Person (Day Seven: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

P6290016It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you. -Randy Pausch

I make my living working with kids, and it’s my impression that most of them have little clue as to what they want to do with their lives, and that they find the very question terrifying.


Day Five: Read the textbook and work the problems. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Easter April 4 2010 Met with M and H 013My mom deserves the credit for this one.

When I was a kid math was not my forte, and in eighth grade I was struggling and failing at algebra. So my mom went to the local bookstore and bought me a review book (picture the mid-1970’s version of Algebra for Dummies).


Twelve Days of Wisdom

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

PC250048If I ever write my memoirs, I’ll devote one chapter to each of the books that changed my life, by authors including Dan Ariely, Judith Rich Harris, Steven Pinker, Martin Seligman, Shirley Glass, John and Julie Gottman and Haim Ginott.

I’ve always been a reader and a learner, and it’s no coincidence that I wound up in the education field. I believe in the power of knowledge to solve problems and make life comprehensible and happier.

I love this time of the year; time to think about a fresh start and renewed goals. For the past two years I’ve curated collections of favorite TED talks, which you can view here:


Some Small, Good Changes in Your Everyday Diet

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

[On Saturdays my topic of focus is A Small, Good Thing, inspired by one of my favorite Raymond Carver stories.]

Some people like to make large, dramatic life changes, while others aspire to gradual, incremental improvements. (Personally, I’m of that second camp.)

Joel Fuhrman’s excellent book, Eat to Live, contains valuable nutrition advice for everyone.


A Small, Good Resolution: Stop Lying (Even the “White” Lies)

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

[On Saturdays my topic of focus is A Small, Good Thing, inspired by one of my favorite Raymond Carver stories.]

A big part of my identity is rooted in thinking of myself as a kind, caring, gentle and optimistic person…one who says supportive, positive things…a Tigger, not an Eeyore.

I’m uncomfortable saying anything that might come across as negative or unnice.  I hate the thought of hurting someone’s feelings or having them get angry at me.


Empathy vs. Understanding

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I’m going to devote my Tuesday blog posts to the topic of Psychology, Human Behavior and Relationships. What makes people tick?

When I have the time, I like to do book reviews. For one thing, yay! I get a free book! And I get to read about and learn something I wouldn’t have necessarily found on my own.

This last go-round I was feeling especially adventurous, so I told the book-sending folks to Surprise Me!…and here’s what arrived in my mailbox:


Understanding Before Advice

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I’m going to devote my Friday blog posts to the topic of Learning What We Already Know. There’s a ton of wisdom out there in the world, and lots of it has been known for quite a long time but it needs to be passed along.

November is a special month for me, because both of my parents happened to have been born in, and passed away in, the month of November.

My mom and I loved each other very much. We also had a very stormy relationship which was especially turbulent and painful when I was a teenager.


Solace Sex: An Attempt to Gain Safety Through Touch

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Right now I’m reading Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson.

Dr Johnson brilliantly thought to apply Bowlby’s attachment theory (infant/parent bonding, the need for touch in order to thrive, etc) to adults, and developed her Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.

Johnson talks about “Solace Sex” in her chapter entitled Bonding Through Sex and Touch:


When Your Loved One Turns Away

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

I’m reading Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson, and this passage, about the trauma we feel when a loved one turns away from us at a time of great need, really got me. Why would someone who loves us abandon us as the very moment we need them most?


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Recent Comments
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  • MsJustice: what about kids/young adults that have a mental illness? Does this apply to them too? I have a son who is...
  • Joe: Is there perfect empathy? No, but this is not a binary, all-or-nothing thing. I agree it’s a definition...
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  • Bette: There are some things in life we must memorize. My concern with the Common Core principles is that the most...
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