Milestones

I often joke that my favorite milestones with my kids are they can click themselves into their own car seats, take their own showers (although shampoo is apparently optional on some nights) and carry their own stuff to the beach. The independent child is a wonderful thing. These were big milestones for me as a parent.

I just read a great article about milestones that is featured on the Parents Council of Washington Facebook page. It is a great piece about what truly matters as our kids grow older and the author’s own evolution to get there. As Christine Gross-Loh states in the final line, “fostering kindness in our children, teaching them perseverance and making sure they know how to hang up their own towels” may just be the most important milestones.

I could not agree more. Thinking about others, working through difficult times and taking responsibility for ones self. As a parent, this is what I want for my children. As news has come out that the United States is once again mediocre as it relates to the PISA test ( a test given wordwide to 15 year olds in math, science and reading), I can’t help but think that the only test for the milestones in the article above is called, life. According to the World Giving Index of 2013, the US is the top nation in the world for giving time, treasure and support to a stranger.

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Leading a life of significance is so much more than just a great test score. It is excelling at what life has in store for you and how you positively impact others. Life is the greatest test and children/adults who are “givers” are best prepared to excel at it (in my humble opinion). It’s good to be #1.

Pride

We all have memories that stick with us. For some reason they never leave us. They are vivid memories and at some point in our life we understand why.

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Nelson Mandela’s passing reminds me of a February night when I was in high school. I was out running, getting ready for baseball season and it was dark out. I had just turned the corner on Westchester Avenue as I was heading about a mile from home when the song “Pride” by U2 came on the radio. The DJ announced that Nelson Mandela had just been let out of jail. A chill went down my spine as the song came on the radio that night. To this day, it still gives me a chill.

I can still picture the little yellow walkman in my hand as I ran and listened to that song that night. I can’t say I knew a great deal about Mandela as a high schooler but I knew enough to know the importance of that moment. All these years later that memory has only become clearer to me. That night running was the first thing I thought of when I received the text alert of Mandela’s death yesterday.

Thank you, Mr. Mandela, for leaving such a mark on me and the world.

The Irony of Two Words Next to Each Other

This whole mess with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin is no fun to watch. A colleague of mine wrote a great piece about the situation that I wanted to share. Click here for a read. It is a well-written piece that highlights the work of Joe Ehrmann, featured figure in the book Season of Life, and delivers a great message at the end.

Richie Incognito certainly has a track record that paints an awful picture of behavior that has persisted. I went to look up the word “incognito” in the dictionary, and to my surprise, the neighbor of the word “incognito” in the dictionary I used (yes, I still have a paper copy dictionary I use even with all my techy gadgets) was “inclusive.” There is definitely irony here (Mrs. Piwko was just talking about irony in her 8th grade class). Incognito is a word that means, “one’s identity concealed.” It can also mean locker room menace, purveyor of false masculinity and “boys will be boys” philosopher. Dictionary aside, this is what we know of the man Incognito. None of this is any good.

Yet, the word found next to “incognito” in my dictionary was “inclusive.” If Incognito had only looked at his neighbor he would have seen a word that means, “embracing of others,” regardless of who they are, and “taking everything into account.” Jonathan Martin was that guy next to him in the locker room. A guy, who was not embraced, rather ridiculed. His emotional well-being was also never taken into account. Incognito was not “inclusive,” no matter how he tries to spin his relationship with Martin.

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It seems to me that Incognito is in fact trying to conceal his true identity, as opposed to owning his actions (not just with the Dolphins). It’s almost as if he is being true to the word that spells like his name in the dictionary. The irony is so thick here. The word next to incognito is the antidote for such hate mongering. Inclusive! If only Richie looked to the word above him as an answer, as opposed to being himself.