How Do We Feed the Hungry?

Irritated that my day had gotten away from me and mad at myself that I hadn’t taken the time to make lunch to take to work as I usually do, I finally found time in late afternoon to duck out of work to go to the organic market a few blocks from where I work.

On nice days, I can walk to the market in ten minutes, grab a healthy lunch from the soup and salad bar, and make it back to work within half-an-hour to eat lunch at my desk.  Such is the glamorous life of a person who works in central services for a large school system near our nation’s capital.  Before I came to work here, I thought that these employees, whose lives were not regulated by bells as teachers’ lives are, went out for leisurely lunches in a civilized way as teachers can only do on professional days when school is not in session.

Continue reading How Do We Feed the Hungry?

How Can We Make a Difference for America’s Poor?

Poor Kids

“Don’t go into the teachers’ lounge,” she said.  “They put out contracts on kids in there.  And don’t let the cynics jade you.”

An African-American woman who brooked no nonsense, she demanded that every student in her class give maximum effort.  She taught across the hall from me my first year teaching, and I learned from her the things that were never addressed in education classes—how to build relationships and set high expectations.  I knew how to teach a novel, how to teach students to write, but watching her taught me those essentials of classroom management that have to happen before students can learn anything.

Continue reading How Can We Make a Difference for America’s Poor?

The Most Important Holiday?

“Easter is the most important holiday,” a friend said to me last week.

I raised my eyebrows in surprise.  My friend is an intellectual who values his cultural heritage—one that began shortly after the crucifixion of Christ and that is rooted in a much richer history than my own, which began only a few hundred years ago with the Protestant Reformation.  But this friend attends church only a handful of times a year, mostly during Holy Week.

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Why Should I Forgive?

Pentecost w Artist Effects

“I’ve said a lot of things in my life that I wish I could take back,” she said.

I had run into her in a restaurant, years after we had stopped being friends, though we treated one other with civility when our paths intersected.  We had a lengthy conversation, catching up on each other’s lives.  In my mind, I can still see the scene—the tables in the restaurant and even the periwinkle sweater she was wearing.  But I can’t recall anything else in the conversation.

I remember it because it was an implicit apology.  Our friendship ended when someone repeated to me something deeply hurtful that she’d said about me at a time when I was vulnerable.  Continue reading Why Should I Forgive?

Impatient with Your Life?

Ash w Impatiens

Spring reminds us of what is possible when we dig our fingers into the dirt.  We don’t need much—a handful of earth, a little water, a few seeds, and a little faith in the sun.

Simple, right?  Even I, an average rather than avid gardener, can make some things grow.  I plant impatiens in my flower bed, and by midsummer I can step onto my porch, look over those red blossoms, and find joy on even the most mundane or stressful of days.

But it isn’t always that simple.  Continue reading Impatient with Your Life?