Doing the Work During Black History Month

I was nine or ten years old when I met Larry.

He was younger than me by a few years but I remember being struck by how small he was. I think he was only six, but I was still surprised that the top of his head barely reached my shoulders. He had a short buzz cut, within a centimeter or two of his scalp, a toothy smile and significant difficulty pronouncing the letter “L,” which meant that I spent a good ten to fifteen minutes wondering what kind of parents would name their son Warry. He lived up the block from me in a small, freestanding house with his parents and older brother.

He was also the first black child I remember meeting. Continue reading “Doing the Work During Black History Month”

Make Your Voice Heard With Rock the Vote

I blushed when she asked the question.

It was my first semester of graduate school and I was sitting in a class devoted to theories of human behavior. It was later in the semester and we had covered a number of different theories. Each theory used a different approach and focused on a different aspect of people’s lives, from the ways infants develop attachments to adults’ desires for self-determination to the ways that people perceive reality in general. It was my favorite class of the two years I spent working toward my degree, rivaled only by the more informal discussions of philosophies and their impacts on social work practice during my independent studies.

On that day, a classmate had raised his hand. He was confused about the goal of our studies. He was struggling to understand how we, as budding social workers, were supposed to use all of these different and, sometimes, contradictory theories during our work with clients. Continue reading “Make Your Voice Heard With Rock the Vote”

How to Be a Man in Scary Times

It’s a scary time, he says.

He stands at the microphone, a preacher in front of his congregation, a cold, defiant smile on his face. He gesticulates as he speaks, waving to the masses and shaking his fist in the air to emphasize his point. His forehead glistens slightly, though it’s hard for me to tell if the sheen is a result of tiny beads of sweat from the spotlights or the oils from a low-quality spray tan. The crowd cheers in response, drinking in his charisma as if it has been forty years in the desert and he is the land of milk and honey.

I’d rather stay thirsty, I can’t help thinking. Continue reading “How to Be a Man in Scary Times”

The Morning After: Revisited

Tuesday of this week was Election Day, which means that Tuesday was the day last year when Donald Trump was elected President.

I felt a twinge in my stomach as I was going through my Facebook memories that morning. I saw the picture my family took shortly after my wife and I had voted for Hillary. Three of our faces were lit up with the smiles of people who had executed their civic duty 1 and who had played a part in electing the first female Commander-In-Chief (it was only three smiling faces because Shayna just looked like she wanted to go back home).  Continue reading “The Morning After: Revisited”

High Stakes

Dear Eitan and Shayna,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

It’s a dangerous pastime, I know,1 but it’s one of the reasons I haven’t published a new post in around three months.

I’ve had a couple of posts that I’ve started and then scrapped. There was the one about it taking a village to raise a child that had to do with the grandmother at the beach club who gave me a suggestion that helped Shayna stop screaming so I could get her to take a nap in her stroller. There was the one about watching Eitan grow over the course of the summer and watching the transitions he made during his first year at summer camp. There were a few about the ways you two interact together, some about our community of friends in our neighborhood and more than a few about the different events in our political sphere.  Continue reading “High Stakes”

The Conversation is Still Worth Having

I came across an article on HuffPost the other day about what it’s like to have a conversation about politics in America. The author, Kayla Chadwick, stated that there are fundamental disagreements between people about the way our government should run and to what degree people should care about the welfare of their fellow citizens. These disagreements have then resulted in the ongoing arguments and bickering about healthcare legislation, tax reform and immigration law, among others.  Continue reading “The Conversation is Still Worth Having”

Speaking My Mind

It was just short of a year ago that I wrote a post about keeping my political opinions to myself.  I wrote that I had no interest in publicizing my views of governmental policies or the personalities that were advocating for them, largely because doing so felt like screaming at the wind. It seemed futile to publish articles about foreign policy or health care or education reform because I never felt like my voice would have any effect. I’m only one person, of course, and it is always hard to tell if anyone is listening. I pictured myself publishing a blog post and my words dissipating into the ether of cyberspace, without any response or recognition. Or, if there were recognition, I imagined it manifesting in the form of internet trolls hurling insults at me from the protection of Twitter egg avatars, rather than challenging my argument with an opposing opinion and engaging me in honest discourse. It’s not even that I’m looking for recognition with this blog;1 but if I’m going to write about something as important as the state of our government, I want to be able to make a difference.  Continue reading “Speaking My Mind”

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I’m going to begin by offering you congratulations on your inauguration today. You may not have won my vote, or even the votes of the majority of U.S. citizens, but you did win the votes you needed to win the election, which is why you’re standing where you are today. As I told my students after the election was over, “Whether you were happy with the results of the election or not, the system worked the way it was supposed to.” And so, I will congratulate you.

I must tell you, though, Mr. President, I am nervous about your upcoming administration.  Continue reading “Dear Mr. President”

The Morning After

Dear Eitan and Shayna,

Yesterday was a tough day. It started quite promising, as we were all able to leave the apartment in the morning as a family so that you could watch your mom and me vote in one of the most important elections in our lifetime. We wanted you to see us exercise our rights to have our voices heard in choosing our representatives in government because we know that there are people all over the world who are not nearly as lucky. We also wanted you to get a sense of the gravity of the situation, since this election carried extra weight. The two main candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, were diametrically opposed in many of their views, particularly regarding equal rights for women, the LGBT community and people of color. Plus, there was also the very real possibility that we would be able to take part in electing the first female president of the United States.  Continue reading “The Morning After”

Politics Shmolitics

I don’t want to write about politics.

This blog is supposed to be about parenting (yes, among other things) and I have a small enough amount of readers as it is without publishing my political views on the internet. If the idea is to try to expand my reach, taking a political stand runs the risk of alienating some people. Of course, I also realize that, although I might not spell out my views explicitly, it’s probably not that hard to figure them out, especially if you consider my full-time occupation or follow me on social media.1 But I’ll let you do that homework on your own, if you’re so inclined.

In the meantime, I’m not going to write about politics.  Continue reading “Politics Shmolitics”