Memories are iffy. Take good notes.

I remember two things from first grade (which was my initial exposure to formal education since our school district didn’t offer kindergarten):

  1. being the only boy who wore shorts the first day of school; and
  2. losing my Mickey Mouse watch on the playground (or it may have been Donald Duck, I’m not sure).

Everything else is a blur.

The first was a source of embarrassment, which is ironic considering my year-round Colorado uniform these days is shorts and sandals. I got over the embarrassing thing. The second memory was traumatic as well. That watch was so cool. Losing it meant my world had come to an end at an early age, or so I thought.

So, you might be thinking, what’s the big deal? I survived. Yes, I did, although that doesn’t mean there wasn’t deep scaring. But probably not.

The big deal is this: you can’t trust your memory. The danger lies in not being mindful of that fact. Continue reading

To Vera (and anyone else who might want to listen in)

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a blog since I abandoned Finding My College, a blog that was the outgrowth of my interest and insights into the world of higher ed. Yet I found it was an exhaustible subject. Eventually, I had nothing more to say. So I ended that blog (although, undoubtedly, I will have more to say about colleges and higher ed given my interest in the topic).

So why another blog? Mainly, because a little girl has come into my life: my granddaughter Vera (as in veritas, not veer). I’m sure she’ll be just fine without hearing anything I have to say. She is luckier than many kids: she has two incredibly smart, loving parents. Still, I’d like her to know me and hear some of my stories — some of the things I’ve experienced and learned and unlearned over the years. Yet there is no guarantee I’ll be around to tell those stories when she’s old enough to hear them.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate is how each day is highly contingent. Hence, deferral of anything entails risk. My granddaughter’s infancy is a stark reminder of that, as is the speed at which her father and my son traversed the years.

I’d also like to provide some pushback to all the false ideologies, distorted histories and opinions masquerading as facts that will rain down on her throughout her life. Propaganda is a force stronger than many people appreciate, as is the power of the crowd. None of us is without bias and prejudice. Yet some are more pernicious than others. They thrive on darkness. Shining the light on them exposes the cracks in their apparent solidity. I come to this blog with flashlight in hand.

Perhaps my reflections will help Vera (and others) avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made. Perhaps they will help give her a sense of identity and belonging (roots!). On occasion, perhaps they will make her laugh. And you as well.

I have no illusions about anything I have to say. I have no special wisdom or insights about life or the world that haven’t already been shared by others who are far smarter and wiser than I. But I do have a unique set of experiences, values and perspectives.

So why the title “Things I Think.” Continue reading