Curriculum Wars


I’m reaching back into the past today to recount a largely forgotten battle about school curriculum that has troubling parallels to today’s controversies about the teaching of what has been inaccurately labeled “Critical Race Theory.”       In 1972 a colleague and I suddenly found ourselves in charge of a fifth and sixth grade classroom in a four-room school in...

Trying to make sense of suicide


What does it take for a person to decide to commit suicide? What psychic pain is so unbearable that only death can liberate you from it, can lead you to discount the way your act leaves permanent scars on the people you love and who love you? My clinical psychology training leaves me no closer to answering these unanswerable questions than any man or woman on the street. In graduate school, one...

Remembering and forgetting: Thoughts for the new Year


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is almost upon us. It comes at a ridiculously early date this year, Labor Day evening to be exact. I’ve always been astonished by the way in which the time for celebrating Ramadan fluctuates, sometimes appearing in completely different seasons from one year to the next. The Jewish and Muslim calendars are both lunar, which accounts for the variation. The Jewish...

It’s never too late


Like many of you, we receive alumni publications from the academic institutions we’ve passed through in the course of our educations. They make excellent bathroom reading. I don’t say that to disparage them. They just lend themselves to quick takes, just right for the occasion. Last week, I was looking through one such publication from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In the...

Empty Nesters


The other day Rosellen and I were talking about how distressing it is that, with both of our daughters now in their fifties, there’s so little about their growing up and our parenting during those early years that remains in sharp focus. Was there really a time when we all lived together under the same roof, never really quite believing that the situation would ever be any different, that one day...

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