Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away

My wife is something of a hoarder. Now, as it happens, I have saved my half of the slip of paper that I tore so that we could write down each other’s phone numbers back when we were about 22, but she saves old catalogs and phone books (phone books!) from years ago. Sometimes, when the clutter in my house gets too much to handle, I will Google for “tiny…


Habits for happiness: tips for looking on the bright side of life

Habits for happiness: tips for looking on the bright side of life. At bedtime, in order to avoid a nightly litany of complaints, I ask my glass-is-half-empty-and-I-hate-the-pirate-glass-and-there’s-a-bug-in-it tween to list three good things, two neutral things, and one sad thing about her day. Sometimes if she needs to share more than one sad thing, I let her buy the privilege by asking her to list extra good things. And, of…


Rules for Civility: 14-Year-Old George Washington’s 110 Commandments for Cultivating Character

Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present. When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered. Shew Nothing to your Freind that may affright him. In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet. –Brain Pickings.


Ave atque vale

What is a liberal education and what it is for? From Cicero’s artes liberales, to the attempts at common curricula in more recent times, to the chaotic cafeteria that passes for a curriculum in most American universities today, the concept has suffered from vagueness, confusion, and contradiction. From the beginning, the champions of a liberal education have thought of it as seeking at least four kinds of goals. One was…

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Does Math Exist?

Millions of high-school students might wish math did not exist, but, alas, it does, at least as a human creation. The question, however, of whether math exists independent of humans is a much deeper one, and PBS’s Mike Rugnetta gives a fun, brief overview of the age-old philosophical debate in the video above. via Does Math Exist? – Rebecca J. Rosen – The Atlantic.

The Milestones That Matter Most

[W]hen Japanese and American fourth and fifth grade children were asked why they shouldn’t hit, gossip or fight with other kids, 92 percent of the American kids answered “because they’d get caught or get in trouble.” Ninety percent of the Japanese kids asked the same question responded, “because it would be hurtful to someone else.” –via Christine Gross-Loh: The Milestones That Matter Most.


Creative People Say No

When I was a master’s student working as a PR writer for the engineering school at the University of Virginia, I had the chance to interview Randy Pausch. His phone rang numerous times while we were talking. The first time it happened, recognizing that I was imposing on his time, I asked, “Do you need to get that?” He didn’t. For the hour or so that he had blocked out…


What Does the Demise of Cursive Mean?

Are you aware that our children aren’t being taught to trim their own goose-quill pens? And don’t get me started on the growing number of urban children who lack adequate access to parchment. Here’s a welcome, balanced response to the decreased role that penmanship plays in today’s schools — and in today’s society. My clients are often stuck in mindsets or stalled in places they know are holding them back.…


A 27-Story Vertical Forest Grows in Milan

Bosco Verticale was conceived in response to the alarming levels of air pollution in Milan. The structure itself is no more radical than your average high-rise tower block, but when fortified with over 700 balcony-perched trees, not only will the buildings look like two enormous topiaries in the middle of the city, but they will also filter dust particles, absorb carbon dioxide, and protect the apartment complexes within from radiation…