Saturday, March 5, 2016

Circle of Life

One life ends,another begins anew. This was the unusual juxtaposition of my thoughts on a recent Saturday morning in March.  I was in the midst of checking in on my friend and colleague via a direct message on the status of his unborn daughter, when I received a text from my brother that a life long family friend had passed. Immediately upon finishing the text I received a photo reply from my friend announcing the birth of his daughter.  The irony did not escape me as I began to reflect on the passing of my life long family friend.

Ginny Moyer (Miss Ginny as I referred to her in my youth)was the closest thing I ever had to a guardian angel. From the early days of my youth she gave me that extra attention that would make a huge difference in my life. Perhaps it was the knitting of a sweater, or an invitation to swim in her family pool with my siblings, or just a check in to see how things were going. Their were even times that called for a crack on the back side as a reminder that I needed to fly straight. 

Later as an adult with children of my own we spent many Christmas Eve's together
at my Mom's. Ginny and her husband Ralph, still all of these years later always took an enthusiastic interest in our lives.

Now they were watching the evolution of the next generation, and the same warmth that I felt as a child they extended to my children. Over the years Ginny continued to find ways to extend her love to our family. The knitting continued for the children but most importantly her prescence in our lives remained constant.  We were fortunate to share decades of memories and benefitted a great deal from her influence.

Ginny was a kind, selfless individual. She was a person of service who loved her family, her friends, her church and especially children. She was devoted to making life better for others and often went to great lengths to accomplish this.
Over the years when my life became tumultuous, it was her compassion and calming influence that helped to restore order in my life.  I will be forever grateful for her commitment to me and my family.

I don't know what the world has in store for Aubrey Passafero or the impact that she will make upon this world but I have observed first hand the impact that her
parents continue to make.  They are kind, genuine people with strong family values and high standards.  They have made it their lives vocation to serve others as educators of the highest  quality.  With their influence and guidance, their daughter no doubt will eventually put a positive footprint on the world that embodies all of their qualities.

As I look back on that March morning, I reflect with meloncholy upon the passing of my good friend Ginny Moyer. I also look ahead at the promising future of  Aubry Pasafero, the lives she will touch  and the hearts she will warm as well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Our free speech rights are of the most precious afforded to us by the Constitution of this great nation. However we must recognize that while it creates an informed society it can also cause social discord leading to the polarization of our citizens. While "free speech" is not absolute and certainly carries specific constraints it is the restraint associated with this freedom that we should be more cognizant of.

Currently a movement has been set in motion that is fueling the Republican nomination bid of Donald Trump. This movement seeks to obliterate a "politically correct " mindset and is gaining traction throughout the land. This is both tragic and dangerous. Potentially we risk reversing decades of social progress. We face an almost certain return to a time of social unrest and violence if we permit the cultivation of a mindset that legitimizes the intolerance of cultural diversity.

Our classrooms and our homes are environments where children are educated about the importance of acceptance, respect, tolerance and even the celebration of our diversity.  Yet the rhetoric and ideology of Trump and his supporters consistently disavow the need for these values. 

If we have learned from the grevious mistakes of our past, then we must do everything to prevent the future generations from inheriting an environment in vast need of social and cultural repair.  We must be careful with who we empower to serve as our voice on near and distant shores. The leadership choices that we make currently and in the near future 
could bring catostrophic consequences if we fail to learn from the social and political failures which stunted the growth of previous generations.

 Electing leaders that abandon "political correctness" puts our national and personal security in immediate jeopardy.  Even worse it puts our children in a position where they will ultimately invest a large percentage of their adult life paying down a cultural debt fueled by social injustice and intolerance.

 The voice that speaks for the collective good needs to reign. This is the voice that calls for harmony over discord. This is the voice that embraces instead of shuns. This is the voice of compassion instead of insensitivity. When these are the voices that resonate from sea to shining sea then we will know the American Dream has moved closer to fullfillment. Then we can confidently pass the baton to the next generation and empower them to control their own destinies.