Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Celebrate Gratitude Every Day


One of the lessons that I learned from my years in Al Anon, recovering from my years of toxic relationships with addicts, I learned to celebrate the things for which I feel grateful. During my first meeting in Hing Kong, when I was filled with pain, emotional pain, mental distress, feeling alone in the world without a life raft, the collective of survivors suggested I make a gratitude list.

In the early days it was rudimentary. Through my tears I tried to express gratitude  for life, health, my cats, family, food, a flight back to the States. It took baby steps. It took years of self reflection. I wrote in a journal. I went to meetings. I listened to other leap,e tell their stories. Then I told mine.

I practiced the 12 Steps. I learned from others. I found peace & serenity. I found happiness. I learned lessons. 

Everyday I try to find something for which I feel gratitude. Today, I celebrate my relationship with my husband, my father, my brother, my husband’s family,  a few close friends. I feel grateful for my coworkers who are likeminded and give me emotional support. I am grateful for my furry companions, a regular paycheck, wine, transportation, my great health, surviving Covid, books, flannel sheets, the ability to telecommute, reconnecting with people from my past, forgiveness for past perceived wrongs, joy, 

I celebrate the good fortune to be a citizen of the USA, to enjoy the freedoms of our republic, to live in a world where I have choices, to embrace the diversity of our country, to know that anyone can reinvent themselves and explore new options.

I urge all to let go of the past, celebrate the present, live in the moment, and open one’s mind to possibility. That is the beauty of America. We are not constrained by who we are at birth. We can spread our wings and fly with ingenuity, passion, intellect, creativity, and pursuit of the American dream.

Do not listen to naysayers. Be all that you can be. Gratitude begets gratitude and success. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Truth About Education in America


I urge all Americans who care about education in America to read this article that was published in today’s Wall Street Journal. It was written by Habi  Zhang, a Chinese doctoral student in the U.S.A. with a young son attending a New Jersey elementary school. Zhang illustrates why student in America consistently rank subpar in science and math compared with systems with a more vigorous academic curriculum.

Over the past 40 plus years US educational standards deteriorated exponentially. It essentially began with the concept of mainstreaming students of all intellectual levels to avoid stigma. Consequently, the best and brightest were not challenged sufficiently to elevate personal performance unless they had the good fortune to attend a magnate school or a private school. Public education has been dumbed down. Homework became onerous, unfair, oppressive and racist because only those students with involved parents completed assignments.

Too much emphasis has been placed on feelings. Competition has been deemed counterproductive to a sense of well-being. The decision to employ electronic devices in the classroom has hindered the development of critical thinking. Grade inflation has rendered an A worth the equivalent of a C in the 1960s when 94% was an A- and 70% a D. 

The only way to rehabilitate the education system in a return to basics, reinstating a focus on excellence and achievement, encouraging the study of history instead of social sciences, algebra and geometry and trigonometry instead of basic math with a calculator, a vigorous agenda for reading world classics, and the expectation that every student be held to the same standards without pandering or excuses or grade inflation or teacher political opinions. Return to requiring debates with students assigned a topic AND a position to argue. Otherwise, ya’ll had better start learning Mandarin.