It’s Not Easy

One of my favorite songs of all-time is from a group named Five for Fighting. This song is titled “Superman (It’s Not Easy).” As I sort of sit and sort of stand here trying to write at a standing desk standing on just one leg (how much longer will I be on crutches?) that song is resonating in my mind for a variety of reasons, one of which is the most obvious… 

This isn’t easy.

(Editor’s note – I eventually had to sit down to write this.) 

The song is a beautiful one.  It tells of the fictional Superman and the fact that, even for Superman, life isn’t easy.  The lyric from the song that most resonates with me contains the simple words…

“It’s not easy…to be…me.”

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The Best Books I Read in 2018

At the end of December, I always look back and review the books I read over the past year.  I have been keeping track of the books I have read since 1989.  Keeping these lists has been wonderful for it allows me to look back over the many books I have read in my adult life.  Through this exercise I get to remember great passages, great themes, and great ideas.  When I look back, I also remember the titles and authors I have particularly enjoyed which often brings me back to read those same books again.  I love reading and believe that our lives are infinitely richer through the books we read.

Here is a list of the best books that I read in 2018 with a short summary of each. (Quick note – not all of the books listed below are pictured in the graphic.)

MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2018

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Opening Day 2018

It’s not quite forty degrees here in New Jersey.  It’s cold.  Hand stinging cold.  It’s the cold that makes your nose and ears hurt. 

Did I mention it’s April?  I think the fact that it’s actually spring makes the temperature outside that much colder.  

At least the sun is out, though the day will remain in the low-40’s.

Yet, even with the (close to) frigid temperatures, I am excited, very excited, unbearably excited, to get outside this afternoon.  Today is the Opening Day of our softball season.  

I just love to play ball.

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A Shining Light

(Author’s note – I changed the names of the student in this true story.)

Way back, a long time ago, when I was a teacher, I had a student named Beth.  One day in class, during a discussion about Pre-Columbian America, Beth shared that she was of Native American decent.  That prompted me to bestow a nickname on her.  (I gave happy nicknames to lots of kids.)  From that day forward Beth was “A Shining Light in the Sky.”  Beth loved the nickname.  She came to class every day with a warm smile.

Beth was one of those kids who was easy to like as a teacher:  She was happy, enthusiastic, a hard worker, and team player.  A model student, Beth was the type of kid who makes teaching a joy.

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The Judge

(The following passage was included as part of the monthly newsletter that I send out to the parents of my school community.)

It is no secret that I enjoy sports, mostly baseball, and that I have always been a big fan of the New York Yankees.  There is something about baseball that resonates with me.  The ebb and flow of the game, the simplicity, the day-to-day consistency…  Like a good friend, from April through September, baseball is a constant companion.  I love it.

One of the big stories that has come out of this year’s baseball season has been the fact that a rookie on the New York Yankees, a certain Aaron Judge, recently set the record for the most home runs ever hit in one’s first season.  No player had ever hit 50 home runs as a rookie until Aaron Judge accomplished that feat.  Amazing.

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Limits

Often times we say, “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good at that.”  (I am as guilty of this as anyone.  There’s a lot I sometimes believe I can’t do.)

When we say the words, “I can’t,” we are limiting ourselves.  As a result, I believe that some of the most damaging words in our language are “I can’t.” 

When we say we can’t, we make our own lives poorer – not richer.  When we say we can’t, we eliminate the possibilities and the learning that comes with and from new experiences.  When we say we can’t, our world becomes smaller, our interests become fewer, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn more about ourselves.

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