The STEM Needs the Flower

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Oh, Ronald Reagan. In 1983 his administration presented A Nation at Risk, a report that would forever change the game in American education.

In short, it claimed we had everything to fear. We were falling behind. Our teachers weren’t good enough.

And so began our collective sprint to a finish line where all children succeed, where domination in math and science would be as natural as breathing. To achieve these goals, however, we had to shed the excess – the nonessential.

And, just like that, the STEM virus began.

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Embracing Discomfort (My First Year Blogging)

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I think blogs breed narcissism. But, then again, what social media account doesn’t?

Ironically, this is one of the reasons why I began my blog in the first place. By my third year of parenthood (shortly after my daughter’s birth), I started to feel particularly weary from endless “perfect child”/“perfect mother” musings that I encountered throughout Facebook.

When you are raising your children hours away from family and find yourself daily questioning your parenting abilities, this environment is, quite frankly, damaging.

So I had a pretty bold idea. Why not use a blog to work through my own struggles? Why not highlight how I am coming to peace with imperfection? Why not share my story to, perhaps, empower others?

Except what I didn’t know then is this: Honesty makes people uncomfortable.

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What’s Your Best Blogging Advice?

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Kids will try anything. Really. Just a few weeks ago, my son turned three and we surprised him with the ultimate old soul gift: a hula hoop. Immediately, he was intent on mastering the toy.

If I remember nothing else in all my life, I will forever retain his laughter bouncing off the walls in our home. With each attempt, he learned a new technique. With each attempt, he gained confidence. With each attempt, he overcame his mistakes.

Yesterday evening – just as the sun was fading – I peered at my son with a jealous eye as the hoop made six complete rotations: I want to be that kind of writer.

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To Grow, Write

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“I don’t get your blog.” Oh, the honesty of a 20-year-old! He is a former student of mine, and our relationship is one built on sarcasm and criticism – offered lovingly, of course.

“I’m writing for myself.”

With no words, his puzzled expression seemed to ask: Then why are you sharing it?

In truth, it’s a fair question. Why in the world would a mother with two children under the age of three spend hours each week writing – when the demands of the house and the career never cease?

Quite simply, I am on a journey of reconciling my story.

With the blog, I am accountable.

With the blog, I am honest.

With the blog, I can’t escape myself.

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Fathers: A Millennial Sketch

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What will your children write about you when they’re grown?

If you have little ones, it is likely that they will enter college in less than two decades. And, if you are anything like me, you consider that milestone to be light years away. (I hear that it all moves too quickly, so I am trying to prepare myself for the blitz of adolescence.)

But I teach first-year writing, and I am offered a glimpse into new life beyond the nest. And I can tell you with confidence that nothing, and I mean nothing, emerges more often in my students’ personal writing than their relationships with their fathers.

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