My Wish for My Students

Students pray on lawn at SPU after shooting at the school.Only this I wish for my students: this semester, I hope you will learn to care for each other.

I hope you will learn how to create conditions in which everyone present in the room feels welcome to speak. I hope you will learn how to discern which of two competing voices within you is worth acting on: the voice that cautions you against speaking lest you confirm, for yourself and others, what you suspect, that you are a fool, and the voice that encourages you to trust yourself, that your thoughts, your questions are worthy of being heard by others. [Read more...]

If Necessary, Use Words

As a retort to the old saying that “a New Englander never uses ten words when one will do,” I’ve heard it said that “a Southerner never uses one word when ten will do.”

I’m proof of the latter. I’ve got a big mouth and have gotten into trouble using it for most of my life.

“You sure do talk a lot.”
“You shouldn’t have said that.”
“Why do you ask so many questions?”

These are common observations by my friends from other climes. Every time I go out, I swear to myself that I won’t dominate the dialogue. But I customarily fail before I’ve even taken my coat off. There has never been an awkward silence with me in the house. [Read more...]