The Designated Daughter

by Rick on September 7, 2019

My mother in law, Marie, lived with us in our house for the last nine months of her life. It was a profound experience. It seems she needed to have a lot of conversations with her daughter, Victoria, before she died, but sometimes I was the audience. We both liked coffee, William Sonoma chocolate croissants and getting up early.

One of our breakfast conversations went like this: Read More…

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Is Your Child Falling Behind?

by Rick on August 23, 2019

Commenting on Diagnosis Can Blind Us to Leadership Opportunities, Iseult wrote about Feargal who did not speak until he was 4 1/2:

He obviously understood everything that went on around him; his hearing was checked and found to be fine. This was many years ago, before people jumped to look for a “spectrum” to tag onto a child. In the family, he was the fastidious one. He was the household alarm clock, and made tea and toast on for the family when they arose. He dressed in a bow tie for his first day of school. At the age of four-and-a-half, Feargal began to speak in full, correct, sentences. In retrospect, his parents took the view that as he always liked things to be ‘just so,’ he had decided not to speak until he knew he had mastered it. His parents never stressed him, or pushed him, they were confident he would come to himself in his own time

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Mary, the physical education teacher, sent Nina to my office for disrespectful behavior. The level of teacher frustration and the repeated offenses caused me to call the parents and ask them to come in so we could all talk.
When she heard that her parents were coming, Nina reacted as if this were the worst possible punishment I could give her. “Please, please, please, don’t talk to her,” Nina pleaded.

“You can’t seem to stop being disrespectful, and we have to get to the bottom of this,” I said. “I have to involve your parents.”

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You wouldn’t understand. You’re white
Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I don’t understand.

The two people who spoke these words were fourteen, 27 years ago. They were eighth graders at my school in Oakland, California, when the Rodney King verdict came down.

I was going through old documents, yesterday, and saw my article that the Montclarion had published in May of 1992. When I read the article again, I got a small burst of hope. Yes, the racism that has laced our country from its inception is still with us, and yet when I zoom out and look at where we have come since 1992, I see a road, and I see millions of people walking it. Read More…


Weaving Webs of Weavers

by Rick on June 28, 2019

Last week I discovered that I am a weaver in league with hundreds of other weavers all over the world.News of world problems often brings my mind to the continuing sorry state of education in America. How are schools part of the problem? How can school culture be part of the solution? What are the design elements of such schools? How can individuals team up to recreate schools to create a better world?

These questions have been my passion since, at the age of 29, I became principal of a school in Kansas City, Missouri. The school was in trouble—such trouble, in fact, that I was the only person they could find to be its principal. Read More…