Showing posts from 2009

2009 Top Ten Surprises

Great stories question expectations and appearances. Below please find my 2010 top ten unexpected, and rewarding, moments. 10. "Did you hear that?" On a recent trip to our old neighborhood's market, I saw the mother of a student from Lilli's preschool class. I asked: "excuse me, do you have a son who attended "Child's Play"? Shocked, she turned and responded: "well yes, about twelve years ago. How do you remember?" Not sure she'd appreciate my honest response, I offered it in Holiday Spirit. During their class reading time in 1997, my daughter Lilli sat on my lap and her son asked if he could join us. He made funny faces and expressions to support the story line and checked my response. He leaned close and asked in hushed tones, "did you hear that?" I asked "what?" Again, he asked: "did you hear that?" I responded: "what?" His excitement and approval seeking showed he hoped for the

Updates and Uplifts

Everyday, it seems, the media exposes a famous person's character flaws leading to the demise of vaulted athletes, politicians, executives, clergy, physicians, attorneys, and educators. Outside of athletes, people in these positions are expected, and selected based on their abilities, to be trustworthy. We expect their expertise to protect vulnerable clients and constituents. Are you ready for some good news? In March 2008 my family faced great uncertainty regarding our seven year old son's thigh bone being cut, reset to reposition the femur's end in his hip socket, and then his being set in a body cast for more than three months. We were vulnerable. Enter HASBRO ( A week prior to Noah's surgery, Hasbro invited Noah for a tour of its Star Wars design facilities in Pawtucket, RI. Noah met with the Star Wars design team and talked about Star Wars and Indiana Jones with their chief designer. He and Noah hit it off and I saw why this man is c

Mentors and Success

In "Overcoming the Odds" , Emma Werner and Ruth Smith share their research of Kauai's indigenous children determining resiliency factors influencing a Kauai child's capacity to transcend a population rife with excessive rates of alcoholism, poverty, and suicide. Their thirty year study identified three factors influencing a child's capacity to overcome significant obstacles to become happy, fulfilled adults. The factors are not interdependent. Please find them listed below. 1. A child is more likely to overcome obstacles if no siblings are born within two years of his or her birth. Receiving focused nurturing and care in the first two years of one's life has a strong impact on one's ability to handle setbacks. This translates to primates where chimps' normal gestation cycles are five years. When a chimp's sibling is born within this five year period, the older chimp usually fails to reach adulthood. Werner and Smith also learned 2. children

Reaching the Peak

Great expectations don't always guarantee anticipated results, but a positive outlook and effort can bring uncommon rewards and growth. It was the last night on the course and everyone was looking forward to ice cream at base camp the next day. Ten days of hiking fifteen to twenty miles per day with forty pound packs on our backs, and eating rationed, dehydrated food, leaned our bodies. It got me in shape for football camp. Our goal was to merge with another New Jersey group and to greet the sunrise atop the Tooth of Time, a jagged rock outcropping whose silhouette brands Philmont belt buckles, shirts, and coats, recognizing the famed New Mexico Boy Scout reservation. It was a fitting end to an eventful ten days where I worked to keep our unit together and safe. John Gruber, the unit's adult leader, threatened to leave us three days into the trip. Eagles on our crew were squawking over extra food, and acting, according to John, like brats. He wanted to leave unless they s

Memorial Day Reflections

Growing up, my role models were those who served to protect and defend the United States of America with honor, duty, and compassion. On this Memorial Day 2009, I’m reminded of five men who risked or gave their lives and well being to preserve our freedoms. Edmund Bowen (above right), my grandfather, was a World War I Army Veteran. He was blown out of fox hole and lost considerable hearing as a result. He was also the only member of his battalion to survive the blast. Most of this war involved hand to hand combat. He spent the remainder of his long life coming to terms with those horrors. In addition, he became an inaugural member of NJ’s State Police Force where happenstance allowed him to meet my grandmother. Throughout his life he served and assisted those less fortunate. Joseph Salvest , my Godfather, served the Army with distinction in World War II’s Pacific Theatre where resulting injuries precluded his ability to have children with his wife, my great Aunt Myrt. They mar

Drive for Life: Just because You're Diagnosed with a Life Altering Disorder Doesn't Mean it's Time to Give Up!

John “Bake” (his nickname complements Brown point guard Alex Bynum’s “Shake”) McBride and I were on the same schedule during our 1980 freshman year at Brown University. We shared, along with twenty five other young men, the third floor bathroom in Perkins Hall. Perkins is the most removed dorm from Brown’s main campus. It was acquired from Bryant Business School and sits on the edge of Fox Point. Before gentrifying, Fox Point was a blue collar neighborhood filled with immigrant populations. When we started at Brown, Fox Point had fallen on hard times. Rumors had a robust street drug trade thriving around the corner, though I never witnessed illicit dealings. Suspicious characters flourished. Perkins has a typical brick and mortar institutional look yet attempts to reflect Le Corbusier edicts with pillars supporting its jutting first floor, to separate living space from the street. The roof became “Perkins Beach” when the weather turned nice, but between November and April, s

Championship Rings

Expected: Today, the Arizona Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Steelers will be crowned Super Bowl Champions – football’s ultimate prize. To recognize this achievement, the winning team members will receive championship rings. Doubt: Is it possible to connect a football championship ring with its rightful owner after more than 31 years? Trials: Bernie Tiger, , was mentioned in my October 2007 blog. We attended high school together in NJ and reconnected in 2004 after crossing paths at our respective child’s middle school orientation. Bernie’s son and my eldest daughter are in the same class at our Massachusetts regional middle / high school, attended by students from three abutting towns. Our meeting is Providence. It’s hard to avoid Bernie. He was the tallest person in the auditorium, and he looked somewhat familiar despite adding a few requisite pounds. A few days later, I saw him at a Blockbuster Video store. We stared at each other. I nodded, an