The world is a better place because people dare to ask the difficult questions.

January 1, 2014

I believe s good way to start off a New Year is with a thought that both inspires and motivates. I want to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and it turns out that his birth name gives me such an opportunity. Nelson Mandela’s birth name was Rolihlahla, which in the Xhosa language means, “pulling the branch of the tree.” In a word: Troublemaker. Indeed the man spent his 95 years creating glorious trouble for oppression, all in the service of justice.

While working in China recently I was referred to as Maa Faan, which roughly translates as annoying or troublesome. The reason for the reference was that I had the habit of asking questions that people found difficult to reply to. This got me thinking about how powerful questions can be, especially questions that spur someone to think outside the box and leave their comfort zone.

I feel very proud to share the moniker of Troublemaker with Mr. Mandela. I agree with Charles Schulz who said:  Life is like a 10-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.”  I firmly believe that the ability to ask thought provoking questions is one of the finest gears a person possess and the world is a better place because people dare to ask the difficult questions.

Give children the gift of your time and attention

December 22, 2013

There are tremendous benefits for children who attend high quality preschool programs; “they learn better, behave better, live healthier and earn more for the rest of their lives.” These findings come from the 1962-67 Perry Preschool Project study that followed children in the programs through the decades and into their 40’s. However we also know […]


Parents can help children cope with bullies

December 15, 2013

I am in favor of whatever it takes to combat bullying. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle spoke of how schoolyard bullies have been around forever, but the advent of social networks have made the problem much larger. Parents can play an important role in preparing children to resist being bullied and becoming a […]


If a book is good for you to read at 5, it is good to read at 50.

December 9, 2013

A recent article in the WSJ drew attention to gorwn-ups reading Children’s books. I don’t think it is any secret that a good book for children is a good book at any age —as C.S. Lewis said: If a book is good for you to read at 5, it is good to read at 50.  But […]


Chicken soup comes in all different guises

November 27, 2013

I am thankful to all the authors who have enriched my life with their wisdom, humor and compassion.  So much I who I am and what I do comes from the books I have met in my life. Thanksgiving celebrates our capacity to be thankful usually with a culinary feast but I believe that chicken […]


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