We watched our granddaughter play volleyball…”There she is!” we both exclaimed

when she stepped onto the court…when she got into the game.


She only played a short time…didn’t even have time to mess her hair

The ball never came her way, but that didn’t matter…we didn’t care.


Her team won the game!…and though it was sad to watch the other team lose

We were happy!

What a beautiful day!

Then we went home and watched the news….


A child wearing a home-made gas mask in Syria…

her father’s face so worn and drawn.

They were pulling bodies out of the rubble…

after 7 years their war goes on….


7 years of war…cities destroyed by hatred…fighting and bombs

children who may be lost forever from their dads, their homes, their moms….


And we thought how lucky it is for our granddaughter…

playing volleyball so innocent and free

while halfway across the world there are children not as fortunate as she.


Who are running for their lives…while around them building fall

Who I imagine would give anything…to be playing volleyball.


And we’ll be happy watching her next game…

happy to be there win or lose…

Forgetting for a moment the rest of the world…


until we go home and watch the news.

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What can we say to our children as we watch them running to and fro?

What advice can we offer them…you know…advice to help them grow?


For weren’t we all children once…running to and fro?

And aren’t there things we learned back then…we’d like for them to know?


We could start with:


Life is to be lived…don’t always do what’s right.

Don’t always color within the lines…by all means fly a kite.


Believe in yourself when others don’t…ride in a boat upon the sea…

Stop to count the stars at night…at least one time…climb a tree.


Do the best you can in all you do…If you make a mistake…don’t fret.

Watch the sunrise in the morning…and in the evening watch it set.


Swing on a swing, slide down a slide…run…for no reason at all.

Enjoy the warmth of summer, the birth of Spring…and the changing leaves in Fall.


Eat ice cream whenever you want… hug…and kiss…and share….

Never knowingly hurt another being….sometimes…it’s okay to swear.


Travel to new places…learn to ride a bike while pedaling with no hands.

Never be in hurry to grow up…smile as often as you can.


Do what you know is right…don’t be afraid to take a chance…

Sing whenever you feel like it… feel free to cry and laugh and dance. 


Love life when everything is bright…and love life when all is black

for you’ll find if you love with all your heart…the world will love you back.


And perhaps the best news we could end with….

advice that never will be wrong:

No matter how much older you become…


always bring your child along.

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As parents we made a promise to our children

the first time we held them in our arms:

To love them unconditionally

To keep them safe from harm…..


But we haven’t kept our promise

to our daughters and our sons…

when we do nothing to stop their being killed

at the hands of someone with a gun….


And so our children now are weeping…

Pleading with us to disrupt this flood

of senseless violence and murder…

and they are crying tears of blood…


We must make a choice now

of what we’re going to do.

If we don’t help them..

if we let them die

then part of us dies too.


We have been failing our children for too long.

At a solution we MUST arrive!

We must do something to keep our promise…

to our children still alive


It’s time to come together…to fulfill that promise

to keep our children free from harm

for we don’t want today to be the last time


we hold them in our arms.

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The 5th grade breakfast was today…

proving time can be sad as well as cruel.

Wasn’t it only yesterday…when they were starting school?


Wasn’t it only yesterday they were a much smaller size?

How could they have grown up…right before our eyes?


We’ve enjoyed our moments together…we’ve taken pleasure in the climb…

How can life move in slow motion…and fast speed at the same time?


It’s not that we don’t want them to grow up…to be kinder, smarter…stronger

It’s just we hoped their growing up…would take a little longer….


But we take solace in our sadness because there is something we all know…

They will always be our babies…no matter how they grow.


Yes, we take solace knowing we will always see them through a parent’s loving eyes


and they will always be our babies…no matter how time flies…

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They say the very young and the very old have the softest hearts.

That one possesses wisdom while in the other innocence dwells.

Which is perhaps, they say, why these two ends of the rainbow

get along so well.


As I was walking in the park he came up from behind…

He gently took my hand in his…he had something on his mind.


There were birds along the waters edge…

he didn’t wait for my assent…

he pointed in their direction, tugged my hand

and, quickly, off we went.


We chased the birds to our mutual delight…

his grip…determined, safe and strong.

The birds would fly away then fly right back

happy to play along.


He was not afraid to be near the water…

not afraid of the unknown…

Instinctively he knew by holding hands

he was not there alone.


We only walked together for a little while

before his interest realigned…

But even as he toddled off

he left his palm print etched in mine….


I say it matters not how old you are

if you walk hand in hand with a young one often…

every time they slip their hand in yours


your heart is bound to soften.

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The music began to play and as the dancers began to stir

the eyes of the the crowd settled on the them…

but I was watching her.


She had been playing with her stuffed unicorn…which she dropped…to my surprise

when she saw the young ones dancing…and then she stood there…mesmerized.


She slowly toddled up to them…and I watched as the seeds of dance were sown.

Proving, once again, dance and the music that inspires it has a language all it’s own.


Then slowly, ever so slowly, she began swaying to the beat

Perhaps in that one moment…she was dreaming with her feet.


Perhaps she did more than wonder as she watched the dancers spin and reach their hands up to the sky…

Perhaps in that moment she understood…

she didn’t need wings to fly.


Then she danced the way we all should dance…

with no inhibitions…just having fun

And I thought, if there is a shortcut to happiness…

dancing must be one.


I watched her smile as she danced and spun…

with no more thoughts of unicorn…

And I felt blessed to be there to witness…

A tiny dancer being born.





When you grow weary of watching politicians call each other names.

When you’re saddened by our government in disarray…

take a trip to any elementary school and watch their Field Day.


You’ll see children working together as children.

You’ll watch them cheer and laugh…embrace…

You’ll watch them root for every child on every team

regardless of color or sex or race.


You’ll watch their teachers and coaches fill their students with confidence.

You’ll watch as they show them respect…and praise…

but never shame.

You’ll watch them teaching children by example 

the right way to play the game.


You’ll watch the parents and grandparents on the sidelines

cheering, clapping…jumping in the air.

Watching the magic unfold in front of them.

Proud to be standing there.


Perhaps you’ll remember when you were a child…

when you somehow had the knack…to work together… 

to love your neighbor…

and you’ll want that feeling back.


Perhaps you’ll regain an optimism you thought was lost.

In fact…you may concede

that there is still hope for this world we live in

because one day…

these children will lead….


Lead us to a new tomorrow using their strength and intellect…

Lead us to a happier more peaceful world….

filled with dignity and respect.


You’ll be confident these children will put the world on their shoulders...and lead us to a better day…

confident they will lead by example…


like they did on Field Day.

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As I watch our country send it’s people away…while trying to keep others out

I wonder about the flame that warms our melting pot…when did that flame go out?


As I watch our president stir up hate and anger so talk about building a wall can begin

I wonder…what happened to our founding fathers who invited everybody in…


As I watch what the adults are doing with our world…how everything they do seems so wrong…

I wonder…what happened to the children…who were taught to get along?


As I watch a world at war with itself…filled with hate and discontent…

I wonder…what happened to the children who were once so pure and innocent?


As I watch people hate other people because of their skin…their religion…their name

I wonder…what happened to the children…once taught to treat everyone the same?


As I watch religious people use their religion to hate lesbians and gays…

I wonder what happened to those innocent children…the ones we taught to pray…


To pray for love throughout the world…to pray that war and hatred would cease…

To pray that everyone would live together in harmony and peace.


And then I remember those children…the ones who laughed…who wanted only to have fun…

Since 1999 from Columbine to Stoneman High…

we’ve been killing them with guns.



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Today our oldest son turns 40…instead of feeling old…I”m feeling pretty good

as I pause to reflect a moment…on love and parenthood….


I do wonder how this happened…when did he become a man?

Here my memory takes me back to where it all began…


There are no words to describe the feeling…how immediately you’re torn

as you stand inside the hospital room and watch your baby being born.


“Congratulations,” the doctor says, “It’s a girl or it’s a boy.”

And in that instant your heart is filled…with both ecstasy and joy…


but in the next instant your knees begin to buckle and you feel a little numb…

because you realize in that instant…a parent you’ve become.


And you’re frightened for a moment…as you say your baby’s name…

because it’s apparent you’re a parent and your life will never be the same.


You understand you can’t go back…this photo cannot be retouched…

How being a dad…was the easy part…being a parent…not so much.


Questions begin racing through your mind…whizzing by rapidly.

How strong or strict or compassionate or tender will you be?


How will you ever cope with all the trials and tribulations up ahead?

Can you even change a diaper…what if it ends up on her head?


How long should we let a baby cry…if too long will they think that we we are mean?

How many times a day should she eat…what happens if his poop is green?


Will she come to love your smile?  Will he come to know your touch?

How many wipes is too many?  Is it possible to cherish them too much?


Where is the safest place for our baby to ride in a car?  Will there ever be a time when…

We stop worrying, know what we’re doing…or get a full nights sleep again?


But you have no choice…you’re a parent…so you jump into the fray

hoping you don’t make too many mistakes as you slowly find your way.


Then you find if you give them love, compassion and consistency…

a loving family will evolve

You discover the answers to your questions…and all your problems are resolved.


Sure you make mistakes along the way…life doesn’t always go the way we planned…

But your heart is in the right place…and you do the best you can…


Because you also knew one day your child will grow up and move away…

And if you want to be in his life tomorrow…you must be in her life today…


And as the years go by you smile…every time you say your baby’s name

glad he or she came into your life…glad it has never been the same.




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