Pat's View: “Profound Thoughts”

He still cannot believe it was not a best seller.
Years ago, A longtime friend of mine had written and published a book---along with his wife---offering parenting tips intended to enlighten readers about how to do it right. The implication was, “Take advantage of our experience---and raise your kids like this.” The fact that he was the parent of his very first child---three months old---made his parenting book premature, if not outright ridiculous. (Although the chapter on colic was riveting.)
Wisdom is borne of experience, time---and reflection. But that did not stop Paris Hilton from writing a memoir at age 23; Britney Spears at 18; and Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber at age 16. If I had written a memoir at age 16 it would have about the length of a Taco Bell menu---with more cheese.
But now perhaps I have traveled far enough along in life to offer---authoritatively--- a few musings. Is it wisdom? That’s not for me to decide. But will it fill up space here? Yep.

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Amanda's View: President Obama’s Farewell Speech

By Amanda Knox
 
On Tuesday evening, as I watched Obama make the final rounds with Michelle and Malia, waving at the crowd, I was flooded with dread. I was reminded of those rare occasions when I was very young, when Mom dropped Deanna and I off at a family member’s house so she could run a quick personal errand, and we cried and cried, pleading, “Please don’t goooooooo!” For the past eight years, I’ve found comfort in Obama’s patience, confidence, and compassion, in the fact that he, of all people, proved again and again to be honest, intelligent, steady, forceful, and kind in the face of both tragedy and achievement. I dreaded the void Obama was leaving behind, and how it shortly was going to be filled with someone already proven to be base, short-sighted, vindictive, and vain.
 
Indeed, when I reread the transcript of Obama’s speech the following morning, I realized how cautionary his message was. He enumerated a number of specific threats to our democracy that we need to confront with urgency and sincerity, lest we severely weaken ourselves from within. He spoke about the threat of partisanship:

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Pat's View: “Slam Dunked”

In the fifth grade, our school’s head basketball coach brought in a motivational speaker. I don’t remember hearing the term ‘motivational speaker’ in those days---but that’s what he was. His job was to inspire my teammates and me to be winners.
He pulled out the very best quotes:
“The ones who say ‘you can’t’ and ‘you won’t’ are probably the ones scared that ‘you will.’
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
“Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.”
By the time he was finished inspiring us, we were either ready to win a basketball game---or be Amway representatives.
The next day our guys were slated to play a team from a school across town. We were generally believed to have no chance against them. Their starting center was a giant---perhaps 5 foot 8. But the motivational speaker had said, “You can still prevail. After all, what chance does one think a head louse has against an entire head? “ It was a brilliant and relatable analogy---far better than the clichéd David and Goliath comparison---because, let’s face it, David had a weapon in that fight.

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