Loss, Love, and Community at the Holidays

Abstract painting loosely resembling a fall landscape
Peace, 2014. Private Collection; prints available.

With the holiday season well underway, I’ve been thinking a lot about family and community.  I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with family, as I’ve always been lucky enough to do.  While I was so grateful to be surrounded by my mom, aunt, cousins, and husband, the absence of my father and uncle were palpable — it was our first Thanksgiving without them.  Spending these last few days at my parents’ house, it seems as though everywhere I look, I’m reminded of my dad.  It’s as if I can still see him sitting in his favorite chair and hear exactly what he would say in response to just about every situation.

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Making Apologies

Pencil sketch of two people standing a few feet apart

The Grammar Girl podcast did a great show this week on how to write an apology.  For a while now, I’ve been meaning to write a post about making tough apologies, so I thought I’d piggyback on Grammar Girl’s discussion.  The show advised listeners to avoid four kinds of non-apologies (the “if” apology, the passive voice apology, the reverse apology, and the florid fauxpology) and to follow a formula for apologizing effectively:

  • Acknowledge the offense clearly
  • Explain it effectively
  • Restore the offended parties’ dignity
  • Assure them they’re safe from a repeat offense
  • Express shame and humility
  • Make appropriate reparation

(Credit to Dr. Aaron Lazare and his book On Apology.)

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How Can We Effectively Respond to this Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist Garbage?

In light of this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, I find it necessary to revisit the topic I addressed last weekend.  Like many Americans, I am horrified by the recent rise in white supremacist, neo-Nazi activity in the US.  Many people smarter than me have written eloquent pieces about what happened this weekend, and I do not pretend to have anything new or particularly insightful to say.  In case there is any doubt, let me be clear where I stand:  Hating, discriminating against, or threatening anyone on account of their race, ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, or gender is despicable and unacceptable.  Human is human, period.

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