Friday, November 19, 2021

You Never Know...

Hall of Fame recording artist Billy Joel credits his high school music history teacher for his success.  As a sophomore at Hicksville High School, his music history teacher, Mr. Chuck Arnold was inspired by the skill Billy Joel had playing the piano. As Billy Joel describes it, one day while fooling around on a piano, playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23, Mr. Arnold noticed his talent and made a very simple comment.  He told Billy Joel that with his talent, he could be a professional musician. Previous to that moment, Billy Joel had never thought about music that way and credits Mr. Arnold for giving him his start in the music industry. Moral of this story:  You never know the impact your words can have on a student.

Until next time...

Friday, November 5, 2021


How many times do we hear the acronym TGIF?  Originating in 1965 with the restaurant chain TGI Friday’s, it was popularized and shortened to TGIF in 1978 with the release of the movie “Thank God It’s Friday”.  Now the acronym is popularized in many ways, but it still stands for the same thing. It stands as a banner message to signify the end of a grinding week and the beginning of the weekend. We have all heard the message of TGIF and we all understand the sentiment.  That being the case, I would challenge you to use TGIF as a time to reflect.  Instead of seeing TGIF as a phrase to celebrate the end of the week, see it as a few words:  Trust, Grateful, Inspired, Fun. By plugging in those words we can then ask ourselves the following questions in reflection of the week:

T - What did you Trust in this week?

G - What were you Grateful for this week?

I - What Inspired you this week?

F - What was Fun this week?

Of course, the ‘What’ can always be interchanged by ‘Who’.  By framing the acronym into these simple questions, one can completely change their state of mind and become more reflective.  Have a phenomenal weekend...Go PUPS! (cue Cranberries, Linger).

Until next time...

Friday, October 15, 2021

Good Guys and the Bad Guys

On the way to work this morning,  I was intrigued by the original soundtrack of the Magnificent Seven written by Elmer Bernstein. I started thinking about how we in society treat ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’.  How intriguing it is to me that music can represent very clearly the good and the bad.  We all know that our basic understanding of good and bad is rooted in our moral upbringing. If you are anything like me, I had a very clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong from my parents however, the musical side has been taught through the movies. In the old westerns, the good guys wore the white hats and we all knew who wore the black hats. Not only that, but the music that accompanied them was also very identifiable. Fast forward to more current movies and the music continues to identify the villain. In the hugely successful Star Wars movies, the imposing Imperial March let us all know Vadar was on his way. In contrast, the Theme of the Jedi conjures a completely different feeling. It is simple to figure out the good guys and the bad guys.  In the real world however, things are not so simple. Nobody has a soundtrack that plays so we can hear.  In real life, sometimes, the ‘bad guys’ are packaged as a ‘good guys’. It is not as easy as in the films. Who really knows?  That’s one reason why I just try to focus on my actions.  I want to be the ‘good guy’ in the white hat.  I choose to do right by people and be comfortable in my skin. I want to be the best person that I can be. In my mind, I’m wearing the white hat with the music of the magnificent seven playing in the background as I ride off into the sunset...roll credits.  Have an exceptional weekend. Enjoy the beautiful weather...Go PUPS! (cue Elmer Bernstein, Magnificent Seven)

Until next time...

Monday, October 11, 2021

Lost in the Decades

I can get lost thinking about the past. When I see pictures of days gone by I wonder what it would have been like to be an adult in the decades past. The 1910s had the Great War and that was followed by the roaring ‘20s when the Stock Market was booming. The ‘30s was plagued by the Great Depression and then the ‘40s introduced world war again. The ‘50s are often thought of as the ‘Golden Age’ because of the tech advances and the post-war boom but it has a black eye from the racism. The ‘50s also gave us the end of segregation with Brown v. Board of Education sparking the dawn of the Civil Rights movement that gained momentum in the ‘60s. The ‘70s was a decade of struggle with a recession, disco, and skating that rolled into the ‘80s which brought about cable news, MTV and the the ‘Music Revolution’, then the fall of the Berlin wall.  The ‘90s started as a decade of hope after the Cold War ended, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the invention of the internet, but was mired in tragedy with domestic terrorism such as Oklahoma City and Columbine High School. Our sordid history in a paragraph. The point is simply that though times can be difficult, the struggle we each feel is relative.  Hang in there. We all know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we all are pretty sure it’s not a train. Let’s just stay off the tracks to be certain.  Have an exceptional weekend. Enjoy the cool weather...Go PUPS! (cue Billy Joel, We Didn’t Start the Fire) 

Until next time...

Friday, October 1, 2021

Roll with the Changes

October is upon us and we are seeing a mild change in the weather. It won’t be long before we begin to see the changes in the leaves. As educators, it is important for us to take notice of the things around us. Change is always the most difficult thing for anyone to handle because it thrusts us into something that is unknown or out of our comfort zone. I don’t believe change is disruptive for people because we all embrace it six times a year with the seasons and the time changes. We simply adjust to each change as needed because we know we cannot do anything about it.  Therefore, it is my opinion that it is not the change that is so disruptive but our attitude toward the change that fuels the fire of discontent. Charles Swindoll, the author of ‘The Grace Awakening’, said is credited with the idea that we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way or do a certain thing. We can, however, change our attitude. Have an exceptional weekend. Enjoy the phenomenal weather...Go PUPS! (cue REO Speedwagon, Roll With The Changes)

Until next time...