What’s in a Name?

Shakespeare tried to teach us that it is the essential nature of a person or a thing that matters, not the name. What we call a flower does not determine its scent and what we name a person does not determine his character (read Freakonomics for a fascinating case in point). But does this same…

Maple Syrup and the Crazy Things We’ll Miss

I abandoned the comforts of a dorm room with built in entertainment of every kind and a dining hall flush with food and headed off to Japan where I abstained from most forms of entertainment and cooked and cared entirely for myself…. You would expect these things to be of particular interest to 19- and 20-year old boys, but you might be surprised that what we missed most often was food.The foods we missed were simple things…. Few things would bring more relief than finding out the new guy had his own maple syrup extract and wouldn’t be draining our finite resources.These comfort foods were so much a part of our palette and daily lives that we didn’t expect to miss them…. Foods have become much more global and fast food chains much more ubiquitous, but there will be foods for all of us that will be our maple syrup or mayonnaise.

There’s A Scorpion In My Boots!

In my frantic quest to get the house and yard in order for our one year absence, I’ve been planting flowerbeds, filling sinkholes with dirt, spreading pinestraw (a unique Georgian groundcover/mulch), and hauling lots of landscaping materials from point A to point B. As I was clearing out the trailer that I use to haul…

Microlending: The Cure for Third World Poverty

I have a husband who measures his success with the yardstick of goodness. At the end of the day he needs to feel the world is a better place for him having been it. Cynics might scoff, especially since he is an executive for a for-profit company, but he honestly has a philosophical and spiritual…

Empathy in India

They challenge us to grow in ways we never imagined possible and give us often frightening insights into the composition of our character.We have tried to model service for our children by helping wherever and whenever we can…. While it takes a major force of nature to penetrate the walls of our comfortable, suburban existence at home, we are hoping that our upcoming year will abound with opportunities to witness, feel, and act on behalf of others. Abigail Adams mirrored this thought when she wrote to her son John Quincy, “When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.”… RSO began by providing basic medical care to those suffering from leprosy (which can now be cured for about $1.50) and expanded to serve the children who are denied access to schools, medical care, and the basic necessities of life because a family member suffers from the debilitating disease.

They Can’t Teach That in School

Our kids returned to public school this year after two years of homeschooling. When we moved to Atlanta in 2002, we pored over school test scores and evaluations to find what we thought would be the best educational environment for our four offspring. Ivy League graduates and products of public schools ourselves, we were committed…

Do I Have to Lick A Toilet Seat to Get That?

My mother-in-law once came back from Mexico with a nasty digestive bug that the doctor told her she would have had to lick a toilet seat to contract. We believe her when she says she did nothing of the sort, but ever since her experience, the family has been especially wary of travel-related illnesses. The…