His Name was John

His name was John.  He was my first client.   I was responsible for his account and managing its success.  I often wonder what would have become of him had he chosen a different path.

He worked for a large manufacturing company for over 20 years as a director in a sourcing department.  He was an early adopter in new technologies during the Internet boom in the late 90s and was willing to take risks if he saw a benefit in it for his company.

Though something about John was special.  He was incredibly strong in his opinions and was never afraid to voice them regardless of offending anyone in the room – a real maverick.  Disheveled looking with his long dark gray hair, often windblown in appearance, he wore a business suit and his shirt frequently became un-tucked.  The executives I worked for called upon him to talk to our industry analysts because he was a champion of our company and early adopter of what we were selling.  They knew that John could not be scripted (there was no coaching John), but assumed the risk knowing how passionately he advocated for us and how much they appreciated his business.

What made him truly different from the average person was something that no one ever wanted to ask for fear of his reaction to the question.  He walked with a severe limp, his right arm always held close to his body, and his torso was slightly twisted.  He had a lazy eye and a very disproportionate lower body – his lower body smaller than his upper body.  Though, when he smiled, his face would light up.  It was easy to forget his awkward appearance and his typical tact – I think he forgot about it too.

John and I were at a meeting one afternoon in his office.  It wrapped up early so we went to grab an early dinner to continue discussing the project’s plan before my flight.  He selected a restaurant nearby and when walking towards the door, he paused and looked at our reflections in the window of both of us.

He stopped me and grabbed my arm to motion me to look as well, “What is it like?”

I responded with a pissed off tone looking at the reflection, “What is WHAT like?”

He said, “To look like you?”

I became annoyed – and somewhat insulted.  Initially, I thought he was referring to what became a growing frustration of mine during the early part of my career.  At the time, I was only 29 years old and many of our clients were “old industry” or came from the “good old boy” network given the functional area of big companies we worked with.  I was young, a female and sometimes not taken seriously until I began a work assignment and demonstrated that I had a brain and could add value.  John and I – visually – couldn’t have been more mismatched as pair, yet worked incredibly well together and respected each other’s intellect and drive tremendously.  This is why I became so incensed by his question – I thought we were way passed that crap.

He softly apologized, which was unheard of for John.  He realized I didn’t understand what he was asking.

“Lori, what is it like to look…look normal?”

My heart broke now understanding what he meant.  We didn’t continue the dialog.  I felt a bit uncomfortable not knowing how to respond.

We were seated in the restaurant.  I still hadn’t answered the question because I wasn’t sure how to answer it.  Quickly changing the subject, I asked him how his wife and 3 teenage kids were doing.  He then asked me about my family.

“What do your parents do for a living?, ” he asked.

“My dad is an engineer and my mom, an entrepreneur, though prior to the small business she runs now (an employment placement agency), she spent much of her time as a homemaker when my sisters and I were very young.”

John dug deeper, “What’s your father like?”

“Probably one of the most moral, conservative human beings you’d ever meet.  He doesn’t watch rated R movies and I think I’ve heard him swear twice (I laughed).  He had the tough gig of raising 3 teenage daughters with my mom.  As a child, he experienced a severe life threatening illness that, I’m guessing, had an impact on his psyche as a kid and an adult.  Though he is an introvert and doesn’t open a lot.”

He asked, “What did he have?”

“Polio – he was only about 10, in an iron lung and used wheel chair as needed, and missed out on an entire year of school.  Salk came onto the medical scene in Pittsburgh and invented the vaccine that following year and he was cured.  If you met my father now, he stands close to 6 feet tall, and looks as healthy as ever.”

John looked down at the table as if I said something wrong or hurtful.

“What’s up?  What did I say?”

He paused for what seemed to be a lifetime.

He commented quietly, “It didn’t work for me.”

“What didn’t work for you?

“The vaccine,” he said.

I finally learned what so many wondered but hadn’t asked.  He had polio as a kid as well – though in his case, it disfigured his body.

A few months after that meeting with John, I became pregnant with Mia.  Though I enjoyed working on his account with him (I learned so much from John), I approached my management team about selecting a new position in the company with less travel obligations.   Fortunately, they supported my request.  As I transitioned off of the account, I focused on becoming a new mom and what that exciting change would bring.  Though, as a result, I lost touch with John during that short period of my life.

As I went along my day to day as a young working mother, Mia now only about a year old, I ran into a former colleague of John’s in my office.  (This would have been about a year and half after working with him).  Nancy was a Vice President at the same company with John, and she had recently taken a different position outside of the company.

“Wow, it is great to see you Lori.  How is new motherhood treating you?”

With a huge grin, “The best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Nancy was a brilliant businesswoman and mother.  She had 4 children of her own.  As we shared what our lives had been like over the past year and half, she interrupted me with a look of strong concern and asked, “Hey, have you spoken to John lately?”

“No, why? How is he?  I miss his charm,” I said sarcastically and giggled knowing she and I appreciated John in so many wonderful ways.

“John isn’t doing so well,” she said.  “He left the company to join an early start-up technology company that went under when the bubble burst a few months back – and his wife had recently left him.”

She pleaded, “Please call him.  He always enjoyed his working relationship with you and considered you a dear friend.  He could use a friend right now.”  I told her I’d contact him.

I woke the following day feeling exhausted as usual juggling the demands of being a working mom.  I put Mia in her crib, said goodbye to her father, and took off for work.  While driving, I tried reaching John on the way.  It rang.  He answered.

“Hello.  This is John.”

“Hey stranger!  How are you doing??  Guess who this is?”

He laughed, and said, “Lori, God, it has been a long time.  How is your baby girl?  She’s a girl, right?”

I said, “yes – she is doing very well.”

He said, “Wow, it really is good to hear your voice.”

“I ran into Nancy yesterday – she said, you’ve hit a few bumps in the road.  What’s going on?”

John didn’t avoid the question.  “You know me, ruffling feathers everywhere I can.”

He asked if I could refer him to a few people in the industry for opportunities.  He explained that his wife left him and his kids were struggling with the split.

“John, I promise you’ll get through this – we all hit bad spots.  You’ll be ok.  I’ll reach out to a few of my contacts for you.”

He seemed to want to get off of the topic, and turned it back to my daughter.

“How is it?  How is it working and taking care of her?  Are you working fulltime?  Do you get much time off?”

I laughed hard and reminded him how demanding our clients were.  Particularly ones like him.

John then urged me in a serious tone, “Lori – please promise me that Mia will know who her mother is and what she stands for.  They grow up so quickly and you don’t want to miss out on any of it.  TRUST ME – NOTHING will replace the time you spend with her.”

Thinking to myself, for John, how out of place his sentiment was towards me, I quipped, “John, who is this, is this John X?”  I laughed and taunted him a bit.  “When did you get so soft on me?”

He knew I was kidding.  After having worked closely together, he knew I always loved him for how brutally honest he could be with me.  Maybe because I knew deep down inside, there was an insecure good guy who just wanted to be accepted.

Finally responding to him, “John.  I promise.  Mia WILL KNOW who her mother is.  She will understand what is important to me – even if I choose to work fulltime, ok?”

It seemed to settle him.  “I’m about to pull into the garage here. Let me buzz you tomorrow morning after I reach a few folks for opportunities.  I have a few ideas.”

“Ok.  Please do, and take care, was so great catching up.”

I hung up and went on about my workday.

The next morning I drove to work and tried ringing him.  There was no answer.  I thought I might have dialed the wrong number and tried repeatedly.  No answer.  I pulled into the garage and went to my office.  A colleague walked in my office unaware of my recent communications with John.

“Hey, did you hear about John X?”

I said, “yeah, sad story – but he’ll bounce back – you know John, he’s a survivor.”

“No – about what just happened?”

I froze.  I was confused.

I asked, “What?”

“John committed suicide yesterday.  He pulled into his garage, turned on the ignition and closed the garage door.   No one knows much more than that.”

I felt the lump in my throat and fought the tears back.  I kindly asked him to leave me alone.  I wanted to reach Nancy, his former colleague and close friend.

Nancy’s assistant answered her line and responded, “Sorry, she’s in a meeting.”

“Ok, this is Lori, if you could…”

She stopped me, “Oh, hold on a moment – she asked to interrupt her if you called.”

My heart sank.

Nancy picked up her line,  “Lori, thanks so much for calling.  Please tell me – you DID reach him yesterday?  Please tell me you did.”

It’s been over a decade since that phone call, and yet on some days, it feels like yesterday.  I was deeply saddened by it.  How could his desperation win?  How could his hopelessness and situation beat him into giving up?  Why couldn’t I hear how hopeless he was?  Why couldn’t he be more vulnerable and open up about how desperate he was – with anyone?

Though I know I couldn’t have saved him, I wished he had the strength to figure out a way to ask for help to get through it.  To share with someone, a family member, or a friend, even a stranger, what was really going on inside of him.  If only he reached out.

If I had the chance to meet John’s children, I would tell them how much their father taught me – professionally and personally.  How much laughter he brought to his friends with his quick wit and raw sense of humor.  I would tell them his influence never left me – and his words on that last day we spoke, are words I have never forgotten.  Mia does and will know who her mother is and I what I stand for.  As will Kate and William, my stepchildren, know what’s most important to me.

The video clip below is a powerful scene from a movie based on a true story of a strong man asking for help.  The character is in one of his darkest days exposing his situation, being vulnerable, and asking for help. In my opinion, one of Russell Crowe’s best performances.
hearts2
In sharing John’s story, my hope is to increase awareness for those that may need help, but have difficulty asking for it.  To bring more awareness to those that may be able to help those in need, and to encourage “this too shall pass” and most important, that they aren’t alone.

Whether it’s through faith, professional counsel, family and friends’ support, or our own sheer will to survive – my hope is that we can all be more vulnerable with each other when we need help during our journeys.

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Tip of My Tongue

“Hey Lor – usual?”  April yelled over the counter past a few customers standing in front of me.  Half of the customers I recognized.  We were faithful regulars at 8:22 AM.  Interesting how the patterns of the moments in your life matter during your day, during your journey.  I’m not in this particular Starbucks every morning though I do visit this one primarily because there are a few baristas, April being one of them, that know me, know Mia, know my husband and Will and Kate, know my story, and make it feel more like home while I’m writing.

On this morning, I sat down to begin work.  Lee, one of the other baristas, walked over to me and said, “You need to meet this guy.  You guys are doing the same thing.”

She pointed over to a young man in his late twenties.  He was wearing workout gear, had a laptop open with his headphones on.   Not the kind of small headphones that plug into your ears people wear to listen to things on their laptops like movies, videos or news clips.  Rather the bigger ones that look like ones you’d wear in a production studio.   Lee motioned over to him.  He walked over and she introduced us.

“So, I hear we have something in common, though she hasn’t told me what.  I’m an aspiring writer.  Specifically, I want to be a screenwriter.  Not really a huge writing or entertainment mecca here in Pitt, but quit my career to chase my writing dream along with hopes of seeing my daughter more and giving a new relationship a better chance (at the time, I had only begun dating my husband).  What’s your story?”

He introduced himself as “Wojo.”

“I did the same sorta thing.  Quit my corporate job in NYC – lived there for over 6 years after graduating college, moved back to Pittsburgh last fall.  Moved in with my parents.  I know, not the most ideal living situation for a guy who had independence for a while, but it sure helps to have their support.   I want to dedicate myself fulltime to what I really want to do.  Music.”

As I learned more about him, I understood why his choice to pursue music fulltime might be shocking to some.  Shocking to most – even might seem somewhat of an irresponsible choice given his earlier accomplishments, his earlier choices.

Wojo grew up in a northern rural-suburb of Pittsburgh, the middle child of 3 siblings.   At the age of 12, the music bug bit him and he began playing guitar.  His early influences were groups including Nirvana, The Offspring and Stone Temple Pilots. Though academics and athletics came natural to him during his teenage years, his passion for music always remained.

He was accepted into Dartmouth, Georgia Tech, and a handful of other prestigious universities, and chose the University of Pennsylvania.   He was on the Track and Field Team and a top pole vaulter.  By the time Wojo graduated, he was the Ivy League champion in the Pole Vault 3 out of his 4 years, as well as ranked 23rd in the nation, and just missed the qualifying round to compete in the Olympic Trials.

Through all of his athletic and academic success at UPenn, he continued to bring his music with him and performed on stage during his freshman year on campus.  Performing in front of 200 students packed inside a fraternity house, he found himself drawn to the thrill of being in front of a live audience.

He explained, “In those moments, it’s easy to feed off of the energy of the room, especially when there’s a great vibe, and you just get utterly sucked into the moment. It’s the purest form of escapism. I live for the ‘all eyes on me’ moments, they’re an amazing high.”

Though he continued to play coffee shop gigs, campus shows, and frequent dorm-room performances and even produced an acoustic demo during his college years, he still didn’t have the confidence in himself yet to make the choice to pursue becoming a musician.

Wojo continued, “When people in your life are repeatedly advising you to settle for something they’ve deemed important, it’s hard for you to hear your own voice above all of the noise.  Instead, the doubts in your head echo more loudly, joined by a choir of voices of your family, peers and acquaintances who share the same doubt-filled sentiments.  So you stay the course.”

Following the expected path, he graduated with a degree in economics and was hired on a first interview with a major investment bank in NYC.  He later accepted a job with one of the top consulting firms and worked in consulting for over 6 years.

At a time when Wojo had tremendous opportunity to increase his earning power in his field, he quit and switched gears to do something that wouldn’t guarantee any job security or financial success.  He left his stable income and began relying on his 401K to survive, all the while knowing the music industry is one of the hardest industries to break into – but why then, why now?

Wojo explained his heart was always in music.  That the day-in and day-out of corporate America drained him of who he really was as a person and what he really wanted out of life.  What brought him energy.  He was ready to take the risk.  Ready to make the change.

“Don’t know where my future is going, but seemed senseless not to try, “ he said.

He put in his 2 weeks notice at the consulting firm and moved back to Pittsburgh almost 2 years ago.  Since then, Wojo has written and produced 2 EPs – one he launched a year ago, and the other is almost completed, with more material slated to be released shortly.

As much as Wojo’s choice resonated with me (it was so great to meet someone else that was working towards something that required big life changes without guarantees or with high odds of success), it was also difficult to understand his influences and why he made the choice beyond the “high” he felt on stage.  I asked him if he had a favorite coach, mentor or author that further inspired him.

He answered, “One of my favorite authors is JK Rowling.  I love the Harry Potter books.  Silly as it sounds, I’ve often tried to model my life based on Dumbledore’s character.  He has incredible knowledge without actually saying he has the answer.  He’s made mistakes, admits his mistakes and draws strength and wisdom from it.  Dumbledore’s character strives to rise above and do the thing that is in his heart.   Dumbledore counsels Harry – love is more powerful than hate.”

As he shared with me the impact of the Harry Potter series and Dumbledore’s character, it was clear that his heart and love of music led him to his new path.

Wojo, no matter what comes of your choice to chase your dream, you’ve already won.  You’ve made the courageous decision that some might not make out of fear of failure or others judgment of your talent.  Thank you for reminding me of how important it is to follow your heart regardless of what others may think of your choices.  Dumbledore messages it best to Harry in the scene below:

The song below – Tip of My Tongue –  is the first song Wojo shared when I met him that day in Starbucks.  Impressed by the song, I shared it with Chris as soon as I returned home.  It is definitely our favorite Wojo original (both written and performed by him) and the reason we continue to cheer him on.

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10 Minutes

It only took 10 minutes.  Standing in the security line at 5am at Pittsburgh International Airport, I glanced behind me and noticed a woman who was traveling alone.  It was a few days after Christmas and most travelers looked like they just rolled out of bed – myself included.   Typically, my grooming process when traveling that early includes brushing my teeth, throwing my un-brushed hair in a pony-tail, and making sure the make-up that remained from the day before wasn’t smeared under my eyes.  Though, the woman behind me was unlike the rest of us.  Wearing a pressed white blouse with dress slacks, beautifully accessorized, her hair and make up crisply done.  She was a petite woman who appeared to be in her 60s.   As I put my laptop in the separate bin on the belt, I turned to her, “Happy holidays – heading anywhere special?”

She kindly responded, “The west coast-California.  It’s home for me.”

She explained that she was in Pittsburgh over the last few days visiting her son and his family.   I told her that I had a daughter, but she was with her father that week.   We shared custody and it was his week to have her with him.

She asked, “Where does she go to school?”

“She is very young still – only 10, but oddly already talks of colleges she’d like to go to someday.”

At the time, my daughter was reading about the US presidents.  As a result, she talked about pursuing schools like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, or Princeton.  I laughed when she would remind me that Lincoln’s son went to Harvard.

The woman responded, “My daughter went to Stanford.”

“Wow.  When did she graduate and what is she doing now?” She responded, “She graduated a Fulbright Scholar and then left to do anti-apartheid work in South Africa.”

“What does she do now?”

Without hesitation she said, “She was murdered.”

What? I stood there for a moment in shock, and wondered whether it would be appropriate to ask anything further – or even if we had the time.  We had both passed through the security scanner and now were heading for the underground transit to our separate gates.

“I’m so sorry for your loss.  Do you mind me asking when and what happened?  I paused, and put my hand out to shake her hand.  “My name is Lori, my daughter’s is Mia.”

She shook my hand, smiled and responded, “Very nice to meet you, my name is Linda.   She was murdered a long time ago in 1993, just before the first multi-party elections post apartheid.  She was doing work in regards to the inequality and oppression in South Africa.    That was her life’s passion.  Unfortunately, she got caught in a mob and died in the attack.”

Her daughter’s story sounded familiar so I asked her name.

“Amy,” she replied, “Amy Biehl.”

Linda explained that Amy’s story had aired on various news shows and had been written in newspapers.  She indicated that she still travels quite a bit to Cape Town because she and her late husband, Peter, had set up a foundation there in Amy’s name.

In the few minutes standing beside her, I couldn’t help but imagine how it might have felt to have lost a child in such a brutal way – a daughter.  My heart sank thinking about it.  As I asked her a few more questions, not a single negative or bitter word was in response to any of it.  Her demeanor was one of great pride and humility.  There was a grace about her standing there amongst all of the weary-eyed travelers telling me about her daughter’s legacy.

As we approached our gates, I asked her if she had a business card for the foundation and when she was back in Pittsburgh to visit her family, if she’d be willing to meet at a Starbucks for coffee.  I told her I would love to hear more about Amy’s Foundation and her work.  She handed me her business card, gave me a quick hug and said sure.  Linda made me feel like we had a common bond, a natural familiarity – maybe because we shared the experience of raising a passionate daughter, or maybe it was just what felt right when leaving a mother who had suffered such a great loss.

Sitting alone at my gate before boarding, I searched the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust.  Articles and TV segments listed immediately in the search results.  As I read through them, I couldn’t believe what Linda had omitted from her story.

What Linda didn’t share were the events that followed Amy’s death.  On August 25, 1993, Amy drove a friend home to the township of Guguleta, outside Cape Town.  A mob pulled from her car and stabbed and stoned her to death.  Four young men were convicted for killing her.  5 years later, Linda and her late husband supported the release of Amy’s killers.   The young men convicted had applied for amnesty through South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Amy’s parents did not oppose it.  Rather, they attended the hearing and spoke on their behalf.  Two of the four men who were released now work for the Amy Biehl Foundation often accompanying Linda at speaking engagements all over the world.  Both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have recognized Linda and her late husband for the impact they, Amy and the foundation have had on the country and their people.

After reading the entire story from the various articles, I sent her an email hopeful she’d meet with me again.  I was so grateful when she responded and agreed.  Eight months later, we met at a local Starbucks outside of Pittsburgh.  Mia came along – as young as she was, she had the same curiosity as I did.   How does one forgive such an act against your own child?  How?

Linda responded, “It was not Amy that they murdered.  She stood for something they did not understand.  It was much bigger than Amy.”

Linda shared that she and Peter (her late husband) drew their strength from Amy.  She explained that Amy’s involvement and belief in South Africa’s journey to democracy and reconciliation was through education and open communication.  She described the current conditions in South Africa since Amy’s death and how the foundation is working to help.  Thousands of children have been educated through its programs over the last 20 years.  The foundation offers after school programs to develop and empower youth living in challenged and vulnerable communities.

Linda’s story of how she worked tirelessly over the last 2 decades to keep Amy’s legacy alive has never left my heart or mind.  I’m so grateful to have heard her story and to have met her.   Though, admittedly, even after being so touched by her story – I still wonder, if as a mother, I would have had the same strength to forgive.  I hope I would, but still wonder.

imagelinda

Linda, thank you for allowing me to interrupt your quiet moments for the 10 minutes we had standing in the security line.  I often recall your story when I’m having a hard time finding the strength to forgive during my own challenging or painful moments.  Having the courage never to blame but to choose forgiveness over hate and anger.

Below is a brief movie scene relevant to what Amy’s death and her parent’s response to it meant to an entire country.  It is an example of how most humans might respond to hatred and ignorance – and fortunately, how some humans (like Linda and Amy) set a higher and more compassionate standard for us all.

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Bartenders and Baristas

Follow your heart.  We’ve heard it all before.  We’ve read quotes posted all over Facebook or have seen movies and read books about it.  We’ve given the advice and received the advice from family, friends and even our own children.  For me, that’s how it happened.  The words of a 10-year old little girl rang in my head every time I thought about reversing my decisions or choices.  “Mum – I know quitting your job took courage.  Following your heart makes me so proud.”   Crap, now I was truly accountable.  I couldn’t let her down.  She told her teachers and friends how my choice had inspired her to work on her own writing passions.  No pressure here, none.

Two years ago I made the decision to leave an 18-year career in a great industry that afforded me the ability to take care of myself and my daughter.  But I hit a big crossroads and woke up a few weeks before my 40th birthday realizing I wasn’t happy – genuinely happy.  Call it a midlife crisis, divine intervention, wanting more time with my daughter (who watched her mom sit on endless conference calls her entire young life), or meeting the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  Whatever it was, all of it came crashing down on me hard and something inside was telling me to get off the corporate hamster wheel.  Where did I go wrong?  Got the college degree, followed the career path and invested in an MBA.  But still, was never fulfilled professionally and found myself consistently asking “What if?”  My mind wandered to “follow your heart, chase your dreams – time to ignore the skeptics, time to ignore convention.”   But the life I was about to choose was unconventional and risky.  It wasn’t part of my plan.  Though I’m realizing now, all of the choices I made in my life (good and bad), led me to where I am now.  A new plan.  An authentic path.

For much of my adult life I had something in the pit of my stomach tugging at me.  Have you ever had that feeling?  For me, it was this dream of becoming a writer.  A screenwriter.   Perhaps it was my love of movies.  Though over the last few years, I’ve realized it’s something much more than sitting with an overpriced bucket of popcorn watching DeNiro, Hanks, Barrymore, Malkovich or Streep move me to another place and time.  It was my love of people and their stories.  The stories that changed them, shaped their character, propelled them down a path they never thought imaginable – stories that changed their perspective and helped themselves, or even better, helped others.  I found myself wanting to write about people who touched me or changed my own perspective  – family, friends and even random strangers that shared something about who they were, and why they were.  Happy stories, sad stories, triumphant stories, tragic stories – all of them enabling them to become who they were meant to be.  Many of their stories reminding me that it’s ok to fall hard or fail and be human – but not ok to ignore the lesson or inspiration in it.  I guess I believe everyone has a story within them.  I believe these are the true gems in life, that if we listen closely, we can grow from the experiences.  We can expand our hearts and purpose with these gifts of story.

What the hell does this have to do with bartenders and baristas?  This isn’t about how many trenta unsweetened black ice teas or grey goose cocktails I can consume while writing and learning a new craft, though that might be a fun experiment someday.  You see, what nobody told me when I entered into this writing dream, was how incredibly lonely of a profession it was and is.  I was so used to team meetings, team calls, team lunches, “team, team, team.”  In all aspects of my prior profession, I had a “community or team” cheering me on to the finish line or deadline and picking me up through failures – pretty much daily.   I had amazing mentors within those teams teaching me to become a successful contributor, helping me and team members reach our collective goals.  The baristas in the mornings, and the bartenders in the evenings, have become my new community when having writer’s block or wondering if chasing this was the right path.  These baristas and bartenders became my friends, my cheering squad, my “new team,” especially on the days I needed to keep the dream alive and to keep on going.

So I dedicate this launch post to my new team, the bartenders and baristas, as well as to all of the prior teams in my life – who kept me going when I felt like I should throw in the towel or had fear and doubts.  There is a character in one of my favorite movies that I channel when I need a cheerleader on the team.   “Oh Captain, my captain.”  Thank you, Mr. Keating.  Thank you for reminding us all to have our own voice, break out and seek new perspective even if it goes against what’s expected of us.  And thank you Tom Schulman, for writing and sharing a great story.

Below, probably one of my favorite endings in all films (still gives me chills to watch even though I’ve seen it a million times).  With little dialog, the boys had a perspective different than the administration’s conservative views of Mr. Keating.

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