Tempering Expectations While Declaring Hopes

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

Reaching my middle age, I am fortunate enough to have expressed my will as a voter in six, Presidential elections and dozens of local, state, and national races or referendums. Given my places of residence across that span, I’ve commiserated in defeat more often than victory. I remember the euphoria of aiding a reform-minded friend win a local school board election in Indianapolis. Equally crushing was the now-defunct 2006 ban on same-sex marriage via Amendment 1 in Tennessee, which I campaigned hard against.

Win or lose, I never leave any contest without the germ of an idea for next steps…


And its influences in a white life

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My experience of blackness as a white man is as someone allowed inside a community which is not my own. To members of the Black community, I am a cousin, a friend, an ally, teammate, coworker, and in times past, a romantic partner. Yet, I remain white. What of merit can I say about blackness?

Where to start

The first stop on any white person’s tour of their personal history with race is an acknowledgment that the color of our skin does not present a social barrier. This is the heart of many acts of unintended, but not inconsequential, racism. …


The U.S. Problem with Acknowledging Historical Truth

Image by David Peterson from Pixabay

Ignorance can be educated. Of the many reasons for obtaining and maintaining a thorough and unadulterated education, this is the most important. Unlike mathematics, the humanities — which include history — demand repeated and ever-deepening explorations in order to fully understand the why, who, what, when, where, and how. On the surface, some of these questions may appear easily answered. Rest uneasily, they are not.

The true study of history requires more than a mere knowledge of past events. Historical study insists upon a knowledge of anthropology and its subdomains, of the psychology and sociology of the time being studied…


Reforging Bonds in Time

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In all my (almost) 38 years on Earth, one individual came close to never receiving my forgiveness. Having not only inserted himself uninvited into my life, the results of his actions detonated my biggest dreams and obliterated my life to the point of rebuilding from foundation. Examining this 15 years later, I realized that somewhere along the way I forgave him.

Yet, this man exemplifies but one of many for whom I boiled a grudge. Stewed silently as they continued to prosper. In no way am I a model for tranquility. For too long, the dark harbor of my being…


The Community Spread We Need

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If anyone found the rush on toilet paper, et al. absurd, they’ve either never lived through a major storm or failed to view It’s A Wonderful Life. The 49er-like stampede continued from Brisbane to Boston for days on end. Even with strict, retailer-imposed rations in place, aisles of dry goods, dairy, and meat remain lean. The rationale ranges from panic buying to long-term preparedness. Unless one plans on selling ultra soft rolls at twice the price of crude on the net, logic supports both.

From groceries, the world pivoted rapidly to masks and gloves. The need — much less the…


Implementing Bold, New Processes from Lesson Learned

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In the span of less than a month, educators across the United States proved their worth in spades. Ixnay the soul-cushing, state tests. Ixnay the cumbersome, formal evaluations. Throw down the gauntlets, get creative, and teach. These marching orders thundered from the highest levels of educational bureaucracy — not without some gnashing of teeth. Yet, teachers, nay educators, rose to the challenge and continue producing some of the most enlightened, invigorating curricula seen in years.

A national, life-or-death crisis forced administrators and politicians to allow these steps. …


How Mandatory Summer Programs Do More Harm Than Good

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

Bright lights. Thunderous crowds. Primed competitors. For communities across America, our local high school sports’ teams provide the very essence of unity. Win or lose, these players embody storied pasts and expectant futures. Their feats become the sustaining lore of lives beyond their own. We embrace them with gladiatorial enthusiasm. Thus, the countless sacrifices — late nights, summers, relationships, grades— prove worthwhile.

Don’t they?

LOOKING BACK

From the modern Olympic games forward, coaches encouraged elite athletes to maintain vigilance on a singular skill. Yet, the overwhelming majority of high school student athletes fall well outside this category. …


Photo by Jesse Mills on Unsplash

That Changed His View of Service & the World Forever

Anxiously awaiting takeoff from St. Louis International for Marine Combat Training, the pilot’s announcement of a delay did not help. I craned my head from the aisle seat and stared out at nothing but open runway and a clear, blue sky. Distant storm? This seemed the only possibility… for about 10 minutes.

Shortly, the pilot informed us of a nation-wide ground down. “If you’ve seen the news in the last forty minutes, you understand why” was his only explanation. Seen the news? I hadn’t. …


Why the Crisis at Our Southern Border Should Keep Us Up at Night

Photo by Max Böhme on Unsplash

When Ariel entered my room that morning, I recognized something was wrong. Foremost, she came in long before class during a time when she usually laughed it up in the cafeteria with friends. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she collapsed into the papasan and asked if we could talk. I never expected what came next.

Ariel’s flare for the dramatic stood out among her peers. Was this more boyfriend issues? A jealous rival? Just more middle-school angst? I prepared to meet any of those issues with assurances that everything would be fine. We’d walked this path a few times…


Photo by TM Lankford. All rights reserved.

Considerations in the 21st Century

A near perfect enchantment surrounds the celebration of our nation’s founding. One need not feel guilty to have never served in the armed forces. One need not remain in somber memorialization. One need not buy gifts galore or spend solo hours preparing a meal. One only needs to spend a day relaxing into the peaking summer — hopefully with cherished others — and, if so inclined, cap the evening with a sky-rending celebration of fireworks.

Nothing more and one could do less.

To appreciate being an American means consciously enjoining and enjoying our freedoms. The Fourth hands us opportunities to…

TM Fordith

T.M. is an educator, writer, photographer & Jarhead veteran. He lives with his husband Hank and their dogs in OK. Travel, coffee, and a good story make his day.

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