High school students wrote and produced raps based upon one of my books

Students at Gavit High School in Hammond, Indiana read Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend in English class, and a group of them wrote and produced raps about the book. image

I’ve never been a huge fan of of rap, but these two songs are definitely an exception:



My annual plea to the girls in my fifth grade class: Maintain your advantage over the boys. Rule the world.

On Friday, Hillary Clinton  pledged to work to get all the female Democratic candidates on the ballot elected in November.

“I can’t think of a better way to make the House work again than electing every woman on the ballot,” Clinton told the Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum. “There are ten women running for the Senate, six women running for governor and I wish I could vote for all of them.”

I’d like to take it one step further:

I would be willing to replace every male member of Congress with a female lawmaker.

With apologies to my own sex, I have often felt that our country would be better positioned for the future if it were run by women. 

Frankly, it’s shocking that women aren’t in charge already. As a fifth grade teacher, I bear witness to the striking differences between boys and girls at the ages of ten and eleven. It’s well known that girls mature faster than boys, and nowhere is this disparity more evident than in fifth grade.


Every year, I have girls in my class who could already be employed as effective office managers. A few could probably run small companies with the right advisors.

At the same time, I have boys in my class who can’t get food from their plate to their mouth without some disaster occurring in between. I have boys who would scrape sticks in dirt all day if given the chance.  

How these boys ever manage to span this intellectual chasm and in many cases overtake the girls is beyond me. I can only assume that somewhere in middle school or high school, girls turn on one another, stunting their sex’s overall progress, while boys continue to follow a more cooperative, live-and-let-live approach.

Whatever the cause, I gather the girls in my class every spring and implore them to band together and continue their dominance as they move forward to middle school. I tell them with all sincerity that the world would be a better place if it were run by women, and that it’s up to their generation to make this happen.

“Don’t be mean to one another,” I tell them. “Stick together. Support one another. And by all means, don’t fight over boys. We’re not worth it.”

My dream is to send a generation of girls forward who maintain their advantage of boys and eventually take over the world.

Perhaps I’m wrong.  Maybe the world wouldn’t be any better if it were run by women. But after more than two centuries of male domination in the halls of Congress and the boardrooms of corporate America, I’m willing to give the ladies a turn and see what they can do.

It couldn’t be any worse than what my sex has accomplished so far.

I refuse to give the high school jerks a free pass, regardless of conventional wisdom

Logic says that we shouldn’t continue to blame a person for being a jerk in high school because it was high school. Teenagers are not fully developed human beings, peer pressure can be incredibly intense and people often change a great deal in the years following high school.

But here’s the thing:

Many people chose not to be jerks in high school.

Despite their popularity, wealth or sports acumen, many teenagers choose the path of kindness, empathy, generosity and decency, even when their status would allow them otherwise.

So while we might not judge a person based solely on their actions during their sixteenth year of life, shouldn’t we at least admire the hell out of the people who treated their peers with decency and dignity in high school when so many others around them were doing otherwise?

It’s true that Glenn Bacon has probably grown up a great deal since throwing that music stand at my head like a spear during our junior year. If I met him today, I might find him to be a decent, upstanding man. But he still threw a music stand at my head and refused to take responsibility for his actions when blood was streaming from a cut above my eye and I was unable to regain my feet for a full fifteen minutes.

Sure, he was a teenager, but it was a stupid, cruel, cowardly and dangerous thing to do, and that remains true at any age.

If I met Glenn today, I wouldn’t base my opinion of him solely on his behavior in the music room that day, but this actions would continue to carry weight because of guys like Peter DiCecco or Mark Wojcik, who opted out of that kind of behavior and treated the people around then with decency and kindness despite their age and ability to do otherwise.

At least give credit to the good guys for choosing to be good much earlier than many others.