Notes to Grandchildren – March 12, 2021 (Queen Sharon)

15 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Beware of Queen Sharon and people like her.

Queen Sharon resides in my retirement community. She believes that she’s is charge. She re-arranges furniture for her convenience. She assigns tasks.

Two years ago, shortly after Queen Sharon moved in, some residents were discussing a Christmas party. Out of the blue, Queen Sharon began delegating duties for her Christmas party. When all was said and done everyone, except Queen Sharon, had a responsibility.

People like Queen Sharon take. They zap your energy. They love the glory but shun duties and obligations. It’s easier to assign blame if they remain removed from the process.

I’ve run into many people like Queen Sharon. When doing group work as a student, there was always one student who didn’t carry the load. I’ve also seen it on the job.

Be aware. If you fail to pay attention, soon you’ll be handling not only your responsibilities but also theirs. You don’t have the time for that. Furthermore, no need exists to be a scapegoat to their bullying behavior.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 11, 2021 (Charity)

14 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Charity. I get inundated with requests for money.

I despise organizations that sell their donor lists. Make a gift to one and soon 15 similar groups flood the mailbox with address labels, cards, shopping bags, calendars, etc.

Avoid organizations that take a large percentage of donations to cover administrative costs while passing along a small portion to the cause. Charity Navigator might help.

Be certain that the charity does what it purports to do. I heard of a domestic violence shelter that turned away abused people because of acts of violence committed 15 to 25 years ago. Really? They may have been the abuser 15 to 25 years ago, but today they are the abused.

I avoid clearinghouses. Even though I might be able to designate the charitable organizations, do my dollars actually go there or are all the dollars lumped together in a large pot to be divided?

Give locally. Give directly to the organization. Build a relationship. See what your funds can do in your community:

  • food banks
  • homeless shelters
  • colleges and universities
  • arts
  • libraries
  • literacy programs like Read for Life
  • schools
  • activities for children
  • veteran groups
  • scholarship programs

Beware! Keep in touch! Are your donations being used as intended? A community leader gave money for a swimming pool and rehabilitation facilities at a retirement community. As time passed, the retirement community cut back on access to the swimming pool. Since the donor has now died, the pool is now closed … permanently. Very disappointing. Aquatic exercise provides relief to people with arthritis.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 10, 2021 (Comparing Childhoods)

13 May

Dear Grandson,

This morning while helping you pack up your Transformers, I displayed my limited knowledge. I was able to distinguish between the Autobot emblem and the Decepticon emblem.

Hurray for Grandfather!

I did not suspect that this would trigger quiz time.

You held up a yellow Transformer and asked, “Who is this?”

After prompting me with clues and hints, I was finally able to guess Bubblebee.

Whereupon you selected a green Transformer and asked, “Who is this?”

I have no idea. I’m sure your father would have no difficulty with this quiz; however, it’s beyond Grandfather’s competence. After all, father has a room dedicated to Transformers; do you see any in my apartment?

Asking me questions about Transformers compares favorably with my asking you the name of Roy Rogers’ horse. You have grown up with Transformers. I grew up with westerns on television — Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Wild Bill Hickok, Maverick, Sugerfoot, Bronco, F Troop — and at the movies — Gene Autry and John Wayne — and, sometimes, visits by my western heroes at the Ohio State Fair.



P.S. Incidentally, Roy Rogers rode a palomino named Trigger.

Notes to Grandchildren – March 9, 2021 (Reading)

12 May

Dear Grandson,

I am impressed. Usually when we travel you want my phone to the Avengers game. After all, you are on level 46 and have acquired 27 characters. Frankly, I have no idea what that means, but from the tone of your voice I know it’s impressive.

Sometimes you become so engrossed with the game that the world goes by unrecognized. Did you know that the plastic caps were taken to the Fairgrounds for the Hare Raisers 4-H Club? Did you know that the boxes were delivered to the cardboard dumpster at Birchaven? I suspect not.

However, after your haircut with Sarah at the Barbershop on Main, we went to the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library. The children’s librarian had some suggested titles for you. There were a couple of books about dragons and another about the volcanic eruption on Mount St. Helens. You found some Dogman books as well.

You left the library with an eclectic collection.

As we continued our errands, instead of playing the Avengers game, you were reading. OUTSTANDING!



P.S. I want to know about smuggling dragons across London.

Notes to Grandchildren – March 8, 2021 (Be Thankful)

11 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Cherish what you have.

Be thankful.

The one with the most toys isn’t rewarded.

What have you done?

How is the world better because of you?

Do those cardinal virtues guide your life?

It only takes one person.

Change comes one-on-one.

Change arrives with a whisper and not an explosion.

Actions and attitude foster change.

You have have no greater role model than Melanie Korach (@melanie_korach on Twitter). She began the Starfish Club — we can do our part to make a difference one person at a time — in 2017.

Be thankful but continue working to make this world a better place. The task never ends.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 7, 2021 (Crazy)

10 May

Dear Grandchildren,

Has the world gone crazy?

While channel surfing I came across a news program (not an infomercial) that was interviewing a member of Birds Aren’t Real. Apparently, this organization believes that birds have been eradicated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and replaced with surveillance drones that monitor our behavior and steal private information. Really?

I’ve read in the newspaper that some Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches are banning any exercise program involving yoga because yoga is fundamental to Hinduism and, therefore, incompatible with Christianity. Personally, I would like to see yoga and meditation taught in every school. The concept of life long fitness has long been neglected. (Honestly, I haven’t played battle ball since sophomore physical education class.) Meditation is a great way of addressing stress.

I heard on the nightly news that the Catholic church opposes the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because it is “morally compromised.” The allegation involves the claim that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine contains aborted fetal cells. This has been disproven.

On the brighter side, scientists have cloned the endangered black-footed ferret from an ancestor that lived 30 years ago. It is hoped that this is the first step in bringing the black-footed ferret back from the brink of extinction.

Oh my …. I still think the world is going crazy.



P.S. I’m pleased to hear that the young Miss is well following her adventure on the basement stairs.

Notes to Grandchildren – March 6, 2021 (Chocolate)

9 May

Dear Grandson,

Are you a slave to chocolate?

Last evening you wanted bread sticks and a chocolate chip cookie from Pizza Hut. I didn’t know that the chocolate chip cookie was larger than a personal pan pizza. Wow!

You ate the breadsticks and half the cookie last night. This morning you had chocolate chip pancakes and the other half of the cookie.

You also like the chocolate chip muffies and the brownies from Panera.

There’s chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone from Culver’s.

Your favorite at Coldstone Creamery is dark chocolate with Kit Kats.

Chocolate appears in every one of your favorites.

I wonder if chocolate covered broccoli would be a success. Frankly, I doubt it.

Don’t yield your freedom to chocolate.

Remember that moderation is a cardinal virtue.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 5, 2021 (Chess)

8 May

Dear Grandson,

Thank you for exploring the world of chess with me. We’re both learning. I’m sure that you’ll soon be defeating me with regularity.

Remember chess sets are all the same. It makes no difference whether it’s a travel set like I have or one with figures from the Lord of the Rings or Jurassic Park or, as was being marketed last summer, with characters to parody the presidential campaign.

The pieces move the same despite the image portrayed.

I’ve started to study some classic games. There are 600 games in Lázzló Polgár’s Chess. I need to keep my mind sharp.

Mother had dementia. It scares me. Consequently, I explore avenues to create new pathways in the brain and build new synapses among the neurons. I want to keep my wits about me.

I hope you will continue to play chess with me.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 4, 2021 (Slavery)

7 May

Dear Grandchildren,

No slavery is more disgraceful than one which is self-imposed.


Everyone has given up their freedom for something.

For my father it was farming. Farming was his world. He would go on vacation to visit farms.

For my great aunt it was religion. She wanted to convert the world to her version of Christianity and to her church in particular. She would write these Christmas missives extolling the virtues of forgiveness with an ample helping of damnation, fire, and brimstone.

For my neighbor it’s friends. My friend craves daily contact with others. Without daily contact her grip on reality slips away. During the COVID-19 pandemic my friend always found a reason to go, often sans mask, and be with others. I have often mentioned that should a spaghetti dinner be desired that it would require at least a trip to the grocery to each component of the meal.

For a former administrator it was the power of the position and family. The administrator used the position to change course titles in order so that the administrator’s children could receive more PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Option) course credit from a four-year institution.

For some friends and family it was drugs:

  • tobacco
  • morphine
  • alcohol
  • marijuana
  • uppers
  • downers
  • birth control
  • cocaine

Keep your freedom. Beware of becoming a slave to your desires, cravings, feelings, blind ambition, leisure. Maintain balance. Seek moderation in all things.



Notes to Grandchildren – March 3, 2021 (World View)

6 May

Dear Grandchildren,

These things don’t go together. You must be a unified human being, either good or bad. You must diligently work either on your own reasoning or on things out of your control — take care with the inside and not what’s outside which is to say, stand with the philosopher, or else with the mob!

Epictetus, Discourses, 3.15.13

Usually I don’t rewrite the daily Stoic quotation from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

However, this quotation struck me as especially important today.

I see the world becoming more and more polarized. Everything seems to be at the extremes. Where is the silent majority that President Nixon spoke about? Who speaks — or even listens — to those caught between the radicals?

Democracies and republics work best when compromise exists. In How to Read the Constitution and Why You Should, Kim Wehle suggests a former Speaker of the House pushed our legislature away from compromise and further down the path of polarization by discouraging any actions for which the opposing political party might garner credit. Thereafter compromise became a bad term.

The mob appears to be in control. Personality trumps ideas and concepts. Externals govern. It seems that our politicians lack character and drift with the prevailing wind and tide.

Stand with the philosopher. Let your actions portray your character as developed by following the cardinal virtues and your exercise of reasoned choice.



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