Learning Spaces

LearningSpaces

“The roots of education are bitter, the fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle How could a 15-year-old girl be considered a threat to the Taliban? On October 9, 2012, in the Swat valley of northwestern Pakistan, a gunman stepped onto a bus in which Malala Yousafzai was returning home from school and shot her in the head. Not because of religious, ethnic or social differences; but because she was an outspoken advocate for education. At just 11 years of age she had spoken out against the Taliban edict forbidding girls to be educated. She gave a talk entitled, “How dare the … Continue reading

Healing From Abuse: Light Encourages Recovery

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In 2015 as the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis was hosting festive events to celebrate its 50th anniversary, a smaller, quieter happening began to ripple through the CTC alumni community. No fanfare, no hype, but to those involved, of greater celebratory significance. Thirty-one years had passed since the 1984 arrest of John Clark Donahue, the theater’s co-founder, and several other staff members on child sexual abuse charges. Donahue spent ten months in the Hennepin County workhouse; the other cases were dismissed or settled out-of-court. In May 1991 the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a thoroughly-researched twopart feature by reporter Kay … Continue reading

From Mozart to Motown Music Reignites Memory

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“Music is my sanctuary. Music kept me alive.” Sir Elton John, in a recent CBS News profile, could have been speaking for all of us. But most of us are more likely to take music for granted because, well, it’s just always there. Natalie Angier, in a February 8, 2016 New York Times article, wrote, “We marry to music, graduate to music, mourn to music.” In other words, music is a fundamental part of our lives and has always been, as evidenced by the archaeological finding of carved bone flutes dating back bout 40,000 years. Our immigrant ancestors carried rudimentary … Continue reading

Good Health. If it’s so easy, why is it so hard?

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“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford In 2009 Rip Esselstyn published The Engine 2 Diet – The Texas Firefighter’s 28-day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. He had followed a plant-based diet most of his life and credits it with giving him the necessary strength and stamina to be a successful world-class triathlete and later a firefighter. His Engine 2 Diet is the result of his offer – and promise – to help a fellow firefighter lower a dangerously high cholesterol level. The dramatic results prompted him to … Continue reading

Homeless for the Holidays

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On a cold December evening in 1962, I was walking home along Nicollet Avenue enjoying the elaborate holiday displays when I saw a man leaning against a store window. His wellworn wool coat was fully buttoned against the cold air and one boot was slit open to accommodate a bandaged foot. He held pencils in one hand and a metal cup in the other. I put a dollar into the cup and accepted a pencil. He spoke softly, something I couldn’t make out. I leaned in and asked, “What was that?” Louder he said, “Thank you; God bless you.” I … Continue reading

From Illinois to the Caribbean – Treatment Centers Evolve

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1879. Dr. Leslie Keeley, who had studied alcoholic soldiers while serving as a Union Army surgeon, founded the Keeley Institute in a small wood frame building in Dwight, Illinois. He claimed his new discovery, Double Chloride of Gold Remedies, to be administered by four daily injections, would cure “inebriety, tobaccoism and neurasthenia.” Many cures were promoted toward the end of the 19th century as the country moved toward prohibition. None was as famous – or controversial – as Dr. Keeley’s “gold remedy.” It is believed that more than half a million alcoholics and addicts took the Keeley Cure between 1880 … Continue reading

Ante Up! All In For Life’s Games

Eleanor Leonard

“You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people.” ~ Will Rogers Gambling. What comes to mind? An iconic movie scene? Maybe Daniel Craig’s James Bond staring unflinchingly across the poker table at the villain before Bond’s straight flush wins him $115 million. Perhaps the roulette table at Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca? Or animated characters in Toy Story 3 placing bets around a Fisher-Price See ‘N Say toy? Or the Enterprise crew playing poker in Star Trek: The Next Generation? Movies have portrayed gambling scenarios from elegant to seedy since … Continue reading

Don’t Just Stand There – Do Nothing!

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“He does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman lawyer and statesman; 1st century BC The letter confirming the August 1986 10-day retreat in California’s high-Mojave Desert contained the usual details about weather, suitable clothing, facility, housing, and this: “During the conference, there will be no television, radio or newspapers. Office telephone is for emergency use only. Please ensure that all matters at home – family, pets, job, etc. – will be taken care of during your absence so that you can devote full attention to the … Continue reading

create art! make music! explore!

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create art!  make music!  explore! It was the holiday season, my day off, and I was up to my eyeballs with things to do. So when my daughter phoned inviting me to make baked dough ornaments, I thought I just don’t have the time. But I really wanted to spend time with her so I happily put tasks on hold. I figured we’d hang out together, make a few ornaments and I’d get back to my to-do list. I arrived to a warm, sunny kitchen where she and a friend already had the first pan out of the oven displaying … Continue reading

Health Beyond the Numbers

Mahatma Gandhi said: “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” He was voicing ancient wisdom that goes as far back as the first century BC when the Roman poet, Virgil, wrote: “The greatest wealth is health.” Today we say, “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything.” We seem to want good health. The majority of New Year’s resolutions center on the physical body: exercise more, quit smoking, eat better. Fitness clubs offer state-of-the-art equipment; television commercials hawk quick and easy weight loss plans, in-home exercise paraphernalia and plastic-encased ready-to- eat meals. We … Continue reading