Do you want to teach your children to understand different perspectives or points of view?

Here is a great lesson for kids ages 10-12 and up.  Why such age range?  It depends on the maturity and the development of the kid.

 First, let’s discuss what is point of view?

Point of view shows us the opinion, or feelings of the individuals involved in a situation.

In literature, point of view is the mode of narration that an author employs to let the readers “hear” and “see” what takes place in a story, poem, etc. (

First person point of view is when the author uses pronouns such as, “I” or “We”.

The use of first person point of view gives us a glimpse into the real inner feelings of frustration of the character/speaker. (


Let’s analyze Langston Hughes’ point of view in his poem, “I, Too.”


I, Too

Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967


I, too, sing America.


I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.



I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”




They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—


I, too, am America.


Questions for discussion: 


  1. What are the inner feelings or frustrations presented?
  2. How does he hope to resolve his frustrations?
  3. What does this tell you about Langston Hughes’ character?
  4. How does the author sound overall in the poem? Select all that apply.
  • Hopeful
  • Angry
  • Trusting
  • Sad
  • Disgusted
  • Anticipating
  • Envious
  • Shameful
  • Fearful
  • Confused
  • Hurt
  • Uncertain
  • Doubtful
  • Confident
  1. What is Langston Hughes’ overall point of view in his poem, I, Too?
  2. How might the author’s point of view affect the content of author’s writing? Based on his point of view, what kind of things does he speak about and write about?
  3. How might the author’s point of view further affect his/her writing, thoughts and actions?


Happy Learning and Succeeding!

What can happen if you go against the world?

Emily Dickinson is a poet whose work was discovered and published after her death.  She wrote incredibly powerful poetry that spoke of what she felt and wondered.


Here is an example of such poem.  Her poems are numbered because there were no titles for them.  Sometimes the first line is used as a title.



I took my Power in my Hand—
And went against the World—
‘Twas not so much as David—had—
But I—was twice as bold—

I aimed by Pebble—but Myself
Was all the one that fell—
Was it Goliath—was too large—
Or was myself—too small?

–Emily Dickinson

I find this poem to be incredibly interesting and thoughtful.  It seems that she is wondering about the make-up of the world and her role in it.  She acknowledges that she is bold and strong, but when she goes against the world, she feels defeated.

Can a person go against the world rules?

Or can a person play God?  If he or she does what happens?

Who is in charge?

If a person does try to play God and doesn’t succeed does that make him worthless or not worthy of value or love?

At what point do we have free will and at what point it is God’s will?

What is a person’s role in this world?  What is the person’s purpose or duty?


This is my interpretation of the poem.


What is yours?

If you feel like you can’t interpret as you read, what questions come up for you as you read this?  What do you find interesting? Confusing?

What does this poem mean to you?

Teaching positive thinking through gentle practice

The boy walked out of the house at near tears but holding himself strong to not falter and cry of what was deeply hurting him at the moment.  His mother sensed him, completely.  She knew what was wrong and she was beginning to get really upset.

The mother walked into the car and said to the older woman, “no matter how much good one may do, it is still not enough.”

“What are you referring to?” said the older woman.

“This boy,” answered the mother.

“Stay calm,” proclaimed the older woman and greeted the boy with joy.

The mother then asked the boy, “What’s the matter?”  The boy refused to speak or say anything.  He simply proclaimed that he was well.  The mother kept probing.  The father driving the car finally said, “He is upset that he couldn’t go to out with his friends, ok.  Enough.”

The mother began to boil inside.  “No matter how much I may do and give to this boy it is just never enough.  He only sees what he didn’t have or didn’t get or wasn’t allowed to do.  Why is he so oblivious to all the good around him?” she consistently pondered.

Then through some miracle, the mother managed to calm down and just ask the boy, “Tell me about how you spend your sleepover.  Tell me all the wonderful things you go to do.”

The boy told her all about his day and as he spoke about all the fun things he got to do, his face turned brighter and the tears he was fighting to hold back, disappeared.

An hour later when they got home and started to eat dinner, the boy asked, “Mom, can you tell me one of your life lesson stories please?”

At that moment the mother learned one of her very own important life lessons.  She learned that if she wants to teach her kid to see the good she has to show him how to do it in a gentle and never forceful manner.  Gentle manner means through gentle conversation that leads the boy in the positive thinking direction.


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My favorite memoir (with questions for discussion)

Memoirs and historical fiction books are a great way to teach our children history and make history more meaningful to them.

Check out some really interesting memoirs and historical fiction books for your kids this week from the library. You may ask me or a librarian for help.


One of my all time favorite memoirs is Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary-Ordinary Family and Me.

If you have a kid who is over the age of 12, have him/her read it.

It’s a well written and an inspiring story of how a family and a community strive to elevate their lives despite their dire circumstances. They teach their children and students to be better, “twice as good,” and not fall victim to their circumstances. These lessons are extraordinary for life and for the well being of mankind.

I urge you to read this book together with your child(ren) and discuss.

Here are questions to help you discuss the first seven chapters of the book.

How did Condoleezza’s mom come up with her name?  Why did her mom choose such a name?  (Ch. 1)

Why does Condoleeza say that her father became a feminist after she was born?  What does she mean by that?  (Ch. 1)

How do Condoleezza’s parents try to give her a head start in life? (Ch. 2)

What was her parent’s belief about education and how did it could help blacks?  (Ch. 2)

What was the story that Condoleezza shared about her Grandaddy Ray and “The Old Man Wheeler?”  (Ch. 3)

What point does Condoleezza make about the lives of blacks and whites in chapter 3?

What were Grandaddy’s Rice important life values?  What did he lead and organize? (Ch. 4)

What kind of work did Condoleezza’s parents do? (Ch. 5)

What is the story she shares about when her father and uncle got stuck?  What do we learn about how blacks were treated through that story?  (Ch. 5)

How does her father get registered to vote?  Why was it easier for her mom to be registered to vote than her father?  (Ch. 5)

Where did Condoleezza’s parents work before they got married?  Where did they work after?  What had to change and what changed?  (Ch. 6)

At the end of Chapter 6, Condoleezza writes, “It is as if through them he had passed on to me the gift of transformation through education that he himself earned in the hardest of times and against very long odds.”  What does she mean here and what is she referring to?

What was Condoleezza’s mother determined to teach her?  Ch. 7

What does Condoleezza say about TV watching when she was a kid?  Ch. 7



Happy Learning & Succeeding!  I will post more questions on chapters 8-15 next week.

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Hopeless Wisdom

If you grew up in the 90s then you were probably a fan of Coolio’s song from the movie Dangerous Minds, Gansta’s Paradise.  I remember being really drawn to that song as a teenager.  It gripped me as I was wondering about my own life and how it would turn out to be.  Would there be hope for my dreams and aspirations?  Or would I be stuck in a rut and live in nothingness?

The chorus sings, “tell me why are we so blind to see that the ones we hurt are you and me.”

The answer is simple.  It’s because there isn’t much opportunity for personal development.  Additionally, there isn’t much access to information that allows for personal development and growth.”  In the last verse of the song, it even acknowledges that,

“They say I’ve got to learn but nobody’s here to teach me
If they can’t understand it, how can they reach me
I guess they can’t
I guess they won’t
I guess they front
That’s why I know my life is out of luck fool”

Let’s not fall into this hopeless wisdom because it has the potential to kill us.  Know that hopeful wisdom exists.

It exists through books/movies/videos produced by:

Mitch Albom.  Some of his books are also movies.

Brene Brown.  She has books, videos on TED Talk and a blog

Gretchen Rubin.  She has books, a blog, podcast and many videos on youtube.

Marie Forleo.  She produces weekly free videos filled with a wealth of wisdom and practical information.

Louie Schwartzberg.  He produces videos that encompass the miraculous beauty of the nature around us.

Condoleeza Rice.  Her memoir are awe inspiring to help us not fall victim of dire circumstances.

Life is full of beauty.  Life is full of hope.  When we stick to hope we are brought closer and closer to actualizing our dreams and aspirations.  When we cling to hopelessness we move farther and farther away from our dreams.

We have the choice.  And in the words of Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in that movie, “we choose our choice.”


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What is Memorial Day?



Store sales

Day off from school

Day off from work

These are all very nice.  These speak to our physical parts.  Our souls may be yearning for attention as well.  To fulfill our souls, I’d like to ask the following questions:

What is it Memorial Day, really?

Why is it always on the last Monday of May?

What is the meaning of the holiday?

How and when did it start?

Why do we even celebrate it?

Considering the fact that we live in the time of very easy and quick access to information, all of my questions can be answered rather quickly through typing in the questions in google and then scrolling down to read for answers in the trusted sources.

Each one of us thirsts for knowledge and understanding.

Pursuing intelligence is a beautiful thing and every single one of us deserves it and can do it.

Here are some sources that can help bring knowledge and meaning into celebrating Memorial Day this year and every year to come. website explains the definition of the holiday, when it started, when it became the last Monday of May and how it was also known as Decoration Day and why.  Here is the link:

If you want to watch a video instead, here is the link:

An article from Time for Kids explains the meaning of the holiday and the things we can do to make the holiday celebration wholesome and meaningful for ourselves and our families.  Here is the link:

If you ever confused the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, here is an article from Washington Post that explains the difference.

Finally, here is an article from CNN that explains all the different things we need to know as we celebrate the pleasures and the meaning of this holiday.


Have a beautiful, knowledge filled, meaningful and joyous Memorial Day celebration.

Happy Learning & Succeeding!

26 May 2016, 12:01pm
Veracity Talks

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What is Tehillim (Psalms)?

“Would you like to read Tehillim?

Would you like to join our Tehillim reading group?

This woman arranged to read Tehillim while on the trip with a group of people.

We would like to read Tehillim because so and so is very sick.”

Ava often heard these questions and statements and wondered what Tehillim actually is and why people speak of it in such awe.

She then asked a religious woman from Monsey, NY.

“What is Tehillim?”

This woman answered, “It’s great to read Tehilim for women because it’s okay to be interrupted while reading it.  However, when reading a prayer then interruptions aren’t good.”  That didn’t really answer Ava’s question.

Then Ava asked a secular older man who proudly proclaimed that he grew up with a religious father, “What is Tehillim?”

This man answered, “I watched my father read Tehillim all night long praying for those who weren’t well.”  That didn’t answer Ava’s question either.

Later Ava asked a group of women where some were religious and others not so much, “What is Tehillim?”

None of them answered.  This group was online and Ava was a bit upset that no one responded.  Yet she still decided to judge them favorably.

Months passed by.  Ava continued to hear about people reading Tehillim and participating in Tehillim reading groups.  She still wondered what the point of Tehilim was and why this seemed of such importance.

Then one sunny afternoon Ava went to visit some friends.  The host, who was a middle aged man with great devotion and love towards religion and holy scriptures, zealously started to read off, “Praise worthy is the man who walked not in the counsel of the wicked, and stood not in the path of the sinful, and sat not in the session of scorners.  But his desire is in the Torah of Hashem, and in His Torah he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree deeply rooted alongside brooks of water that yields its fruit in due season and whole leaf never withers, and everything that he does will succeed.  Not so the wicked; rather they are like the chaff that the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked shall not be vindicated in judgment, nor the sinful in the assembly of the righteous—for Hashem attends the way of the righteous, while the way of the wicked will perish.”

Ava was astounded.  She was further mesmerized by such beautiful wisdom.

“This is Tehilim?” she asked.

“Yes, it’s the first one,” answered this middle aged man.

“I never knew that Tehillim words were filled with such wisdom.  It’s essentially telling us how to believe in God, be closer to God and practice positive thinking through life’s ups and downs,” Ava thought to herself.

Ava relished in this new found information.  The next day she purchased a Tehillim book with translation and began to read one passage per day.  She filled her mind with goodness, love, productivity and focus in the direction of abundance, peace and meaning.


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What do you and your preteen/teen have in common?

After age 12, the child begins to spend more time with his friends and is now able to take the bus and walk outside on his own.  This can create some kind of distance between the child and the parent.

Here is the good news.  You as a parent and your preteen/teenage kid have a lot in common.  A lot!

What does your preteen/teen wonder about?

He or she wonders about:

  • What will I be when I grow up?
  • What kind of life will I live when I grow up?
  • Will the world ever end?
  • Will I be a successful person?

Interestingly, you also wondered similar things when you were a teen.  Today you may be wondering the same thing about your kid.

Believe that your child will be good.  Believe that all will be well with the world.  Believe that your child will grow up to be a success and that his/her life will turn out very well.

We can’t foretell the future.  But we can pray.  We can ask the greater force above us for whatever it is that we want to make happen.

Believe.  Pray. And then pray some more.

Happy Learning and Succeeding!


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This doesn’t get too many likes or shares; and that’s okay.

I’ve always loved drawing and arts and crafts.  Always.  As a kid I engaged in a lot of artistic activities.  Sewing.  Drawing.  Making things.

Then I grew up and stopped for awhile.  A long while.  Over a decade.

After realizing that it’s important to spend our free time well, I decided to make 20-30 minutes per week for drawing and painting.  I am not a professional.  I didn’t take professional classes or earn degrees in fine art.  And that’s totally cool because that’s not the point.

The point is to just do something in my free time that soothes my soul and puts it to dance.

I post my finished works on fb and share with others.  These don’t get thousands of likes on facebook and don’t sell for thousands of dollars at galleries.  And I am totally ok with that.  My goal isn’t to make money or become famous through my art work.  My goal is just to share something that I love and enjoy to do with the world.  I am also totally okay with it because when I draw or paint my heart sings.  And that’s a feeling I don’t want to give up again.  :)

Here are some pics of what I recently made:

Hearts Flowers The Home


How do you like to spend your free time?  Does your heart sing from what you do in your free time?


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Happy Learning and Succeeding!

2 strategies to promote productivity

If technology, such as computer, phone, internet and social media are the elements that kill your productivity and force you to waste your time then this is an article for you.

You will not become immediately productive after reading these two strategies.  You will become productive if you practice these strategies throughout the day, every day for the next 3-4 weeks.  This means that it will take time to train your mind to take charge and enhance productivity.

Strategy 1:

Remember that you are in charge.  Now, stay in charge.  You are in charge of your technology, your computer, your phone, your social media, your internet browsing.  You are in charge.  Before you even log in or open up that browser or tap on that app, remind yourself of the purpose.  Train yourself to keep the purpose in mind.  Fulfill the purpose and then get out.  Sometimes the purpose may be just fun entertainment.  Go for it.  Allocate set amount of time and go.  Then once the time is up, stop.  If the goal is to check something in particular, check, and then, get out.  This requires for you to keep your purpose in mind constantly and to train your mind to use technology in a way that is productive for you and only you.  Remember that with or without all this technology you can and you will live well.  Sometimes we feel that we have to see this and read this and read that and check one more and one more to know more or else will miss out and be left with nothing.  Not true.  You are good and you are wholesome.  Technology is not in charge.  Technology doesn’t determine your life or your happiness.  The greater force above us does.  Then you do.  That’s it.

Strategy 2:

Understand and acknowledge that your computer, your phone, your social media, your internet browsing can be a source of interruption.  A big interruption.  We may really just not believe that these things are a source of interruption.  We may perceive all these to be just innocent, no big deal check-ins.  NO!

Imagine you are working in your home office and your kid walks in asking for something and then something else.  That’s interruption, right?  Or if your friend/mother/mother in law calls and starts asking some stuff while you are working, that’s interruption too.  Or a chatty co-workers comes by to your desk and starts talking about her cutest children or mean husband, that’s an interruption.  Certainly, you love your kids, your friend, your mother/mother in law.  You may also love your co-worker.  However, there is time for the people you love in your life and then there is time for work.  It’s the same thing with social media and internet browsing.  Train your mind to understand that all these extra tech stuff we have now are all a source of interruption and constantly be aware of that.  Yes, you may love all these social media apps and internet browsing and they are all great.  There are times when the things that we love and can’t be without can also be a big source of interruption for us.  This understanding will help you shut down interruption when needed and sky-rocket your productivity.

Enjoy the hours of productivity about to come your way through practicing these two strategies.

Happy Learning and Succeeding!

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