Newsletter Number 100

The first of these newsletters, in a sense, took two and a half years to create. A savvy friend had suggested that my clients would enjoy and benefit from my stories of 34 years of teaching and working with special needs kids. "Just write up one story," he intoned. "Your old friends and clients will be happy to hear from you and besides, it'll be good for business." "Yes, but," I replied. "I have nothing of consequence to say, and anyway no one will read them." Even more important than what I said out loud was what I was saying to myself: "I. Can't. Get. The. Words. Out." So I sat in front of a blank computer screen, on and off, for two and a half years trying to write a 500 word essay. "I can't learn the software; I'm just an old math teacher, not an author" I told myself. "I can't." Of course my buddy was beyond right. While it took two and a half years for the first newsletter to appear, I am now able to produce a blog post in two and a half hours. And the writing is now a joy. There's no end to what I wish to communicate each Tuesday morning to the 5000 plus people on my list. Sure enough, I've had the pleasure of reconnecting with my trigonometry students--now in their 40s with families of their own--and business has never been better. Students whom I helped choose and apply to college a generation ago are now bringing me their children for help in the transition process. I'm certain that a number of these connections are directly attributable to my weekly postings. Just as gratifying as hearing from old students has been connecting with new friends. I have a colleague who runs the college admissions center in a San Francisco High School. As a result of our correspondence, we are now good friends. He has helped me with questions about my clients who want to apply to California schools and we've chatted about our careers and our families. If not for the blog, we wouldn't have grown close. The take away is simple and straight forward: Just keep trying. Something good will happen as long as you don't give up on yourself. Because the response to my essays has been overwhelming and positive, I get to further my agenda regarding healthy families. Let me sum up a hundred essays in a few sentences: Spend time together cleaning up after family meals; no alcohol, no drugs, no screens; give your kids everything they need, ignore most of the stuff they want; love your kids for who they are, not for what they do; get out there and do something and don't ever give up. That about covers it. So for the hundredth newsletter, my agenda is simple: I want to thank my readers. I know your in-box in crowded with information demanding your attention. I know you have a choice of what to read closely, what to skim, and what to delete. Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. Thank you for your support and thoughtful comments when you agree with what I've said. Thank you for jumping on my back when my assertions and advice are exaggerated, poorly explained, or just plain wrong. I look forward to sharing the next hundred newsletters with you. Warmly, ~D

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