Photo by Matt Brown on iStock

DISCLAIMER AND WARNING: I'm a proud volleyball mom. Black knows this. And, I suspect, she tolerates it most of the time, although that's not to say she isn't proud of her youngest niece. But for those proud moms and dads out there, and those around you, you know we can sometimes over exaggerate our kid's accomplishments. (Wait, really? We do that?) Guess what. There may be something we're overlooking. Something many parents are overlooking …


So, Black and I are in the midst of updating this site with our 2020 monthly newspaper columns from earlier in the year and she sends me our March column, RED & BLACK … Leaders All Around Us, to proof. I hadn't read the column since it was initially published, and it's all about leadership and the skills that leaders possess which makes me think about my daughter, Sawyer. Yes, I think she has great technical skills as a setter. (Remember, I warned you about being a proud volleyball mom.) But re-reading the column made me realize that her skills as a leader is what distinguishes her and greatly contributes to her success, not just on the court but in life.

I'd be happy to bore you with examples, but Black would no doubt take out her electronic red pencil and delete it from this post. And right about now, I know she's thinking, "Is there a point to this post?" Well, it's this … leadership skills are all around us, including in our children. We love our kids so much that it's easy to get wrapped up in their tangible accomplishments. Or, sometimes we neglect to see that not all accomplishments are obvious. As one parent to another, I'm hoping that if you don't already see your kids as the leaders they may already be, that you think of them as the leaders they may have the ability to become.

Photo courtesy of Red


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I know that you’ve been involved with Make-A-Wish for decades, and it’s an amazing organization, but I’m not sure why you made such a big deal about the recent Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana chapter ’s dedication of its building. I appreciate that you were part of the planning group, but with all due respect, it’s just a building.

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I don’t expect you to remember that it all started in 1980 when Tommy Austin wanted to do something special for a young boy, Chris Greicius, who was battling leukemia and wanted to be a policeman. That wish became a reality and the start of The Make-A-Wish Foundation.


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That story has always inspired me as it makes you realize the difference that just one person can make. But the building wasn’t named after Chris or Tommy, so I’m still confused.
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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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