Wisdom for Life in the New Year

As I travel in diverse circles from day to day, I pick up tidbits of wisdom from various voices, whether from speeches, conversations or even something I may have read. Approaching 2015, I’ll take a moment now to reflect and share a few recent quotes for what I call “wisdom for life in the new year.” The first quote comes from the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. as he eulogized former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dec. 6. He said: “When champions …

One Man’s Secret to Playing a Great Santa

Edward Lacy, 56, has a secret identity. Once a year, Lacy transforms into a superhero more powerful than Superman and Batman combined. Without a cape or Batmobile, he flies around the globe in 24 hours, squeezes down chimneys and visits every child in the world. Yes, Lacy is Santa Claus for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Virginia. The rest of the year he’s the authority’s ombudsman. A week before Christmas, I play elf to Lacy’s jolly St. Nick …

’Tis the Season to Eat Wisely

Macaroni and cheese, candied yams, salty hams and tons of sugary desserts. These are just a few of the temptations between Thanksgiving and Christmas that could cause us to literally eat ourselves to death! Seriously. But, there is hope for us all. Although November is traditionally observed as National Diabetes Month and even National Family Week at the end, let’s carry wise, life-giving habits into December and throughout the years ahead. >> High-Calorie Foods That Are Good for Your Health Heart …

Why Delivering Meals On Wheels Gives So Much More

“I love to eat,” says Tom Irvin, 85, as we loaded up his Toyota with the day’s Meals On Wheels deliveries. “I know how important food is.” So when a neighbor asked Irvin to join her on a Meals On Wheels delivery seven years ago, it was a perfect fit to him. Today, he distributes hot and cold meals several times a week as one of the 250 volunteers with Senior Services of Alexandria. “This is my way of giving …

Why Civil Rights Vets Keep Pressing On

The first in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The civil rights struggles of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s were largely led by youth and college students, many who were members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or the NAACP Student Council. Now in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, some view their civil rights mission as a life’s work with no retirement in the plan. “I still have an interest in my people, …

Talents Can Transform Your Life and the World

In the movie A Bronx Tale, Robert De Niro plays a father who declares that wasted talent is “the saddest thing in life.” Those words ring true for me on a lot of levels. As an economist I view older Americans as an undervalued asset, too often denied the chance to use talents honed over a lifetime. As a policy wonk and advocate, I look for strategies that can help people live rewarding lives and that remove obstacles in their …