WNIJ Perspectives

Perspective: In Defense Of Prayer

Oct 16, 2019
Myriam Zilles / Pixabay

Lately, I’ve heard people mock the idea of thoughts and prayers in the wake of a tragedy, but I have seen the power of these prayers. Jesus says we’re supposed to bug God with our requests, and that we can ask him for anything. I have prayed for friends and seen their marriages healed. I have seen daughters take an interest in faith. I have found joy again.

Perspective: A Walk In The Moonshadows

Oct 15, 2019

Perspectives author Elsa Glover occasionally recruits fellow teachers or students to take over her regular slot in the schedule and share their opinions with WNIJ listeners. Today, we hear from Kaneland High School English teacher Mallory Sunday.

Perspective: The Death Of Small Family Farms

Oct 14, 2019
James Baltz / Unsplash

"In America, the big get bigger and the small go out," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Perdue made these comments at the World Dairy Expo in Madison Wisconsin, which touts itself as America's Dairyland and has lost 551 dairy farms in 2019 and a total of 1,654 dairy farms lost since January of 2017. More than one farm a day for the last three years. It has become so serious that Wisconsin’s legislature's finance committee voted unanimously last month to spend an additional $200,000 to help struggling farmers deal with depression and mental health problems.

Perspective: A Practical Education

Oct 11, 2019

Over two years ago, I spoke in a Perspective about ways university degrees grounded in the liberal arts were denigrated in some loud quarters as impractical.  It’s true that the cost of higher education in the United States, which has risen by 400% since the 80’s, must be fixed. It’s also true that as preparation for a particular job, vocational training is useful.

Perspective: Fail Your Way To Success

Oct 10, 2019
Rawpixel / Pixabay.com

Forty years ago, John Wayne showed the world what “True Grit” looked like. Grit is all about passion and perseverance as we work towards goals that matter -- even in the face of delays, setbacks, obstacles, and barriers. 


StockSnap / Pixabay

Good morning, America. Seriously, is it alright for the President of the United States to make a quid pro quo deal for personal gain -- leveraging desperately needed military funds to a nation in the middle of a war to investigate a political rival? Would you feel that way for all presidents? Republicans have struggled to answer this question. They’ve been tying themselves into knots, casting doubt on everyone from whistleblowers to our intelligence community, asking no questions of the president’s questionable behavior and tactics.

Perspective: Stick Shifts And Swear Words

Oct 8, 2019
Alok Sharma / Unsplash and Pixlr

Growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania, there was only one time I recall using a serious swear word in front of my parents: learning to drive a stick shift in our white 1972 VW Beetle. 


Perspective: Hyperpartisanship Is Killing Us

Oct 7, 2019
Rubern Gal / Pixabay

We have warned previously of the danger of hyperpartisanship. The parties are widely and bitterly divided, resembling enraged partisans standing on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon mindlessly hurling imprecations at each other. Now conditions have deteriorated even further.

Perspective: She Has Done Her Homework

Oct 4, 2019
European Parliament (edited with Pixlr)

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old who spoke recently at the United Nations summit on climate change, couldn’t hide her sadness and frustration. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction,” she said, “and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales about eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Some people say that she is too emotional about all this. But maybe they should listen to her speeches to the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress -- and think again.

Perspective: Unsupervised!

Oct 3, 2019
Sasin Tipchai / Pixabay

Pull the ball and it would land in the neighbor’s backyard. During street football, the braver ones among us would take to the small strip of grass between sidewalk and street where for a brief moment, tackle, not touch, was the rule. In fact, we made our own rules.

Get knocked down by your friend’s older brother? Fall into the snowbank going for a layup, only to have your face nudged further into the snow? Whatever the issue, the last thing we would ever think to do would be to tell our parents. That would be an invasion of our privacy. This was our world. Our time.

Havilah Galaxy / Unsplash

Lisa Randall is a science professor at Harvard.

Physics. Dark matter. Stuff like that.

I’m currently interested in what she discovered from a big hole in Oxford Street, a street on campus that was shut down for repairs. Most folks would see the closing of a street as a nuisance. Not so for Lisa Randall. She discovered something positive.

She saw the street turn into another walkway for the campus. It actually brought people together. And then she thought that’s what more cities should do.

Perspective: Wanted. Dead Or Alive.

Oct 1, 2019
Andea Ferrario / Unsplash

“Sure,” I said after my friend asked me to watch her plants while she’s out of town for three weeks. I felt I could handle the job because I’ve kept an orchid and a jade plant alive for 10 years. I figured the little pine tree and the amaryllis plant would be a snap. They didn’t look menacing.

Perspective: Past Time To Do The Right Thing

Sep 30, 2019
Edward Lich/Pixabay


Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee’s 1989 film, has been rolling around in my thoughts of late. And when I heard historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jon Meacham, at Aurora University a few weeks ago, he used that -- a look at our present moment through the lens of history, reminding us of previous times of division and fear. 

Perspective: Maybe It's A Choice

Sep 27, 2019
Arek Socha / Pixabay

According to scientific studies, no single gene can be found to account for it.  But in the spirit of openness and tolerance, I do my best to accept those with it.

It seems to be found in every culture, every ethnic group, and has been referenced in ancient literature, including the Bible.  Could it possibly be caused by multiple genes, biological influences, or epigenetic factors?  One thing is certain--I am determined to accept those affected by it, even if it is a choice.

Perspective: All In For Medicare For All

Sep 26, 2019
Steve Buissinne / Pixabay

Democratic presidential candidates offer two broad approaches to fixing our health care problems: a public option, where we have the ability to buy into Medicare, or Medicare for All, a broader approach in which all Americans are covered by an expanded Medicare plan. There are several factors to consider when evaluating these choices.

In regards to universal coverage, some public option plans achieve this, but some don't. Medicare for All encompasses all of us.

Perspective: A Not-So-Bright Plan

Sep 25, 2019
KS KYUNG / Unsplash

I’m writing and recording this perspective in my home office that is illuminated with five LED light bulbs. In fact, save for one, every single light source in my house and garage comes from an LED bulb.

Perspective: The Insomniac And The Rainstorm

Sep 24, 2019
Pete Linforth / Pixabay

Rain. My word. And thunderbolts split the sky. Of late these storms ride at night, when I’m wide awake. Power flashes and the black dog cowers. Worry. Gutters overflow. The basement pools. My friend Mike says night rain makes him drool. Better than some pill.

Perspective: Racing Into The Future

Sep 23, 2019
Google search

For about a year now I have been obsessed with the stock photographs that accompany tech stories, especially news stories about automation and robots.  


Perspective: One Step At A Time

Sep 20, 2019
Jonathan Kemper / Unsplash

Walking early evening as shades of pink and blue soak up the sky, a sadness creeps over me as I reflect on passages from “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari.

"For thousands of years Homo sapiens behaved as an ecological serial killer; now it is morphing into an ecological mass murderer. If we continue with our present course, it will not just cause the annihilation of a large percentage of all life-forms but also might sap the foundation of human civilization.”

Perspective: Finding Joy In These Times

Sep 19, 2019
Lidya Nada / Unsplash

Lately my Perspectives pieces have doubled down on serious matters concerning “our shadow side,” and “contagious anxiety.” While important subjects, it’s time for a little lightness. 

Perspective: Taking A Stand For LGBTQ History

Sep 17, 2019

Earlier this year the state of Illinois joined California, Colorado, Oregon, and New Jersey when it passed Inclusive Curriculum legislation, which allows LGBT History in Public School Education. The purpose of this law is to ensure that the contributions of members of this often marginalized community would be included in the history curriculum. Needless to say the reaction from people has been mixed.

Perspective: Do Something

Sep 16, 2019
samuelnabi / CC by 2.0

No matter how powerful I feel in my daily life, or how strong and thriving my community seems to be, seeing another news report of a mass shooting roll across the screen makes my heart skip a beat.

I feel powerless to stop the tide of this trend where people unleash their anger in violence as a statement to the world.

I think about what lies ahead for us as a nation, and I wonder if it’s possible to move past this stage to a new season where people choose to respond thoughtfully to conflict instead of acting out of emotion.

Perspective: Yes, Ma'am

Sep 13, 2019
public domain

Some childhood terrors you never get over. When I was six years old on the playground of my little Central Texas grammar school, a teacher told me to be careful on the see-saw. I answered her “yes,” whereupon she glared at me and said, “From now on, Tommy, you are to say ‘yes, ma'am.” whereupon I did just that. The teacher was no ordinary pedagogue. This was Mrs. Barnett, the school principal. 

Perspective: Shedding Some Light

Sep 12, 2019
Pete Linforth / Pixabay

The Department of Energy’s website promotes the use of LED lightbulbs, pointing out that they last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. A helpful video explains that LED bulbs use only about 25% of the energy of the older bulbs. 


ChristianIS / Pixabay

After 45 years of research into environmental and climatic changes, I’m now more disturbed about our current situation and future than ever. The time for preventing global warming has gone -- we’ve waffled and procrastinated for so long, that now we’re left to mitigate, adapt and suffer. 


Perspective: Stuck In The Details

Sep 10, 2019
Art Institute of Chicago, photo by Elsa Glover


Perspective: First, Listen. Always.

Sep 9, 2019
Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

“First, shut up and listen.” 



“If people don’t ask for help leave them alone.”  

Perspective: Go Beyond The College Tour

Sep 6, 2019
youngmoneymag via Flickr / cc by 2.0

Once a decision is made to attend college, then subsequent choices  await. My daughter receives stacks of letters from colleges trying to entice her. Most of them tout benefits so similar that they become virtually indistinguishable.   


Perspective: Surviving The September Stresses

Sep 5, 2019
Sydney Rae / Unsplash

September has arrived and another new school year is underway for everyone -- from pre-school through graduate school. If you’re a student or a parent, it may seem that the number of hours in the day just shrank from twenty-four to “almost enough” or “not nearly enough,” depending on your workload.

Perspective: The Sound Of Silence

Sep 4, 2019
Robin Worrall / Unsplash

I have been in the college classroom long enough to notice the difference. When I was a TA thirty years ago, it was obligatory to quiet everyone down before commencing the day's discussion because all the students were chatting with each other.