Perspectives

Did you miss an essay from your favorite "Perspectives" writer? Want to hear it again? Scroll down to find a complete archive of our "Perspectives" essays. You'll find the most recent at the top.

To find out more about each writer, click on his or her name at the bottom of each entry.

If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, compose a piece that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 230 to 250 words, as counted by Microsoft Word -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu. Be sure to put "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Northern Public Radio invites you to comment on or respond to any Perspective in the comments section at the bottom of each article, in keeping with our Discussion Policy.

Perspective: Whose History?

55 minutes ago
Jessica Pamp / Unsplash

This month, The New York Times reported on divergent history textbooks in California and Texas schools. The same publisher caters to each region’s views: California’s says that rulings on the Second Amendment allowed for gun regulations. The Texas book doesn’t.

Perspective: Connection To Home

Jan 23, 2020
Pixabay

With all of the headlines vying for attention, the rising of Lake Michigan and the loss of the lakeshore is one I’m particularly disturbed to see.

I’m from the Piedmont region of North Carolina, midway between the mountains and the coast. Like some who grow up amid such natural beauty and geographic diversity, I never truly appreciated these unearned windfalls that are North Carolina birthrights.

Reed Scherer

 

It continues unabated. The past 5 years were the hottest on record -- again. Australia is on fire and ice is melting at both poles. Meanwhile, despite having solar panels and buying carbon offsets my carbon footprint is still awful. I recently returned from a luxury cruise to Antarctica, a far cry from my usual Antarctic research expedition.

Perspective: Allergic To Goals

Jan 21, 2020
TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

What’s your word for the year? Your dreams? How will you make them happen? It’s January. Many of us are plotting our year. Me? I get emotional hives thinking about this. Even “to do” lists make my pen itch. I leave no checkmarks. Weekly I write down goals from two years ago.

I can plan my day, then be distracted by a friend wanting to talk, an interesting article or three on Facebook. Bruce might want to go to town. The weather can demand a response that I wasn’t planning like “Sun’s out you should ride your horse, when I felt more like doing inside work.”

Dan Russo / Unsplash

International events this year will be shaped by nationalism; policies will pursue primarily narrow self interest.

Nationalism substitutes protectionism for globalization and free trade. It explains both Brexit and Boris Johnson. It rejects Obama's multilateralism for Trump's "America First." It drove the global shift from pro to anti immigration policies. It explains at least some of the assertive, even aggressive, foreign policies that have caused such seismic shocks.

Perspective: Some Gifts Unwrap The Heart

Jan 17, 2020
Lonny Cain

Mary Oliver was a gift. 

  

That is the simplest way to put it. 

  

Perspective: Don't Be Afraid To Take More Space

Jan 16, 2020
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

You know when you read something powerful, and it just sticks with you? Recently my sister, who teaches yoga, shared this important message: “you deserve to take up space, on and off the mat.”

Perspective: My Prayer For 2020

Jan 15, 2020
Javardh / Unsplash

 

 

Perspective: Be There For Each Other

Jan 14, 2020
Taylor Hernandez / Unsplash

Happy new year, listeners. Life can be challenging at times, but sometimes it is more than just feeling down. Depression is a common, serious, treatable mental health illness that affects 7% of adults and teens.

 

Depression is not simply a bad mood, but a chemically-based phenomenon that needs more than just a good ear or strong shoulder to cry on. Oftentimes friends and family do not know how to help a struggling loved one, typically assuming the problem is simply emotional, not chemical.

 

Perspective: Our Loss

Jan 13, 2020
Paula Garrett

Several decades ago, I was staying at my sister’s when her house caught fire, a harrowing experience that left a deep imprint. Now my adoptive country is an inferno, and I can’t fathom the news and what I'm hearing from my friends there. 

 

   

Perspective: We Can All Be Good Samaritans

Jan 10, 2020
Pixabay

The dictionary defines "sanctuary" as a place of worship, or a place of refuge and protection. Recently, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a mosque there became both.

When high school student Duaa Ahmad and her classmates evacuated their school after a threatening incident, she led them directly across the street to her mosque, where she quickly got the doors open and took refuge inside with the others.

As the students of all faiths entered, no one was subjected to a theological purity test. No one was barred as unworthy or kept from seeking shelter.

Perspective: Drop Everything And Read!

Jan 9, 2020
Iam Se7en / Unsplash

My son recently scolded me for the lack of D.E.A.R. in my life. It turns out that his elementary school has a program called Drop Everything And Read, when everyone in his class stops all activities to read for a set period of time. Apparently, I need to do the same.

Perspective: End Of An Era

Jan 8, 2020
Johnell Pannell / Unsplash

The holiday shopping is over and everyone is busy playing with their new toys. But what was remarkable about Christmas 2019 might have been the conspicuous absence of such toys.

Previous holiday seasons saw the introduction of impressive technological wonders -- tablet computers, the iPhone, Nintendo Wii and the X-box. But this year, there was no stand-out, got-to-have technological object.

Perspective: Lurking In The Last Wilderness

Jan 7, 2020
Chris Fink

On the night after Christmas, I was ice fishing on Carlin Lake near Presque Isle, what they call “Wisconsin’s Last Wilderness.” Part bored, and part cold, I gazed across the dark lake at the warm lights of the Carlin Lake Lodge. Ernest Hemingway and John Wayne had both lodged here back in the day, evidently. Imagine those two in the same room.

I noticed that I had a flag up on my tip-up. Finally. I knelt to set the hook.

Perspective: 2020 Is A Precipice Year

Jan 6, 2020
Pixabay

As I write this on the first day of 2020, I’m not certain that a “Happy New Year” is in order. This new year has a good chance of becoming what I would call a precipice year the same way that 1775, 1850, 1861, 1877, 1941 and 1968 were. If one reads enough history, one will soon learn that as a country we have not always done the right things. However, at least in the long run, right has prevailed over wrong. 

   

Perspective: The Cat's Approach To Play

Jan 3, 2020
Francisco Solares-Larrave

Cats play a lot. Experts say it's an activity that keeps their hunting instincts alive, but I disagree. In my experience, cat's play is a very serious endeavor, not a sport. Just pay attention to your feline companion.

Perspective: Patience And Passion

Jan 2, 2020
Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Embarking on a new year, I’d like to talk about “patience.” Webster defines patience as a “calm endurance,” “persevering,” or “calmly tolerating delay.” While these behaviors are helpful when obstacles threaten to sabotage a goal, I’d like to consider “patience” in a more positive, intentional, and interactive way. 

 

Perspective: A Warning From A Partisan

Jan 1, 2020
Pixabay/Pixlr

I am a partisan, in my politics and my theology, which means I must keep my mouth shut at thanksgiving dinners. I am partial to Democrats because I am partial to the Judeo-Christian tradition that proclaims God’s partiality toward the widow and the orphan, those dispossessed in our society.

But I have a confession to make. My partiality caused me to vote for Governor Rod Blagojevich two times. I am ashamed that I allowed him to fool me not once, but twice. It embarrasses me to admit that blind partisanship led me to ignore the signs of his corruption.

Perspective: Ready For 'Real ID?'

Dec 31, 2019
Kurious, Ag Ku / Pixabay, edited with Pixlr

A “Real ID” will be required in October 2020 to get into federal buildings, onto commercial aircraft, admitted to nuclear plants, and for any “official purpose” as defined and required by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Perspective: Cocktail Party Fodder

Dec 30, 2019
JJ Harrison, CC BY-SA 3.0 / (picsart)

Ah, the holidays are upon us. Time for parties and get-togethers. Time for laughter and love. 

 

Perspective: The Disillusionments Of Wikipedia

Dec 27, 2019
public domain

Not so long ago I went to YouTube and watched a few old Roy Rogers TV episodes. They brought back how much I, as a kid, admired Roy as a Western hero. In a single episode, he could sing three songs, ride his palomino at full gallop, beat up and capture a few bad guys, and still, his cowboy outfit yet looking resplendent, share a few jokes about Nellybelle, the cranky old jeep on the show. Not even Superman was that good. Superman never sang a note. 

Perspective: An Important Political Omission

Dec 26, 2019
Pixabay

At last Thursday’s Democratic debate Pete Buttigieg said something I hadn’t heard before. “I know you're only ever supposed to say middle class and not poor in politics,” he said, “but we've got to talk about poverty in this country.” 

 

Perspective: A Tradition Shines In Dark Times

Dec 24, 2019
insung-yoon / Unsplash

It’s Christmas Eve and my thoughts turn to tradition. December holds many cultural traditions that bring our lives meaning. My tradition comes from the Christmas Story.

When my children were young, we read the story about the shepherds. An angel visited the shepherds and said, “Do not be afraid.” What a strange thing for an angel to say.

Throughout the Christmas story, angels visit Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. Each time, their first words are “Do not be afraid.” It‘s important, my kids thought, because it’s repeated. Perhaps we have missed something important.

Pixabay/Pixlr

As I write this it is a cold clear night. It is also the night our President was impeached. A sad day for our Country regardless of your political view.  It has been a day of bitter bickering and angry politically based debating, a day of us versus them, which has left me feeling sad and anxious.

When you hear this it will be two days before Christmas. A time of year for being together, yet this year we as a Country, will be as divided as we have ever been.

Pixabay, Wikimedia, Unsplash

Think of ballet, literature, and Goya. What comes to mind? Elitist rhetoric regarding so-called “high art” is powerful. This reality lends force to "alternative," "protest," and "people's art" of all sorts. Tolstoy describes this dichotomy in "What is Art?" Ironically, the famous novelist came to believe that "high art” lacked “naturalness,” and he rejected most literary endeavors late in life. 

Perspective: Act Now To Prevent That Post-Holiday Letdown

Dec 19, 2019

This time of year, many of us are just hours away from the start of a delightfully long holiday break. Whether you’re gearing up to celebrate the holiday in a big way or just eagerly anticipating time away from the job, your attention-to-detail may already be flagging by now. 

 

Perspective: In Search Of Christmas Peace

Dec 18, 2019
Marnie O. Mamminga

“I haven’t found the peace of Christmas yet,” my mother announced one Christmas over 20 years ago. She was in her eighties and still full of vim and vigor, visiting me from Ohio. 

 

Perspective: The Gifts I Desire Today

Dec 17, 2019
Katie Andraski

The night before Christmas I used be full of anticipation. I’d listen to my mother wrapping presents on the ironing board, the thump of boxes, the screech of paper being ripped, and folded around her gifts in the room next to mine. She worked late into the night. I fell asleep hoping I’d see my desires fulfilled. 

 

public domain

Apparently, any family that survived Thanksgiving intact should be thankful indeed. Media warnings abounded that impeachment disputes threatened family tranquility. One newspaper even urged that political debate be banned except in certain specially equipped "tranquility rooms." Now, ominously, we are careening toward another family holiday with the same grave danger looming. What is going on here? 

 

Perspective: Don't Throw Away History

Dec 13, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

In 1989, James Jordan sent a letter to his cousin, Andrew Carroll. 

 

A fire had destroyed the Carroll home. No one was hurt, but the loss of family photos and mementos was painful. 

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