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.

Gerd Altman / Pixabay

Why does time crawl or fly? Is it always because we are bored or having fun? 

As we age, we feel that time zips by. This past winter feels like a blur now that the sun warms my back. But isn’t this just how I process the past? I perceive last winter as quick, but while I was in it, time crawled in its petty pace as snow sealed me indoors. 

 

Perspective: Counselors Bring The Healing

Apr 18, 2019
Michael Browning / Unsplash

April is Counseling Awareness Month, and as a counselor/educator, I’d like to focus on the healing counselors bring to clients.

When facing challenges that aren’t easily solved or traumatic experiences that negatively affect thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, counselors provide us a space, both literal and metaphorical, to make sense of our experiences, validate our truths, and figure out our new normal.

Perspective: One Child In Every Thirteen

Apr 17, 2019

Once upon a time, I knew exactly where I was going in life.

My dream since third grade was to become a teacher. And I’m happy and proud to say that it came true. After I earned my master’s degree in Special Education from NIU, I began to teach second and third grade in Skokie, Illinois.

I loved teaching – and while I wasn’t able to become a principal or superintendent like my Type A self had planned, I was able instead to leverage my skills and education into advocacy and awareness for food allergies.

Perspective: Turn Off The Noise

Apr 16, 2019

During chores, I turn the radio to NPR, because I’m fascinated with current events. My attention is so fixed I almost worship the whole drama. But what good does that do? I’m aggravated or saddened by events I can’t change.

Perspective: Policy Makers, Not Provocateurs

Apr 15, 2019

Hyperpartisanship, thy name is immigration.

Republicans stress security and citizenship. They charge Democrats with endangering the culture in a callous attempt to harvest votes.

Democrats stress diversity and offer a haven for refugees. They charge Republicans with cultural closedmindedness. Republicans are crabbed nationalists at best, racists at worst.

This is not debate. It is demonization. Partisans stand on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon, mindlessly hurling imprecations at each other. We must bridge this abyss.

Perspective: Sometimes, Memories Are On The Menu

Apr 12, 2019
Carl via Flickr / CC by 2.0

I slid into the booth at the Country Kitchen and ordered French toast.

Because that’s what she would have done.

And, oh yes, the sausage links. We both thought the sausage at the “Kitchen” was special.

I looked across the table and raised my cup of coffee, sort of like a toast. She wasn’t there, but I whispered, “Miss ya Mom.”

And then I ate. And chewed on memory after memory.

Lou Ness

Four weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fly to Australia, the land down under -- it’s a bucket list thing. I was a little hesitant, money being one of my considerations. Before I go further, you should know this about me: I am easily distracted, a little disorganized (a result of being easily distracted) so traveling 9100 miles alone was daunting.

Perspective: When The Message Transcends The Gore

Apr 10, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

 

 

Hitchcock. Romero. Carpenter. Craven. Del Torro. And now, Peele.  

Perspective: Heartbreak Before Happiness

Apr 9, 2019

Hanna Wolf is one of Breja Fink's A.P. Language and Composition students at Beloit Memorial High School. They studied WNIJ's Perspectives, then wrote and recorded their own last semester. 

Throughout my life, whenever I picked up a book or watched a movie with even an ounce of woe, my mother would say, “Hanna, this is so gruesome. Try something happier.”  And to this day, I still cannot understand why she says that. 

Perspective: All The Wall And None Of The High

Apr 8, 2019
Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

Supposedly, people who run for prolonged periods of time experience a “runner’s high,” a state of euphoria from the intense connection between the mind and the body while in motion. 

Unfortunately, I have never experienced this feeling, but rather a feeling like I’ve hit the ground after running into a wall. Just my luck, I experience the “wall” in running, but never the “high.”

 

As an outdoorsman in my late 60's, I pride myself on the ability to still hike 14,000-foot mountains or bicycle 100 miles in a day. But can staying healthy actually have a downside? 

 

Perspective: Time And Space

Apr 4, 2019

I started and stopped three different perspectives this week, each time asking the question: what matters my perspective? Whether I discuss politics, the state of higher education, baseball, or religion in America, what matters my perspective?

So each time, I deleted what I wrote and started over. Then I thought about my students. One of the things I love to talk about most is perspective. And not in the way that may first come to mind.

Perspective: Praise The Peepers

Apr 2, 2019
USGS.gov

Let us now praise….spring peepers!

Perspective: Do We Really Get What We Vote For?

Apr 1, 2019
Elkanah Tisdale / public domain

For those of you who don’t know who the “Gerry” is behind gerrymandering, it comes from Elbridge Gerry, who was a statesman and diplomat, ultimately serving as the vice president under James Madison.

Perspective: The Real Admissions Scandal

Mar 29, 2019

The college admissions process is broken.  

 

I am not talking about the recent pay-to-play scandal that has dominated the headlines. I am talking about deeper, systemic problems that the scandal unearthed and exposed.  

Perspective: Healing A Splintered Society

Mar 28, 2019

 

 

Perspective: Mars Rover In Translation

Mar 27, 2019
Dan Libman

“My battery is low and it’s getting dark.” 

  

Perspective: The Ripple Effects Of Salary Compression

Mar 26, 2019
Brendan Riley / Flickr CC by-sa 2.0

Here's a riddle: which profession guarantees that the more years you work, the less you will be paid? The answer is a college professor at a public university.

Decades of budget cuts and financial crisis have left their mark, and while data from program prioritization proved how much NIU faculty was paid less than colleagues at SIU or ISU, the Board of Trustees allocated one million dollars for a scoreboard in the Convention Center and raised the football coach's and university president's salaries instead. 

Perspective: A Woman Making History

Mar 25, 2019
Ulysse Bellier / CC by 2.0

March is nationally recognized as Women’s History Month. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on the amazing accomplishments and contributions of women. The church where I pastor has been blessed this month by the preaching of women from DeKalb, St. Louis, Dallas, and Richmond, Va. It’s always refreshing to hear Womanist and Feminist theology through a hermeneutical lens that focuses on equality, justice, and righteousness. 

Perspective: Big Screen, Small Screen

Mar 22, 2019

The millennials in my life would rather watch a movie on their smart phones than join us older types in front of the big TV screen. That’s their right and also their eyesight. 

 

Perspective: Walking With Wolves

Mar 20, 2019
Marnie O. Mamminga

I am not afraid.   

Though maybe I should be, for I am walking with wolves.  

Perspective: Lessons From A Gunslinger

Mar 19, 2019
public domain

 

Perspective: Government Debt? Blame The Poor

Mar 18, 2019
Linus Bohman / CC by 2.0

“It’s like they don’t want us to get ahead.” An African-American friend said that to me recently as I gave her and her son a ride so they did not have to stand in the cold March chill waiting for a bus.

As a single mother with two children she struggles to keep food on their table. Her teenage daughter found a $9 an hour part-time job trying to save a little for college, and then the household was hit with a cut in benefits.

A common story with those who struggle to get above the poverty line if they try to get ahead a little only to get pushed back down.

Perspective: Status Symbols And Higher Education

Mar 14, 2019
Pixabay, edited

When I was a young teen, what I wanted more than anything was a pair of Levi’s jeans. In my mind, Levi’s would make the difference between acceptance and rejection by my high school peers. I can still hear my mother’s refrain to my plaintive pleas, “Levi’s won’t make you popular. It’s who you are, not what you wear, that really matters.”

Perspective: A Plea For Unfettered Creativity

Mar 13, 2019
Image by Hans Braxmeier / Pixabay

When I was in first grade, my music teacher called my mother to thank her for her gift and to praise my performance in the Christmas pageant. I never was much of a singer, but unconsciously, I had swayed and clapped in time to the music. As a seven-year-old, Mrs. Voss’ praise was an unexpected surprise. 

 

Perspective: Listen To The Trees

Mar 12, 2019
Pixabay

Do you ever notice the trees in your life — the ones you look to without thinking? When I was a girl, I’d look to the white pines that bordered our road. They reminded me of great kings and queens. I’d look to them when my dad’s headlights flashed a mile away.

Nowadays there’s an oak I look to in the corner of Peterson’s field. Its branches tilt as though a south wind permanently blows. It catches light, especially the golden light the sun throws at slate storm clouds. Sometimes a rainbow.

Perspective: National Emergency?

Mar 11, 2019
© Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The president's national emergency declaration is of dubious legality.  As a policy, it is worse than dubious.

First, the law. Although the president is commander-in-chief, the problem of border security is primarily a law enforcement problem, not a military problem. It is to be managed through civilian processes.  Trump notes correctly that there are national emergency laws, but we must note that none has ever been used as is proposed by him. There is a justly famous Supreme Court precedent against what the president proposes. The law does not appear to be on his side.

Pixabay

I was studying journalism at NIU in DeKalb in the ‘60s when I got a summer job at the local paper. Not in the newsroom. In the Circulation Department.

We tied up individual routes and tossed the bundles on the dock.  Drivers lined up to hustle them out. Speed was important. The clock was king.

I have learned to appreciate and love the sound of those bundles hitting the dock. And now I see more than bundles. There are not as many hitting the dock as there used to be. Newspapers are shutting down.

I shouldn’t have to tell you why a local newspaper is needed.

Perspective: Don't Stop Believing

Mar 7, 2019
Pixabay

In the wake of the revelations that Jussie Smollett may have fabricated the reports of a homophobic and racist attack, how should we respond to future reports of violence? It’s simple, really. Start by believing.  

 

Perspective: Second Acts

Mar 6, 2019

In his 1932 essay, “My Lost City,” F. Scott Fitzgerald introduced his classic quote, “There are no second acts in America.” That is pretty stark and hopeless. Fortunately, the line is taken out of context.

Fitzgerald actually wrote, “I once thought that there were no second acts in American lives, but there was certainly to be a second act to New York’s boom days.” Written only a few short years after the beginning of the Great Depression, Fitzgerald’s iconic and prescient words uncover American optimism and encourage hope, recovery, hard work, and growth.

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