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is simple - it is a community that has made a huge difference in my life.
It is through writing here that I developed a voice on education, and occasionally on other topics
I have developed friendships, some with people I know only electronically even to this day, but friendships that mean a great deal to me
It has kept me connected in many ways - with issues, with people
It has challenged my thinking
It has been a community that has supported us in trying times - the loss of beloved pets, my wife's illness - and congratulated us in more enjoyable times - my teaching award, my new teaching job, the good news about my wife's illness.
I have been here a long time.
I have seen flame wars, pie fights, primary battles, I-P disputes, etc.
The first thing to remember is that if something or someone is so upsetting to you, you do not have to engage.
Sometimes I am satisfied just to enjoy the words of others.
Sometimes I am delighted when others appreciate what I have shared - the number does not matter, because if what I write speaks to one or two people, it is enough, dayenu.
In 1st Thessalonians we read that we should "hold fast what is good" - affirm what we can, be able to offer our disagreements where we cannot affirm without being disagreeable. At most attack the idea, not the person.
I do not always live up to that standard. I am grateful when others call me on it and give me a chance to correct.
Most of all I am grateful for the shared experiences that connect us beyond our common political beliefs.
I speak only for myself.
I am grateful for this site, for the community it has enabled to come together and thrive. It has enriched my life immeasurably.