Archives for posts with tag: Education

How to teach family policy
by Dorotho O Rombo

To teach family policy is
To show that even if you are not interested in politics, politics is interested in you
To know ideologies, their roots and values
To debate both sides and even more
To question and understand underlying assumptions
To identify the stakeholders

To teach family policy is
To explain dominance in the construction of knowledge
To show the association between family theories and policy
To determine the negative unintended consequences
To connect functions and cause

To teach family policy is
To politicize problems and how they are solved
To show that it is a cultural expression, not science per se
To debunk the myth of neutrality
To appreciate the skills of persuasion, mediation, collaboration and confrontation

In the end, to teach family policy is
To center families
To ask how they are impacted
To ask how they can be part of the solution
To ask how they might have contributed
To infuse science into policy practice
To prove that all policies are indeed family policy

IMAGE: No. 112 (Woodblock print, 2003) by Funasaka Yoshisuke.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a course so dear to my heart and each semester that I teach it I strive to make it relatable to everyday life. It is in striving to achieve this goal that I have conceptualized a poem to capture the themes of the class. I share this poem with my students at the beginning of every class and have them react to it, and then have them read it again at the end of the course and ask again for their impressions. It is a learning tool and a way to motivate students to be curious about policy.

rombo copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dorothy O Rombo is an associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the department of human ecology, State University of New York at Oneonta. She holds a Ph.D. in Family Social Science with a minor in family policy from the university of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She has extensive experience in higher education, both internationally and in the US. Her research interest is centered on vulnerable populations, including international families, women, children, gender and sexual minorities. Her theories of preference are human ecology and family strength perspective. She has published on different topics regarding these populations. List of publications.

bread chernetskaya licensed
With activities and movement curtailed during the pandemic, many of us are spending our quarantine-in-place time learning or practicing new skills—with bread baking as a popular choice. This idea and a recent Twitter thread from Heather Christle about “poems in the form of instructions” have inspired the HOW TO Poetry and Prose Series. What have you learned how to do? What do you already know how to do? What would you like to learn how to do? Your answers can range from the practical (how to fix a leaky faucet) to the abstract (how to heal a country). If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a link to “How To” poems from other authors.

PROMPT: Tell us how to do something (nothing R-rated or X-rated, please)—it could be something you’ve learned, imagined, or wish for—in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer—this word limit also applies to prose poems). We prefer narrative work written from a personal perspective, and avoid material that attempts to speak for the world at large or comes across as didactic or preachy.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or prose. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish the piece on social media. We are a nonprofit blog and offer no monetary compensation to contributors—the main benefit to you is that we will publicize your work to our 10,000+ followers. If your piece was previously published, please tell us where/when so we can credit the original publisher.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems and prose in the Silver Birch Press HOW TO Poetry and Prose Series starting in late February 2021. We’ll also feature the work on Twitter and Facebook.


To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, email address). Also list your home state or country.

3. In the same MS Word document, include a one-paragraph author’s bio, written in the third person. You are encouraged to include links to your books, websites, and social media accounts — we want to help promote you!

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/prose or creative process written in the first person (this is optional — but encouraged).

5. Send a photo of yourself as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones1.jpg, Jones2.jpg).

6. Email to—and put “HOW TO” in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, March 7, 2021

We look forward to learning from (and about) you! 

Photo by Chernetskaya, used by permission.


A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people — people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” E.B. WHITE, author of Charlotte’s Web


“I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.” RAY BRADBURY, (1920-2012)

PHOTO: Ray Bradbury at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, located at 2920 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90064. In the photo, Bradbury is wearing the medal he received in 2007 from the France Minister of Culture as Commandeur, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Photo by Gary.

by Edward Hirsch

I wish I could find that skinny, long-beaked boy
who perched in the branches of the old branch library.

He spent the Sabbath flying between the wobbly stacks
and the flimsy wooden tables on the second floor,

pecking at nuts, nesting in broken spines, scratching
notes under his own corner patch of sky.

I’d give anything to find that birdy boy again
bursting out into the dusky blue afternoon

with his satchel of scrawls and scribbles,
radiating heat, singing with joy.

SOURCE: “Branch Library” appears in Edward Hirsch‘s collection Special Orders (Knopf, 2010), available at

IMAGE: “In a Land Far Away,” painting by Carol Berning. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote the national best seller How to Read a Poem. He has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of work. He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City.


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

 JACK KEROUAC, The Dharma Bums

Painting: “There and Here, State I” by Edward Ruscha (2007)

CAPTION: “If he was really intelligent, he wouldn’t limit his applications to East Coast schools.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Danny Shanahan, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.”  MARK TWAIN

“In this chthonian* world the only thing of importance is orthography** and punctuation. It doesn’t matter what the nature of the calamity is, only whether it is spelled right.” HENRY MILLER

*chthonian: Concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld.

**orthography: A part of language study that deals with letters and spelling.

Cartoon: “The Far Side,” 1985 by Gary Larson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The Book of Unnecessary Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation by Bethany Keely (Chronicle, 2009) was one of my recent one-dollar finds at a Los Angeles Out of the Closet thrift store — and I enjoyed it so much that I felt as if I’d won a jackpot. (I find misspelled and improperly punctuated signs both sad and funny.) During the past few days, the book has provided many laughs, as I’ve explored 176 pages of photos featuring real-world signs that include unnecessary quotation marks.

The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks is an outgrowth of the author’s “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. If you’d like a little levity today, visit Bethany Keely‘s blog:

Find The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks at

by LeeAnne McIlroy Langton

I noticed that most of my students
Were gazing longingly out the window
On an unusually beautiful
Southern California morning
I paused in my lecture to discover
That they were collectively noticing the unusual fruit
Exploding on the tree just outside our window
“What kind of fruit is that?”
They wondered with more curiosity than
They had ever shown for Plato or Rousseau
And so I told them about the pomegranate
How according to the Q’uran, it filled the gardens of paradise
How its image had once adorned the temples of Solomon
How it doomed Persephone to Hades
How it symbolizes prosperity and fertility in Hinduism
How it came here to us:
From the Iranian Plateaus to Turkey
Across the Mediterranean and transported across the oceans
By the Spanish conquistadors
How the city of Kandahar—now bombed and ravaged—
Was once reputed to have the finest pomegranates in the world
I told them that this was my favorite tree
And then we all went outside for a moment—
To marvel at this tree
Just staring for a moment
While the wind blew
Across our faces, a tender caress across the ages
And then the moment was gone—
The next day I walked into class
And someone, anonymously, had placed a single pomegranate
On my desk at the front of the class,
An altar before thirty students,
All newly baptized—
The red stain of pomegranate seeds outlining
Their smiles

Illustration: “Pomegranate Tree,” watercolor by Karina Zlotnikov, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED