More to a good life than college

Silas, our son, graduates high school next spring and is knee-deep in campus visits and SAT test prep. As he talks aloud about his own future, we hear his inner conflict: Do I pursue what I love? I’m not even sure what that is, yet. Maybe I should just pick a career that will make me a lot of money.

Streetcar is taking Kansas City on a costly ride

Even before a single streetcar leaves the station, our city spenders have deemed the project a success. So much so that a $472 million expansion of the streetcar system in Kansas City is proposed for 7.6 more miles. That’s $62 million a mile.

Innovate to make Kansas City a startup hub

The Brookings Institute calls us “significantly lagging” behind peers and smaller-sized metros in entrepreneurism. Don’t let Kansas City die by backward-looking solutions. Instead let’s thrive because we had vision and the capacity to collectively collaborate.

Arts give a city meaning and money

The financial impact of the arts is far greater than the cash inflow. Cultural events can change the way a city is perceived. Last year’s South by Southwest received some 458 million mentions in broadcast, print, and online media, creating a powerful effect on the fiscal well-being of Austin, Texas.

More two-parent families would improve schools

We have blamed police departments for years of profiling but have not solved the problem of higher rates of crime and the resultant incarceration for black people. The more important issues for schools are single-parent families, lack of family support for education and a lack of respect for other students, teachers and administrators.

Singing because I’m happy

To steal from Pharrell Williams, the singer in the ludicrously mutant Mountie hat, I’m happy. It ain’t easy. Seems like something’s always broken, somebody’s owed, somebody’s sick or something’s due. Somebody always needs some thing from me.

Baking cookies becomes nostalgia-induced insanity

A couple of weeks back, inspired by the quiet enclosure of snow falling soft and heavy outside my house and missing my close friend and mother-in-law, Laurel (a righteous believer in making cookies to set the world right), I decided to bake oatmeal cookies from scratch for the first time in 25 years.

To be 50, free from the old rules

Fifty is not the “New 30.” Fifty is the new freakin’ 50. This ain’t no “Hot Mom/Cougar” kind of talk though. I’m not trying to be one of those women so scared of aging they crave the attention of men half their age or stuff themselves into clothes that don’t forgive 50-year-old flesh.

Veterans build teams on a new field

Chris Irving probably didn’t realize his coaching potential when an improvised explosive device turned his vehicle into a mass of twisted steel and sinew. Yet he plys skills learned in the military by implementing strategy on diamonds, fields and courts instead of decks, airfields and foxholes through coaching.

Do I dare become a Republican?

I don’t know how to help stop extremism in Kansas. I sign petitions to protest bills I don’t agree with. I “like” the right Facebook pages. The honest truth is none of these things ever really impacts change. The answer is I need to file in Kansas as a Republican if I’m going to vote in the primaries.

Farming deserves more respect

What concerns farmers is the growing consensus that the way we farm is nothing less than a crime against nature, nutrition and all that is good and true. Our critics are convinced that technology applied to personal communications devices and medicine is a net good, but science applied to growing things is freakish, unnatural and dangerous.

New food rules are an awkward fit

Feeding my family in this century requires a level of First World hyper-vigilance that exhausts me. What I don’t have is room in my head for all these food rules and time in my schedule to abide by them. Nutritious food takes time to select, make and even eat — none of which fits easily in our well-meaning busy lives.

Help teens by killing the minimum wage

The minimum wage is not only an affront to common sense, it should be considered a civil rights issue. Look no further than U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The black teen unemployment rate is 38 percent. Why not eliminate the minimum wage and see whether we can get the 38 percent who are unemployed working?

No more tolerating child poverty traps

Poor education and poverty destroy both our credibility as a great nation and far too many people’s lives. Yet children own the future. Don’t we have a responsibility? To live up to our potential, every person matters. We need to take creative direct action, educate children and eliminate poverty now.