Do our lives have a story? Are they ‘going somewhere’? – April 24

Do our lives have a story? Are they ‘going somewhere’?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

CitiCorp Atrium Lower Level
153 E 53rd street (Between Lexington and 3rd ave), New York, NY

Call me at 646-207-5149 this evening if you have trouble finding the group at the CitiCorp building Atrium… Evan Sinclair (rsvp directly to Evan at his address listed at CNY meetup )

“Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel’d, disappointed, unanel’d,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head…”

Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 5

Like Hamlet’s father, many lives come to premature ends, often quite abruptly, well before what we perceive as a natural end, before ‘things’ can be fulfilled, reconciled and resolved. But the very idea of a life cut short implies that life has, or should have, some kind of integrated wholeness. By nature of how our brains work, do we have no choice but to perceive coherent continuity as we pass through time? If so, does this continuity confer moral, spiritual or other kinds of meaning, purpose and value to our lives? If not – if one’s life is just ‘one event after another’ without a sense of cohesion – what does that kind of life feel like?

Evan has facilitated numerous such discussion groups over the years, and is in possession of a restless and inquisitive mind.

New Aging for a New Age: Challenges, Visions, and Strategies for a World Growing Older (and Wiser?!) – May 20

The University Seminars on
Innovation in Education (
Ethics, Moral Education, and Society

New Aging for a New Age:
Challenges, Visions, and Strategies for
a World Growing Older (and Wiser?!)

Ron Gross and Sue Salko
Members, Seminar on Innovation in Education
Co-founders, Life Review and Creative Aging

Monday, May 20, 2013, 7-9 pm
at Columbia University’s Faculty House
64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, and they are transforming America’s social, economic, political, and cultural landscapes. From family life to healthcare, from media to technology, in politics to psychology — the new prominence of older adults is generating challenges, inspiring visions, and stimulating innovative strategies.

At this session, we will explore:

1. The impact of the “Age Wave” on personal and public life.
2. Against Ageism: Combating Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Abuse.
3. Aging and the Arts: “Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing, For every tatter in its mortal dress.” (W. B. Yeats).
4. Aging and Lifelong Learning: Generativity, Life Review, Spiritual Dimensions of Aging (“Saging”), Wisdom, and “Gerotranscendance”.
5. Aging, Healthcare, and Nurturing the Older Brain.
6. Innovative Programs and Projects: Outstanding Initiatives Featured at the most recent annual Aging in American conferences.
7. Aging and American Values: How Are the Core Values of Americans Challenged by a Nation Growing Older?

Speaker Bios:

Ron has published 20 books including THE NEW OLD: Struggling for Decent Aging (Doubleday), hailed by leaders of the movement including the National Council on the Aging, and the late Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers. He was honored earlier this year for Lifetime Achievement in fostering Lifelong Learning, at the annual meeting of the International Society for Self-Directed Learning (
Sue is a licensed social worker who has served as senior advocate for NYS Senator Kemp Hannon, and is an Arthritis Foundation-certified instructor in Tai Chi and exercise modalities. She regularly presents programs for organizations such as the National Council of Jewish Women, and at senior facilities in the New York metropolitan area.
Together, Sue and Ron report each year on the annual convention of the American Society on Aging. They currently offer free Life Review and Creative Aging programs to hundreds of seniors on Long Island (NY) under grant from the Greentree Foundation.

Reminder – CNY Event at Gottesman Libraries on Thursday, 4/11 at 4:45pm!

Socratic Conversation: Generational Patterns of Familial Child Abuse, with Natalie Millman, Thursday, 4/11, 4:45-6pm

Inspired by Socrates’ famous conversations with his friends in the marketplace of 5th century Athens, we engage in spirited discussions of ideas and issues. Socratic conversations range broadly and probe deeply into the basic challenges of life. They are informed by the latest literature for reference and follow up. While building a sense of community on campus, these meetings enliven the intellectual atmosphere and model dialogue and discussion as modes of inquiry. They are part of a year long series of Socratic Conversations hosted by the Gottesman Libraries.

  • The family is the first system with which most children interact, providing a social structure with role models that exhibit behaviors that children observe and imitate. It also provides built-in feedback to reinforce behaviors. The school system only becomes relevant to children after the initial family system has made its impact. When children are abused in the family system, however, much of the responsibility for "un-doing’ the damage falls to members of the school system, including teachers and social workers.

    We will be addressing several questions during this conversation:

    • How do you know when a child is being abused? Is there a spectrum of
      abuse, or is it black-and-white?
    • What kinds of information and resources are available currently to prevent
      child abuse in the family system? Are they effective or ineffective, in your experience? Why might that be?
    • What challenges and opportunities exist for us as teachers, social workers, and and other education professionals as we try to work with abused children in the school system?
    • What would you like to see happen on a national, state, or local level concerning familial child abuse prevention and intervention in the school system? What can we ourselves do to address the problem?
    • What about involvement of educational personnel in the forensic/child abuse interview process, especially involving children with disabilities? How can school personnel support these efforts and "join" in protecting children?
  • NOTE: Because of the time limit, this conversation is not intended to be a group therapy session to talk about personal traumatic experiences of abuse, nor is it intended to be a place to talk about specific cases of horrific abuse that we have encountered professionally. While these experiences are close to our hearts and motivate us to care deeply about this kind of work, the focus of this conversation is on discussing strategies for working with abused children and advocate for change on a multi-systems level.

    Suggest optional reading:

    This Socratic conversation will be conducted by Natalie Millman, MSW student at Columbia University School of Social Work. Natalie lives in Manhattan and works as an advocate for a variety of issues; her practice specialty is in health and disabilities with an interest in the aging population. Amongst other activities, Natalie teaches writing classes in Manhattan and has facilitated formal conversations for groups since May 2012.

  • Happier Endings: How Have We, How Do We, and How Should We Handle It When Something Ends?, with Ron Gross, Thursday, 4/25, 4-5pm
  • As this academic term concludes and we bid farewell for now to classmates, teachers, and colleagues, we’ll gather to share what we’ve experienced, and what we’ve learned, about the inevitable goodbyes that occur in all our lives.

    We’ll consider finales big and small, ordinary and extraordinary, sudden and protracted, painful and liberating, based on the book Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free, by Harvard professor Sara Lawrence Lightfoot.

    We’ll draw from our personal lives, but we’ll also ponder the social and economic conditions which make Exiting a pervasive part of American lives today, due to such disruptions as Divorce, Immigration, and constantly Changing Jobs and Careers.

    "Our exits are often ignored or invisible," writes Lightfoot. At this session, we’ll focus on how we might turn them into endings that set us free.

Where: Second Floor

These highly-participatory conversations with fellow students are moderated by Ronald Gross, author of Socrates’ Way and Co-chair of the University Seminar on Innovation in Education.

Your Invitations to CNY Events in April — From Child Abuse to Happier Endings!

You are warmly invited to any of these exciting, important Conversations which will be presented under CNY auspices in April.  Details are available on the CNY site and calendar,

DATE/TIME: Thurs., April 11, 5-6 pm
TOPIC: “Generational Patterns of Familial Child Abuse”  (in the Socratic Conversations series)
CONVENOR:  Natalie Millman
LOCATION: Gottesman Library, 525 West 120th St., 2nd floor
RSVP: Natalie at

DATE/TIME: Thurs., April 18, 7:30 pm
TOPIC: “TalkAbout at The New Museum”
CONVENOR: Laurence Mailaender
LOCATION: The New Museum, 235 Bowery, at Prince Street (Admission is free on Thurs. evenings)
RSVP: Laurence at

DATE/TIME: Wed., April 24,  7-8:30 pm
TOPIC:  “Do Our Lives Have a Story?  Are they ‘Going Somewhere”?
CONVENOR: Evan Sinclair
LOCATION: Citigroup Center’s Lower Level Atrium, 153 East 53rd St., btw 3rd Ave. and Lexington Ave (3 entrances: on Lex., 52nd St., and 53rd St. – look for a table with a white statuette of Socrates)
RSVP: Evan at

DATE: Thurs., April 25, 3:45-5:15 pm
TOPIC: “Happier Endings: How Have We, How Do We, and How Should We Handle the Farewells in All Our Lives?”
LOCATION: 525 West 120th St. (Teachers College of Columbia University), 2ndfloor
RSVP:  Ron at