It seems we have forgotten that debate is a skill set. It is an art form that requires continuous refinement and strengthening, or it withers and dies. To be confronted by a dissenting opinion, to listen and understand an argument you don’t agree with, and to respond with a reasoned, factual rebuttal is a crucial part of any intellectual growth. Alas…the art of the rebuttal is slowly dying.

A good story meets you in the midst of life. It tells you something true, something you can relate to. It abducts you. It takes your heart unexpectedly. It gives you the breath of another life as a character in the fairy tale. It becomes a reality you dream is yours. It paints a world you cannot quite touch. It draws you in with emotion and connection, love and heartbreak, familiarity and fantasy. That is when you know it is a great story.

Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated the 22nd anniversary of our marriage. 22 years of graduate school and moves across the nation, of children and creating our idea of what a home ought to be. 22 years of pets and home repairs and broken-down cars. 22 years of ups and downs, of joys and disappointments, of boring, aimless moments and times of great adventure and wonder. As I was pondering all this, I thought back to the day we got married. I can still see her clear as day. How beautiful she was in that gown.