Perspectives

Did you miss an essay from your favorite "Perspectives" writer? Want to hear it again? Scroll down to find a complete archive of our "Perspectives" essays. You'll find the most recent at the top.

To find out more about each writer, click on his or her name at the bottom of each entry.

If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, compose a piece that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 230 to 250 words, as counted by Microsoft Word -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu. Be sure to put "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Northern Public Radio invites you to comment on or respond to any Perspective in the comments section at the bottom of each article, in keeping with our Discussion Policy.

Learning That's Not 'Tacked On'

Dec 1, 2017

Worldwide, most people are at least bilingual. Yet how many times have you heard, “I studied French in high school, but I don’t remember any of it?”

Studies confirm the experience of millions: Language acquisition is far more successful when begun in the first few years of life and sustained.

So why do we still “tack on” foreign languages so late? Is it our limited view regarding the purpose of education as a collection of finished outcomes? Add separate subjects to your toolkit, and presto, you’re ready for the workforce.

Although the holiday carols and twinkling lights are showing up across the landscape, the urge to deck the halls is supplanted by the need to clear the decks for many people who are grieving a loss or dealing with more than the usual share of hard luck at the holidays.

Holiday images and television commercials are typically built on the assumption that each of us has a close-knit extended family that numbers half the size of the Chicagoland population.

Books Are So Much More Than Words

Nov 29, 2017

George R.R. Martin once wrote “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” Books enhance our knowledge and build personal connections.

Books are more than words printed on paper. They represent artistic works which can impact readers’ lives significantly.

Planners May Not Be The Answer

Nov 28, 2017

Last year I bought a couple of expensive planners, hoping they would nudge me out of days wasted on Facebook.

I started with a daily shaped around the Christian year. I moved to a weekly that gave me space to write down yearly and monthly goals as well as enough lines to schedule my days. I abandoned both, because checking off the task didn’t motivate me.

Both planners were too big to carry in my purse or to be present when my “to do” list fired off in my brain.

In Defense Of The Two-Party System

Nov 27, 2017

 Even though this may be the most inopportune moment imaginable, the assertion must still be made. Democracy absolutely requires political parties in order to succeed. We ignore their virtues at our peril. 

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