Jan 152013

Have you made your summer plans yet?  Whether you are fortunate enough to be planning a family trip or trying to put together a decent child care plan, the school year is coming to an end and ‘what to do about summer’ has probably been part of your recent thinking.

While babysitting and gardening are still options for a lot of kids, technology has certainly opened up some additional possibilities.  Seriously… so many of us joke about how much more intuitively middle and high school students are able to organize our laptops or set up a quick website.   Why not let them?

Let them help you make a list of some of those aggravating “to dos” that are cluttering up your office or your hard drive….  whether it’s labeling and uploading digital photos you’d like to share ,scanning documents,  re-tagging blog posts for better SEO or setting up a FaceBook page for your business, the best person for the job may be closer than you think.

What other digital chores would you like to get some help with?  What do your kids have to offer?  You may even want to help them share those skills with family and friends.  What do you think?

Jan 112013
Cover of "Stand and Deliver"

Cover of Stand and Deliver


Unless you were an advanced math student  at Garfield High School in East LA a couple of decades ago, or a fan of the movie Stand and Deliver, then the news of Jaime Escalante’s passing may have escaped your notice.  If his example touched your life, I’m sure that you were saddened.

According to this NPR article Mr. Esclante described the movie as 90% truth and 10% drama.  I was happy to read that.

Stand and Deliver is the story of Mr. Escalante’s use of higher math as a gateway for his students to harness their ‘ganas’ and excel.  It is one of my favorite inspirational movies.  No matter how many times I see it, there are still moments that bring goosebumps.  And others that bring tears.  Because it’s mostly true.  And it’s a story that illustrates a little bit of what is possible when generosity, discipline, hard work and a refusal to fail are applied.

And that one person with ‘ganas’ and a commitment to excellence can make a difference.  A big, important difference.

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Dec 272012

Day 28 - Unwrapping Christmas gifts

Day 28 – Unwrapping Christmas gifts (Photo credit: PictureWendy)

Have you ever met a parent who did not what to do the best they possibly could for their children?  Unfortunately, sometimes that beautiful wish gets translated into massive piles of consumer goods.  Stuff.  And it might not be the right stuff.

 Our intentions may be good, but over-spending, “over-gifting” behavior can teach our children a number of things we might not want them to learn.  I don’t think, for example, that any parent wants our children to define our love for them by the gifts that we buy for them.

 What other messages can we send when we repeatedly overindulge our kids’ material wants?  Are they learning about the difference between “wants” and “needs”?  How about saving versus “buy now, pay later”?  And, if everything they want just “shows up” are we teaching them to expect “something for nothing?”

 We all love to give our children nice things, but the things we buy for them can never replace the pride that comes with earning their own money and making their own decisions about how to spend it.  Things they are given without work or personal effort have little lasting value for them.  When children purchase something by contributing at least a portion of the cost with their own hard earned money, they learn valuable lessons in money management and the self-esteem that comes from realizing that there is a relationship between their work and the result.

 And those are gifts that keep on giving.