July 31, 2014

Living in New England just went south

Boston
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My family and I live up in southern New Hampshire, about 1 hour north of Boston and the mayhem that followed yesterday’s race. My wife and I moved here in 2002, after we met in Washington, DC and live there for four years. We left the busy-ness of DC and made our way to northern Massachusetts, where my wife grew up, when we decided to have children and raise a family.

The city has always been a place to go when we need a break from the comforting slowness of New Hampshire life. The ability to get a taste of the city is great for both my wife and I as adults, and the exposure to everything the city has to offer, good and bad, is important and necessary for raising kids. Unfortunately, the events of yesterday afternoon have changed what visiting Boston means to us. [Read more]

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Five types of toys, and a lesson for the grown-ups

toys in a pile
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Like most parents, I buy my kids toys. I buy them mostly for Holidays and birthdays, and sometimes just because I can, and sometimes because I can’t listen to the begging any more, too. On top of that, there are the presents from other people, the junky things you get from Happy Meal boxes and the things they save up their allowance for, too.

Of course, the intrinsic value of the toy has nothing to do with the importance of that toy to the child. Through the years of watching my kids play with, discard, or completely ignore their toys, I have come to realize their toys fall into just a few categorie [Read more]

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The Easter Egg Hunt and perfectly normal disorganization

easter eggs
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Our small town up here in New Hampshire hosted an Easter Egg Hunt and, of course, with a couple hundred children between the ages of 2 and 10 milling about, things went along….well, let’s just say they went along.

The organizers of the event scurried to and fro to make amends for oversights and, since they were clearly working very hard to make the event enjoyable, no one was pointing a finger. The thing that I saw, that was truly bothersome to me, was the indifference and acceptance of such near-pandemonium as normal. It is that acceptance of disorganization as normal, [Read more]

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Snowy boots: A reminder that enjoyment enhances skill

snow covered bridge in the woods
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On a walk in the woods this weekend with my sons we discovered the trails were still covered by a good foot of heavy, compacted snow. I contemplated turning around but the boys were having a blast and convinced me to just keep going. Falling into the snow up to their knees at times didn’t sway them in the least. We worked much harder than was needed had we decided to walk on an asphalt trail in a park, but we carried on just to enjoy the day and be near each other.

While you can do work for money and do a fine job, imagine how much greater of a job you could do for a belief in addition to a paycheck. As my boys demonstrated, even children will work hard for something they believe is worthwhile. If you can combine that kind of belief with a skill so well developed people are willing to pay you for it, I can only imagine the degree of success that could be attained. [Read more]

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“Discipline, effort, patience and courage”

patience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrosepatience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrose
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Thanks to StumbleUpon, I came across on article on Psychology Today entitled “What to Tell Kids After Failures and Mistakes.” The Author, Salmansohn, describes some recent research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck, who advocates an “Incremental theory” of learning.

Incremental Theorists believe that success is achieved through putting in the necessary hard work. According to Dr. Dweck, a big key to a successful life is to embrace being an “Incremental Theorist” – so when failure or disappointments occur, you are ready to overcome them.

This quote from the article is powerful: “Discipline, effort, patience and courage are hugely important core values for kids to grow up embracing.”

They are also hugely important core values for adults to maintain, too. [Read more]

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Dad tells a story of inefficient communication, and truly wasteful meeting management

steelwork_by_roodpa-d4xunzm
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On a recent trip home for the Holidays, I was railing about such-and-wuch workplace goings on, when my father shared a story from his days managing projects in the construction industry.

as the “steel guy,” most of his work was done fairly early in the life cycle. The steel was cut, fabricated, delivered, erected, corrected, charged back, and his end of the project entirely signed off. Nonetheless, he was bound to attend these hours-long meetings at times, just to hear how the electrical inspection and finished carpentry was progressing. His activity on the overall project was long since done and over with, nonetheless, in the name of communication, he was required to attend. The fact that the meeting would never include any information he needed to hear was entirely lost on the meeting’s organizer. [Read more]

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Stranded by the tide, and the return of the water

Stranded by the tide
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Those of you who follow this blog regularly…yes, both of you….are well aware that I haven’t done much with the blog for a while. In fact, I haven’t done anything in over two months. Let’s just say, life’s been busy. We very often don’t know where we’re going, or even how we got where we are, and when we hit these low times it tends to feel as if we’re going to be stuck there forever. [Read more]

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Toy Dogs and the trouble with short-term thinking

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Last night was one of those unfortunate, frustrating nights in our house. At 3:10AM, the dog decided he needed to go out into the yard, which caused him to prance loudly around our bedroom until we woke up to let him out. Although he woke up both my wife & I, I was awake enough to get out of bed first (which rarely happens), so I let the dogs into the yard, brought them in, and went back to bed.

About 15 minutes later, before either of us could fully doze back to sleep, the 3-year-old started to cry in his bed. [Read more]

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The end of summer, and the return of blogging

End of summer
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With the return of fall, there is a return to routine, which has me feeling confident once again – and so I find myself eager to write posts like this for the blog.

Which has made me completely internalize something that I had, previously, only understood as a matter of intuition and the results of some logic exercise – that actively keeping up a person’s sense of pride, confidence and – most importantly – his/her sense of purpose - yields that thing all management gurus covet: engagement. [Read more]

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When habits go bad – walking the extra mile

Let_Your_Mind_Do_The_Walking_by_jzcj5
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Habit tells me that to get places without my car means I have to walk. If I rode my bike more often, the thought to get on the bike and ride down to the mechanic’s shop would have been as natural as the thought that tells me I have to put on shoes before I go out the door most mornings. Also, I could say, if I’d developed a better habit of stopping and thinking…to weigh alternatives….before doing….then I would have realized I didn’t need to hike all the way down to the shop. I might still have wanted to, but I would not have needed to.

So, in a way, my habits let me down. [Read more]

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