Aug 252015


A Mom I know told me she was feeling stressed because her parents did not “approve of” her approach to her elementary school-aged son’s less than stellar grades. As the conversation unfolded she shared a number of important thoughts.

She was proud of her child.  According to Mom, the young “offender” was:

– kind and compassionate
– a bundle of energy
– very curious and interested in learning
– socially motivated, with great people skills to match
– fairly disinterested in grades

The “prevailing wisdom” — both from her in-laws and several elementary school teachers — was that this “live wire” should be grounded from sports, outdoor breaks and extra-curricular activities until his marks improved. This Mom disagreed.

“I know people think that I’m  far too easy on him, that he’s lazy, and that I’m making excuses that enable poor school performance.  I just can’t figure out how to turn teachers’ comments into a currency that’s meaningful for him.  And, I still think, if you’re trying to raise a life-long-learner, education needs to be its own reward. Am I wrong?”

Perspective is an interesting thing.  Is this kiddo reflecting his Mom’s values?  Clearly she did not consider test scores or grades the holy grail of learning.  She worried that turning the whole grade thing into a battle of wills would have a detrimental effect on her child’s considerable curiosity and desire to learn.

“Maybe I’m wrong but I think that punishing him because he learns differently will do a lot more harm than being a ‘C’ student ever could,” she said.

In an era that sees parents challenging students’ grades on behalf of their kids this is an unusual attitude. A child appears to be performing below potential and receives grades that reflect that reality.  Isn’t that as it should be?

What do you think? Is she being short-sighted?  Limiting her child’s future opportunities by not demanding high scores?  Or is she choosing her battles wisely and  accepting her child as is, regardless of the opinions — and grading standards —  of others?


Aug 112015

Brian Tracy

This is a wonderful, warm, inspiring book for every parent who wants his/her child to fulfill his/her full potential in life. 

—Brian Tracy, author, How to Raise Happy, Self-Confident Children

 August 11, 2015  Posted by  E, Feedback, Parenting No Responses »
Aug 112015

yellow tweety bird

It has been almost six years since a friend convinced me to add Twitter to my social media mix and I’m glad she did.  It’s my favorite medium for connecting with new people and, when I pay attention to my feed (and keep it balanced), it’s a great way to learn about new books and technology. I also use it to listen in on political, professional and spiritual discussions. I’m intrigued by what lights people up.

As an enthusiastic user I’ve fallen into a bit of a training niche: I call it “social media for gray hairs.”  I’ve held some seminars but, more often than not, it’s one-to-one tutoring.  Sometimes it’s a rush: it’s great to see author-friends suck up their fear, follow a few simple instructions and grab on to another way to connect with the readers they love.

Other times it’s absolutely maddening:  no matter how much people don’t know, they want to argue. To do it their way. And, since this is often a volunteer gig, I get annoyed.

The good news?  The last go-round made me remember my three best Twitter tips for beginners.

1) Be nice. What does that mean on Twitter?  Pretty much the same thing it means IRL (in real life).  If someone follows you, say, “thank you.” If another user compliments you? Same thing.  Ask you a question? Answer. Give you a suggestion? Try it.

2) It’s not about the freakin’ #.  I know… you “hate that number sign thingy.” (For the record, it’s called a “hashtag” and it’s used to make something more readily “searchable” so we can all find conversations we’d like to follow or join.) But for now? Fuggedaboudit.  Social media is about being “social” — about making connections.  Start with that. Get to know people. Dust off your copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People. Show genuine interest, ask questions.  Use the magic words. If one of your online connections is doing something cool?  Share it.  Retweet the living heck out of it.  Become an online cheerleader.  It’s a very nice thing to do. Remember rule #1?  Be nice.

3) Remember your manners.  If I “follow” you on Twitter it means I’d like to learn more about you and what you have to say.  You’ll show up in my Twitter stream from time to time and that’s how it will happen.For the love of everything you care about please do NOT send me a DM (direct message) the moment I follow you. Do not ask me to join your Facebook page, subscribe to your newsletter or donate money to your cause. It’s creepy and stalker-y. Take some time to develop a relationship before you ask for a next step, just like in real life.

You know: just be nice.

I’d love to hear your favorite social media story or tip. Please leave a comment? Thanks!


 August 11, 2015  Posted by  E, Happiness, Thinking Tagged with: ,  13 Responses »
Aug 072015


Take the goal of educating and inspiring young people… add hard work, persistence and integrity and you have What Kids Need to Succeed: a book that supports the JA mission and helps parents raise successful adults.  —David S.  Chernow, President & CEO, Junior Achievement Worldwide


 August 7, 2015  Posted by  E, Feedback No Responses »