June 29, 2009

It's not about cash… it's about cachet

Last week I went from my house in Portland up to Port Townsend, Washington - where, in something like a former life, I had refurbished a sailboat that I planned to, and did, sail to the South Pacific.

Walking this familiar ground I realized that if I ever again ended up dirt poor I would want to do it on a boat.

The thing about a boat and a boat yard is that admiration and sense of achievement is not related to what you own, but is about what you have done.  It's also about what you plan to do.

In a boatyard your future is a blank slate upon which you can write a world voyage or you can write survival of a perfect storm.   It's a place of legend.  The only thing that doesn't cut it, in a boatyard, is paying someone else to live your legend.

The boat folk have more regard for the paid captain of a large sailing boat than they have for the man who owns the boat and pays the captain.  That's because if you sat down to dinner with the man who sails that boat you would get a more interesting tale to go with the food.  He will have more interesting real-life experience.

Kids know this, too.  That's why they want to climb that scary-high rock or to parachute out of the airplane.  They may not want to do it more than once, but kids know that having challenging experiences makes them and their lives special.

The job of the parent is not to "keep them safe" but to help them survive to take on the next challenge.  It's not an easy job.  When I was out by myself, sailing through a storm, it was easy to be brave.  My decisions affected only me and my boat.  I got the opportunity of setting a plan in place and watching its effectiveness - or not.  I did a lot of growing on that journey.

Kids need to grow in that way, too.  If we protect them from all danger they will never learn to use caution properly.  They will never learn to assess risk - because they will never meet a risk that seems real to them. There is a tremendous sense of pride and control in overcoming risk.  We should not, must not, deny that confidence to our children.  Let them climb that forty-foot tree, let them climb that rock wall.  By facing the risks they will grow and you will too.

Filed under education, teaching adult skills by tcv

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June 23, 2009

Turn off your TV!

Recently I went to pick up the child of a friend from after school daycare.  I arrived at the tidy brick building, empty playground out front, and went inside.  There I was met by a frightening vision.  The place was an amphitheater in the middle of which sat a huge television.  The children were lounging around, slack-jawed and inactive, watching some uninspired, "children's programming."  

Now, my family doesn't have a television in our house, so I was unprepared for the vision.  You should not have a television in your house either and here are six reasons why not:

• TV is a waste of time.

According to Eldon Taylor, author of the book "Mind Programming" (Link to Amazon) children not yet in school watch approximately 60 hours of television a week.  Obviously, this is an average, but it's a shocking amount of time.  If we consider that competence in a given pursuit takes about 2000 hours, the time little kids spend watching tv in one year is enough time to make them competent to a professional level in some pursuit.

• TV Promotes obesity.

Watching television is a completely passive pursuit.  A study done in 1985 found that the incidence of obesity in children increased by 2% for every hour of television watched per day by children over the age of four - 6% per additional hour for little ones under the age of four.   You can practically see the little kids fattening before your eyes!

• Attention Deficit problems.

A study done in 2004 showed that if little kids, ages one to three, watched a lot of television (between two and four hours per day) they were 28% more likely to develop attention deficit problems by age seven.  This might be because the  fast changes in image and sound habituate them to short attention cycles when they are very young.

• TV is mind control.

Very small children perceive everything as real.  Television gives them a stream of images and sounds that substitutes for real experience, suggesting that they need all sorts of products and giving a synthetic world view.  

• TV promotes a violent world view and violent behavior.  

I gave up watching television about twenty years ago.  At the time I stopped watching I was habituated to the level of violence and suggestive behavior that was acceptable then.  Recently, a friend suggested that I might like to watch a certain prime-time network television show, so I purchased a season of the show on DVD.  I was unable to watch more than two episodes of that show because of the level of extreme violence and peril depicted.  Each network competes with the others and each year the levels of sensation increase.  If you watch regularly you don't necessarily notice the change.

• TV is input-only and contains no creative component

Unlike audio only programming (like being read to) which requires listener visualization, being subjected to hours of audio and visual input moves the viewer into a passive state, turns off the mind and the imagination.  Then, when more entertainment is desired, the habit is to turn the television back on instead of picking up toys or a book.  So television watching becomes an addictive behavior.  

• TV's sole purpose is to promote consumption and therefore a feeling of privation.

 The global financial picture, over the last year, has not been pretty.  While it isn't fair to blame the worldwide financial crisis on the influence of television, it is true that many individuals were tempted into that second or third mortgage on the house in order to acquire the lifestyles and possessions suggested by the advertising on television.  What makes them think they need a motorcycle  AND a boat, and that new camera and a bigger television and that great tropical vacation?

For me the penny dropped when I was traveling in the UK in the early 80s.  There was a discussion on BBC radio about providing televisions to people who couldn't afford the licensing fees.  TV was considered a basic necessity of life.  Now when governments decide a thing is necessary to the lives of their people we should look very closely at the merits of that thing.  When television is a "basic necessity" we should wonder why.

For more reasons to turn off (or better yet, throw away) your tv, visit limittv.org

Filed under Uncategorized by tcv

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June 19, 2007

When do you spend time with your kids?

Since writing the book BeDoHave about finding happiness several years ago, I have spent thousands of hours thinking about and in conversation with people about the subject of being happy.

What makes us happy, how do we become unhappy, how do we be happy when there is nothing to be happy about… that kind of stuff.

As a husband and father - (and therefore by default the provider) - many times happiness seems tied to my ability to fulfill these roles. In other words if the family is provided for and is happy - then I am happy.

If you have completed the “Definitions of Success” exercises (given away for signing up for the blog), then you know it is impossible to base success - or happiness on something out of your control. Nor do I believe we should base on happiness on others.

Four years ago we bought some expensive dirt outside Atlanta and proceeded to build a dream. More on When do you spend time with your kids?

Filed under Success, education by Miami

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June 10, 2007

Share your opinion?

I am reading an interesting book I found lying on our coffee table. It's about the Australian Aborigines.

This is not my first introduction to this magnificent race, but it is my first introduction to a novel idea about them and their society I think we all could benefit to understand.

The following few paragraphs are paraphased from the book Voices of the First Day by Robert Lawlor.

Before the advent of agriculture, the world was populated with hunter/gatherers. These peoples (like the American Indians and the Aborigines) owned no property, worshiped the Earth that provided all, and cared for everyone in the tribe.

In the hunter/gatherer society. they spent 2-3 hours a day hunting and gathering which produced a more balanced, varied and nutritious diet than our agricultural society ever has.

In the meantime we now spend 12-14 hours per day racing the clock to maintain and service our material existence as the agricultural and industrial society in which we live have created this glut of material goods and great poverty of time.

The introduction of the agricultural age brought to the Earth and her peoples environmental destruction, constant warfare, starvation, and moral and social decline. This came about in the need for 'civilized' people to 'help' others by bringing 'civilization' to them. Could we every be so lucky as the American Indian to be civilized by some superior culture…

Interesting way to look at it hmmm?

I find this so interesting in two different ways .

This first is that is ties in nicely with BeDoHave. I have always said that Being is most important and Having is least important.

The second is that I have become somewhat uncomfortable with the amount of time I am taking to sustain our lifestyle compared to the time I spend with my family and on cultural pursuits. That is - continuing personal growth and development and sharing that path with others along the way.

In fact while in southwest Florida this last week with my two sons and their Scout group, I spent some time looking at live aboard sailboats. We are thinking the way of life we had aboard a small boat traveling wherever, meeting whoever, and doing whatever allowed for a much more rewarding life than climbing any social or monetary ladder.

I ask you. Think of your life as it is. How much time are you spending just servicing and maintaining a lifestyle at the expense of family and true cultural pursuits?

I assure you there are many folks who would love to hear your story.

Please share it?


Filed under Success by Miami

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May 9, 2007

Family time is crucial

I wrote the book BeDoHave - The Cure the Great Unknown American Epidemic almost three years ago now. Thousands have heard the message contained within and have told me it works for them.

Over the winter I found myself falling back on Doing Having Being! And my life changed dramatically - for the worse!

Once I saw what I was doing and changed it back to Being first - it took a very short time to restore the equilibrium I need in my life. My energy returned, my happiness level soared back to previous level.

(Hang on - there is a point to this story!)

If you have read much of my articles over the last five years, you are aware Shelly and I built a sailboat to live on for six years. I loved it. We decided when our first son was 5 to come back from the Carribbean, sell the boat and make lots of money. More on Family time is crucial

Filed under Success by Miami

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April 29, 2007

Empowering a 15 year old…

One of the most challenging areas of parenting for me is teaching responsibility and accountability. In my career as a small business coach and consultant I consistantly discover this is the most often missing element in a business. I am convinced if a greater percentage of people understood the importance of empowerment (accountabillity and responsibility) - the world would be a much greater place! More on Empowering a 15 year old…

Filed under teaching adult skills by Miami

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April 19, 2007

More on kids success…

What do kids really need to know to be successful?

Of course the first question that comes to my mind is -What makes a kid successful?

Should we not answer the second question first?

In my opinion, if someone is doing what they love to do with passion and excitement, and they are not pretending to be something or somebody they are not - then they are successful.

Notice the words 'money', 'job', 'career', 'profession' are not in my definition of success.

How does that affect you? What is your opinion of success for your kids?

Click on comments and add yours. We really do want to hear them!


Filed under Success, education by Miami

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April 13, 2007

One of those days…

Everyone has them - those horrible, terrible, no good, very bad days.

I sat down with Tommy for his reading lesson. We are working our way through Engelmann's Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Tommy loves books, and wants badly to access all their secrets. He will sit for hours paging through books he can't really read, looking at diagrams and pictures trying to understand what's written there. Some days, he loves his reading lessons, and wants to do two or even three at a sitting. Other days (like yesterday) he does everything he can think of to sabotage the process and make it miserable for both of us. More on One of those days…

Filed under education by Charles

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April 12, 2007

Push Them to Success?

Searching the Internet brought me to this quote from the Detroit Press in 2005

"The prevailing attitude is that children should be nudged, not pushed; nurtured, not nagged; encouraged to find their own way in an environment of low pressure and low expectations. But that doesn't produce nearly the results as a firm hand on the shoulder and the parental command of, "Go this way."

Few children are getting that sort of direction from their parents, according to the Your Child survey of Michigan residents aged 18-30, conducted by EPIC-MRA.

Only 30 percent of the young adults say their parents insisted on them going to college. Those children didn't rebel, as the popular parenting wisdom suggests.

Instead, they were more likely to earn a college degree and land in jobs that make them happier and pay them more than those with hands-off parents."

I can't disagree more. More on Push Them to Success?

Filed under education by Miami

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April 10, 2007

Learning all the time

We love home schooling our kids, JJ age 8 and Tommy age 6. Everything we do seems to turn out to be a learning experience (for the kids and the parents!)

Take Easter morning, for example. It was almost like a flashback from a Numb3rs episode… More on Learning all the time

Filed under Uncategorized by Charles

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Super Successful kids is the work of two dads who want to learn and share ways to empower the coming leaders of our world!