Archive for March, 2011

Shopping

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The title of this article may trigger a reaction of anxiety, delight, or impartiality.  I fall into the middle category; shopping never has felt burdensome, not even grocery shopping.  While there are certain types of shopping that are more pleasurable than others, there really is none that I dread.  In fact, as  a parent, I have looked at shopping as a tool with which to teach my children.

Obviously, shopping is an excellent way to teach your children about money.  Not only can you explain the value of coins and bills through shopping, but as they get older you can educate them about credit and debit cards.  Plus, it is a good way to teach budgeting, wants, needs, and more.  For more advice on shopping as a form of money education, check out this week’s Shopping Secrets article.

Shopping also can be a way to teach manners.  When shopping with your child, remind him to use please and thank you when speaking with clerks.  It also is a great way to teach gratitude.  When buying splurge items that are not a necessity, such as a pair or earrings, make sure that you teach your child to thank you.  Help her to understand that an item like this is not a need but a special treat.  Shopping also can teach about disappointment and how to handle it appropriately.  Perhaps the shoes your child wanted are not available in his size; that’s a teachable moment.  See how one of our teen writers handles disappointments when shopping.

Finally, shopping can be used as a reward or a fun excursion, if your child enjoys shopping.  With teenagers, it’s an easy way to connect for a couple hours.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to buy your child’s attention.  An afternoon of window shopping and a soda make a great time spent.

Yes, shopping can be viewed as a necessity, but it also has much more to offer.

Spring Has Sprung

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Spring’s arrival in New England is a bit deceiving.  According to my calendar, winter is over.  The robins have arrived en masse, another sign of spring’s presence.  However, the weather seems to dispute that fact, as we welcomed spring with a delightful mix of snow, rain, and sleet on Monday.  Our current forecast calls for more snow tonight and tomorrow.  Not quite what you envision when you contemplate spring.

Although at this point in the year I am ready for warmer temperatures, flip flops, and open windows, this colder weather and precipitation is part of the package deal of living in the northeast.  Yes, I’ve had enough of being cold every time I walk outside.  But if I look at it objectively, I know that I appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring more because of the cold and dreariness of a long winter.

As I anticipate the true arrival of spring, there are spring-like ways to bide my time.  Adding a little color in your window boxes, shopping for a backpack for spring hikes, and planning some spring break fun are all options to keep my thoughts sunny while winter still tries to hold its grasp on us.

Classics

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

This past weekend I watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  Released in 1939, this movie is a classic in its own right, having won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story.  It also has been named to top 100 movies lists numerous times by the American Film Institute.

Besides the fact that this movie is over seventy years old and has won many awards, what makes it a classic?  For me, it is a storyline that still rings true, even seven decades later.  In fact, I’m certain if I could encourage a handful of teenagers to put down their tech devices and ignore the fact that it’s a black and white film, they would appreciate the themes of corporate greed and political corruption.

Of course, not all classics are from the early half of the 1900s.  Quite frequently one can see newer works of art, literature, music, and film that are labeled as modern classics.  While it is tempting to discount such terminology, there may be value to it.  In a society where innovation happens constantly, it seems that a book that holds favor or a band that still produces popular music after twenty years may be worthy of the title of modern classic.

This week our writers have brought some modern classics to light.  In the field of music, we have R.E.M., a band that has been around since 1980. Just last week they released their fifteenth album, which has received positive reviews.  From the land of gaming comes Civilization V.  Existing in a field where new games are released daily, making it to your fifth version in twenty years is quite an accomplishment.

Of course, there are plenty of classics available for our enjoyment, such as Frank Sinatra’s music.  However, don’t let a few less years discourage you from checking out some of the newly minted classics.

Greed

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Recently, I read The Pearl by John Steinbeck.  It is one of those classics that I somehow missed through school assignments and that had not caught my eye as a personal choice.  I am glad that I finally have added this novel to my ever-growing list of books I have read.  Although it is short in length, The Pearl reminds the reader of the ills that come with greed.  Not until there is a tragic loss does Kino, the protagonist, realize how greed has overcome him.

Living in a time where there can be great amounts of disposable income, or at least credit cards to use in the same fashion, we don’t always think about making the best choices.  If there is cash or credit available, just make the purchase; don’t consider whether it can be done more efficiently or less expensively.  On our environmental publication, Be Green Info, one of our writers discusses options for ink cartridge replacements.  Her suggestions will not only save money but also benefit the planet.

Switching from choices that affect the environment to choices that affect a country, it does seem fitting to mention an article on Camp Campaign.  With the potential shutdown of the government looming, another one of our writer offers an excellent suggestion that may help Congress put things into perspective.

Maybe a reading of The Pearl should be recommended to all.  Don’t think of only of the bigger, better, more expensive, think also about what you have and what you really need.

Surprises

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Surprises happen on a daily basis, ranging from tiny occurrences to major events.  Regardless to size, they are all worthy of noticing.  Sometimes they take on the delightful form of a gift, and other times it merely is noticing a change.  However, surprise is part of what makes each day interesting.

I think most of my days are filled with surprising events, some more easily recognized.  On a recent Friday, I was in the midst of a workout with music and thoughts filling my mind when my teenage son sauntered down the stairs to ask a question.  Needless to say, his presence was a scream-worthy surprise, as I was in my own world.  Later in the day a package arrived, addressed to my husband.  Imagine my delighted surprise to discover the package was for me!  A present for no reason is a wonderful surprise.  Finally, when returning to the desk in my home office, it made me smile to find an “I love you” left on the blotter by my teenage daughter.

Surprises are everywhere, obviously some more shocking and some more exciting than others, but all of them add detail to our days.  Some of the best surprises can be from simply learning a new fact or making a new friend.

At WMG, we have found several surprises this week.  From a television show that made more of an impression than the reviewer had imagined to a series of surprising sporting events to a sipping beverage that proved to be quite enjoyable.

Remember to look for surprises, they are bound to be lurking in your world.

Inspire. Inform. Engage.