Archive for April, 2011

Being Green

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

To quote one of my favorite characters from my childhood, “It’s not easy being green.”  In both personal and home life, it is quite often much easier not to be green.  Driving to the office, it takes less time to stop and purchase a coffee than it takes to brew a pot and fill a travel coffee mug.  Cleaning a spill off the floor, it is simpler to grab a handful of paper towels than it is to use a washcloth, which will need to be rinsed several times.  However, being green isn’t about what is easiest.

Last Friday was Earth Day, a holiday that has been celebrated for forty-one years.  Quite often, most of us are reminded of this day through a memo at work, a child’s activity at school, or a billboard on the side of the road.  And, a decent percentage of those who are aware make changes to their activities that day:  turning off lights when leaving rooms, using their travel mug for the day, or placing an empty soda can in a recycling bin instead of the trash.

However, being green should be more than a once per year event.  I know it’s not easy, but even little measures will make a difference.  In my home, we have switched from paper napkins to cloth napkins.  No, that effort alone won’t save a forest, but it is a start.  Plus, seeing the cloth napkins helps to make us mindful of other disposable items we use and that we should not be wasteful.

There are many ways to start being green.  One great way is drying your clothes on a clothesline.  With the arrival of warm, spring weather, why not head outside when doing those indoor chores?  Another way to add a little green-ness to your life is to plant a garden.  Not only will you have fresh produce, you also will eliminate the need to travel to the store to buy fruits and veggies.  If you don’t get these items at the store, you won’t use (and throw out) those plastic produce bags, making this beneficial for multiple reasons.

Yes, Kermit was right.  It may not be easy, but it is worth the effort to try and be green.  If I haven’t convinced you, maybe this article will help steer you in that direction.

Creativity

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

One of my favorite board games is Taboo.  Working in pairs, one partner needs to make his or her partner say a certain word.  However, there is a list of four words that cannot be used as clues, all of which are words typically associated with the word.  Thus, the clue-giver needs to think creatively to produce clues, which is why I love this game.  It encourages creativity, which to me is an important skill.

Creativity can be used in many applications.  Painting a picture or writing a poem can be a fun way to exercise your creativity.  It also can be used to solve problems, both big and small.  Whether it is figuring out how to convince a toddler that a nap is a good idea or selling a new compensation plan to your board of directors, creativity is a useful tool.

While creativity may not be able to be taught, it can be encouraged.  On our parenting site, one of our columnists wrote about an all-important toy that children should have.  Neither motorized nor flashy, this toy can entertain for hours and encourage children to use their imaginations.

On the other end of the childhood spectrum, some college students had a creative solution for their school newspaper.  When told that a certain article could not be a headline, they found a way to attract attention to the story nonetheless.

Whether you are two or ninety-two, creativity should be an important part of your day.  As Carl Jung noted, “Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth.  The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.”

The Value of a Win

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

This past weekend I attended a gymnastics meet in which my daughter was competing.  Watching the numerous gymnasts perform routines on the floor, bars, beam, and vault was impressive and enjoyable.  Of course, some routines were better than others; it was a competition, a chance to determine who was the best.  After all routines were complete and scores were tallied, the winners were announced by age category. . .with some going to the 16th place.  16th place?  How is that a rank worthy of recognizing?

The all important need to recognize each and every individual in a contest has been growing for years.  While I appreciate that we need to consider self-esteem, I wonder how do children learn to lose.  In life, there are winners and losers.  I have had my share of losses, but from each one I have learned and grown.  So, why don’t we want to teach that to children?

I see this “everybody wins” line of thinking in the world of publishing also.  Quite often I receive offers to write product reviews.  Of course, these aren’t product reviews; they are requests to write a glowing review of a product in return for a payment.  The product’s company receives good press (win), and the publishing company receives money (win).  However, is that really a win for the reader?  So, the policy at Wasabi Media Group is to write only honest reviews.  We don’t accept payments, though we will accept a free sample with the understanding that we will write a review that reflects the quality of the product, which means not all companies want our reviews.

In the world of WMG, there are reviews that are positive, such as this movie review, and  there are reviews that are less than positive, such as the review of this movie.  Although both reviews are not wins for the movie itself, they are wins for our readers who receive objective appraisals.

Everyone and everything cannot be a winner.  So, maybe it is best to be honest about this, learn what makes something be a winner, and make improvements from there.

Spring Fever

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Do you feel an incredible urge to be outdoors?  Do brisk walks and bike rides seem more tempting than usual?  Perhaps you, like many others (myself included) have a case of spring fever.  As I look out my office window and gaze at the nearly cloudless sky and snow-free street, I anticipate heading outside without multiple layers of outerwear.

With the return of warmer weather, many feel encouraged to renew a healthy lifestyle.  Goodbye to hearty stews and breads for those cold winter days, and hello to salads and lean, grilled meats.  The season of warmth does seem to encourage all of us to return to a wholesome regimen for our bodies.

If you’re questioning how or where to start, we have a myriad of articles that will be of assistance.  Perhaps adding a little quinoa to your diet would be a good beginning for your nutritional journey.  If quinoa isn’t quite your thing, there are many other diet and nutrition articles at your disposal.  Want to get started on a new fitness regimen?  Starting with a walking program may be a good idea.

Spring fever may be one of the few fevers you want to catch.  So, once you have it, be sure to make the most of its inspiration.

Inspire. Inform. Engage.