People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


What's so heartbreaking about this situation, besides the photos of the thousands of people trying to flee the country, is that the people, especially women, who've had a taste of the freedoms they've historically been denied, have no idea what the future now holds.

I've always loved history and believe that you can't understand current situations and challenges without understanding the past. And Afghanistan is no exception. And while I'm definitely not an expert on that part of the world, I believe that it's critical to recognize that the country has always been a "tribal society" with allegiance to those tribes stronger than to any centralized government. That may explain why the British left after their "unsuccessful" war, as did the Soviets, and now us. In addition, although it's human nature to believe how you do things is the "right way" and everyone else is doing it "wrong" (that's how my Mom treats me about everything!), when it comes to countries and types of government, that doesn't mean you'll be able to force people to see it your way, or even if you do, that they're prepared to do it.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


I know that the politics and accusations about our involvement in the war, and now our exit, are another example of how divided our elected officials have become, and the media feeds on it. But, I am guessing, prior to the U.S. announcing we were leaving, our presence in Afghanistan wasn't something most people even thought about, let alone discussed. (I feel it is important that we acknowledge the brave men and women of the U. S. Armed Forces who displayed courage and commitment in fighting this war and sacrificed so much – and, for some, they made the ultimate sacrifice.)

And, I cannot help but wonder what the "backward plan" was for this war, if there even was one. The U.S. government was clear on why we started and what they wanted to accomplish, but did they ever really plan for how to exit? People know how to plan to accomplish something but rarely think about the "then what" … and it seems every President realized there was no clean way out, and seemed to just "kick the can down the road" and leave it for the next guy.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • What can you learn from history? Do you believe history repeats itself?
  • Do you think all countries should be democracies? Explain your answer. And what challenges might a country transitioning to a democracy face?
  • Should we honor our military regardless of what we think of any given situation? Why or why not?

Shortly after Rich Strike, the surprise 2022 Kentucky Derby champion won (what a Cinderella story), Red made a passing comment to Black about the need to prove that his victory wasn’t a fluke. She should’ve known she’d get a list of Black’s beloved bullet points in return, pointing out what we’ve already learned,

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Summertime can be a double-edged sword (is that expression still used?!) to parents of school-age children. We know having more and longer (yes, I’m talking sunlight, but some days seem like way more than 24 hours) days that your kids are around can be both wonderful and challenging. That’s why a little bit of thought and planning to create a simple (and realistic) list of ideas can make the difference between a summer you’ll never forget and a summer you hope never to repeat. The funny thing is that as I re-read my list, I realized it applies to kids home from college and even empty-nesters.

When I suggested to Black that we have a checklist or menu of items to amuse or, at least, occupy kids over the summer (something that almost every parent with kids home on summer break searches for every year), I thought my work was already done as I'd pull out the list I created years ago for my daughters. Except that I forgot it had been on a computer that no longer exists, and although a copy might be somewhere in a stack of filing, I'd have to start over. Which turned out to be a good thing …

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People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I know that everyone laughs at our “Assets and Liabilities” story and how I freaked out at the mere mention of personal finance, saying you were the MBA and I was the theater major. So, when you first said “financial statements,” I was intimidated. But when you said we’d start with “assets and liabilities,” I completely lost it. I calmed down when you simplified it to “what you own” vs. “what you owe” and knew I could do that, just not assets and liabilities. How was I supposed to know they were the same thing?!

Later on, I realized that it was the terminology, not the concepts, that was causing the problem. That I was creating mental roadblocks and becoming my own worst enemy. I’ll admit that understanding what previously had been intimidating words and phrases did boost my self-confidence. Although what makes it even funnier is that I had been a straight-A student and prided myself on my vocabulary.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Your vocabulary is probably larger than mine, and you do like to use, and sometimes overuse, “50-cent words." (And, I was shocked to learn that you have never played Scrabble.) The words we use reflect our background, interests, and even what we like to read – you have always enjoyed historical and biographical books, whereas I gravitate toward business and car magazines, which may explain why I am more comfortable with terminology and technical information that you. Not to mention, when I first started working in the oil and gas industry and with legal contracts and agreements, I had to learn what felt like a foreign language.

Regardless, you are never too young or too old to increase your vocabulary. And, it is about more than just new words as it also develops your communication skills because it lets you express yourself more clearly and concisely (well, maybe not you), and improves your reading and listening comprehension. And, it even helps your critical thinking and problem-solving skills as it expands your ability to process information.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • Have you ever felt like Red – frustrated and overwhelmed by terminology (vs. concepts)? If so, what was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  • What do you do if someone uses a word or term you do not understand? What are the advantages and disadvantages of (politely) asking them the meaning?
  • Do you think a large vocabulary is a sign of intelligence or education/experience? Explain your answer.
  • Why is it important to become familiar with terminology and vocabulary used in your area of interest? What is the best way to acquire that knowledge?