Learning For Life

Afghanistan – Starting Is Easier Than Stopping

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.


  • 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?

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".

No one likes to feel out of control, unprepared, and scared. But as Red will tell you, life can change in an instant (whether it’s a crisis impacting many or one that seems very personal). She’ll also tell you that when everything seems so negative, it’s difficult to have a positive mindset (or even a non-emotional perspective) …

Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io

In some ways, it seems like decades ago that my husband got fired, in other ways it seems like yesterday. I felt then so many of the same emotions that people are going through today due to the coronavirus. I was so scared. And unprepared. At the time, I thought he'd work for the company where he had been for years until he retired, and by then we'd have a second home and would live happily ever after. I never thought anything would change that plan. Everything was perfect, until my life, literally overnight, became a living nightmare.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Yes, and as I told you at the time … you needed to calm down. I said that a lot. Still do. Anyway, I remember telling you to take a deep breath … and that you would get through it. And, you did. Although you constantly questioned whether you had the ability to do so.

  • Your life can change in an instant. Can you be prepared? How can you plan for the unknown?
  • What are other unplanned life events?

It’s hot and humid, and we’re all tired and cranky. But if there are kids involved (and even if there aren’t) and you’re looking for something to get you through what’s left of the summer before school starts, check out my list below. (The funny thing is, even though it’s a few years old, it still applies. I guess some things never change.) And who knows, some of them just might have you feeling like a kid again, too.

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 …

Keep Reading ...Show less

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’ll admit that I hate technology and prefer to keep my ostrich head in the sand. But although I’ve slowly gotten better and try not to immediately default into freakout mode, all this talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) not only confuses me but scares me. It reminds me of the 1968 movie “2001 A Space Odyssey,” the computer named HAL, and the potential of machines to harm vs. help us. (Yes, I’m being a bit dramatic, but then again, maybe not …)

Black and I have talked about how it can be used to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, like cancer, but wherever there’s opportunity for good, there can also be bad actors. And it’s all happening so incredibly fast as it seems like there’s some new development almost daily, and I don’t want to have to understand it, let alone learn how to use it.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

It is already impacting society, and although many people play with it like a toy, early adopters see its value as a powerful tool – for good and evil. It does not help that the “Godfather of AI”, as well as one of the creators of ChatGPT (a leading AI system where users can pose questions), are warning us of the potential dangers of the technology and the need to slow things down and have guardrails in place.

It is critical to remember that denial does not change reality.

AI will become increasingly important for businesses that want to stay competitive and will dramatically impact the labor market by automating some tasks. But, it will mean critical thinking skills will be more important than ever. And, as AI becomes more integrated into our personal lives, it will be essential for us to understand the basics – both what it can and cannot do.


  • What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? How does AI “learn” (get its information)?
  • Does AI scare or excite you? Why?
  • What are the benefits of AI? What are the challenges or risks associated with AI?
  • Do you think AI will impact you personally and/or professionally? If so, how do you plan to be prepared?