|No matter how many hurricane seasons I go through, I'll never get used to seeing the heartbreaking images of the aftermath. People who have lost so much, and in some cases, lost everything. It makes me so thankful for so many things.|
|I think it makes all of us, especially those of us in hurricane-prone areas, realize that could be us. That regardless of how much you prepare, water and wind almost always win. But, so does the heart and soul of Americans – always stepping up to help.|
|No kidding! There's always a critical need for donations – whether money, clothing, emergency supplies, the list seems endless. Which is why we focused on money and listed some great organizations in Ida … Don't Know What To Do.|
|Not only is sending money the fastest and easiest way to help, but when you focus on credible relief organizations with boots on the ground, they know best what is most needed and where.|
|Well, what I find most amazing is when I read about neighbors helping neighbors, especially when they define "neighbors" as people in neighboring states. Or, sometimes, many states away. It makes me realize that amidst all the bad news focused on how we've become a divided nation, there are still genuinely good people who don't think twice about helping others. Sometimes because they have needed expertise, other times because they're just willing to roll up their sleeves.|
|It is easy to be a fair-weather friend, but it takes a very special person to be a bad-weather hero.|
|I saw that first-hand during Hurricane Harvey when we found ourselves under a mandatory evacuation in Sugar Land, with only a few hours advance notice. A good friend became our hero when he took a major detour from his evacuation plans to get all of us (which included two teenagers, an almost 90-year-old woman, and two Labradoodles!) to Austin safely. He knew all the backroads, and seemingly their elevation, as for the first few hours until we could get out from under all the heavy rains, water went right up to the edge of the road, but we never got flooded.|
|And, I am sure those memories came flooding back (sorry, could not resist) when you were recently in Nashville getting Sawyer moved into college and got caught driving in heavy rain. It was not until later in the day that I learned there was severe flooding 60 miles away in Waverly. Regardless, I do know that you hate driving in the rain.|
|Luckily, Nashville escaped the worst of it, but we were carefully watching the local weather with great concern. The images and flooding were heartbreaking and scary, and brought back bad memories of flash floods in Texas. But I smiled when you sent me that article about the amazing helicopter pilot who, along with his fiancé, was alone in the sky rescuing people in Waverly during the deadly floods.|
|Talk about a real-life hero. Putting aside his safety to focus on helping as many people as he could. And, you know there will be many stories of heroics coming out of Hurricane Ida, not only along the Gulf Coast but also the devastating floods it has caused in the Northeast.|
|Absolutely. And they're stories we won't soon forget. I've read how so many people want to help the Cajun Navy and its Hurricane Ida efforts as a way of thanking them for all the help they gave Houston during Harvey.|
|They are amazing, but if you want to talk about memorable stories, it will be hard to beat Hurricane Ida's cow-saving good Samaritans!|
|The stories of people saving animals always touch my heart. Heroes really do show up wherever they're needed, don't they? But I can't help but wonder how they always seem to be at the right place at the right time.|
|That is a "belief" question, but I do know that technology and social media have helped. We may take issue with people feeling the need to always be connected, but in times of emergencies, it can be the difference between life and death. And, when it comes to matching people needing help with those wanting to give it, online organizations like CrowdSource Rescue are invaluable.|
|Well, it always warms my heart to see how people will come together, as they always do, to help each other in times of need.|
|Not to mention, all the unsung heroes that we will never hear about …|
When Red first heard Black talking about the importance of "soft skills," she didn't even know what she was referring to, let alone that they would be important to her life. So, Black explained that it was a term used to describe intangible but essential skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, communications, and conflict management.
Red, trying to be sarcastic, then asked if there was such a thing as “hard skills,” Black matter-of-factly told her those are tangible and technical skills such as computer skills.
Of course, Black couldn’t pass up an opportunity for sarcasm and explained that although there’s consensus about the importance of soft skills, there’s debate about what they should be called, with her favorite being the Texas Education Agency (TEA) calling them "21st Century Skills" – although she's old enough to remember they were important in the 20th Century, too.
But would anyone call them “Mom Skills”? Well, Red couldn’t help but remember the time Black told her, “Your job is every bit as demanding as a corporate position, and, in fact, you use many of the same skill sets.”Not something Red could ever have imagined, but it made sense once she better understood what soft skills are and how they are used. But then Black took it a step further,
Soft skills are transferable – between your personal life and the workplace (and from industry to industry). If you recognize that interpersonal relations have existed since Adam and Eve (or “caveman” days), and technical skills are constantly changing and there is no way to predict the careers of the future … it is easy to see why soft skills will always be needed.
It's funny, but now that Red’s familiar with soft skills, she not only recognizes them in day-to-day living but sees the impact they have (and the problems caused when they’re lacking). Our new website may not have SOFT SKILLS as a major section, but since it’s one of Black's passion projects, it will have a special place.
Until then, here are some of our favorite posts showing how soft skills affect us on a daily basis (OK, the Ferrari one about negotiating skills may not affect many people, but the message will):
- COLLEGE & SOFT SKILLS: My son’s going off to college but doesn’t know what he wants to study …
- COMMUNICATION: How Do You Communicate? Blah-Blah-Blah Or Bullet Points?
- CUSTOMER SERVICE: RED & BLACK … May I Help You?
- LEADERSHIP: RED & BLACK … Leaders All Around Us
- MOM SKILLS: Translating Mom Responsibilities
- PERSUASION SKILLS: The Fact Is … Don’t Use Facts
- NEGOTIATING SKILLS: A Perfect Day For A Convertible. And For Chutzpah.
- PROBLEM-SOLVING: One Person’s Problem … Is Another’s Challenge?!
- SPOT THE SOFT SKILLS: Selfish, Shallow … And Svelte?
Red was your typical straight-A student, getting great grades starting in kindergarten straight through to graduating from college.(Black’s grades were less than stellar, plus she was a discipline problem – some things never change.) And then, excited and proud of herself, Red thought she was done. Black, on the other hand, thinks of education as something that never ends, and much to the chagrin of students, will tell them,
Homework never ends; it just is called “research” when you get older.
Over the last few years, Red has come around to Black’s way of thinking and realizes it’s a mindset. And that education is more than the classes you take in school.
September is when students of all ages are back in school, but it’s also National Literacy Month, which is about so much more than reading and writing. Literacy includes things like Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Health Literacy, and even News Literacy. (As the linked Conversation Starters indicate, Red was the “poster child” of a highly educated person who lacked many of these basic literacy skills.)
So, we challenge you to find a topic that interests you or one you could benefit from learning (personally or professionally) and start doing your homework.
And while not a homework assignment, we figure if you’re still reading, you might be interested in some of our favorite “lifelong learning” posts (many of which helped Red learn about learning in a whole new way).
For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer (temperatures aside), and as we switch from a summer holiday mindset back to the “real world”, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed.
You don’t need us to tell you how falling back into a work or school routine can be challenging, especially if you’re facing a backlog of tasks and responsibilities. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the “silly season” is just around the corner. (Red has been seeing Halloween decorations since mid-July, which means Thanksgiving and all the winter holidays aren’t far behind.)
But you don’t need us to tell you why you feel overwhelmed; you need help dealing with being overwhelmed.
When our new website goes live next year, one of the major sections will be THE DAILY HELP, where you’ll find easy-to-implement tools to get your day back on track and feel more in control.
But that doesn’t help you … NOW. So, here are a handful of our favorite posts to help you deal with daily challenges we all face. (Red admits that she picked the ones she felt she needed to reread.)
- Black’s Time Management “Secret” ... Is Worth Repeating (Time Management)
- It's happened again ... I can’t see my desk there’s so much paper on it. Help! (Piles of Paper)
- How Do You Communicate? Blah-Blah-Blah Or Bullet Points? (Communication)
- Expect Reality, Not Perfection (Relationships)
- Don’t Confuse Time Alone With Time Away! (Stress)
P.S. – Wondering why we haven’t mentioned money? Well, stay tuned, as we’ll have a post dedicated to DOLLARS & SENSE in early November as we get closer to the holidays. (FYI, our subscribers get sneak peeks before we post online.)