|Well, the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was over a month ago, but I still see plenty of articles about it. It's really "stirred up" things in the Royal Family.|
|Well, I guess it put "a bee in the royal bonnet." Although, I would not believe everything you read. Right after the interview, I read several articles suggesting the monarchy should end with Queen Elizabeth. I cannot imagine that happening.|
|Oh, that isn't anything new. It's been going on for a long time; there was even talk of it when I lived in England decades ago. All the interview did was further encourage those who are already advocating it.|
|At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but as I said in our Banter Bite, Talk About Getting The Royal Treatment, the Royal Family does seem to have "issues" in terms of race relations and dealing with mental illness. I can understand why people are questioning whether the monarchy, with its "old-fashioned" traditions and beliefs, is still relevant.|
|But it's not like that's the only place those issues exist. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on the news – it's everywhere! Unfortunately, the Oprah interview put a very public face on it – The Royal Family, or The Firm, which is how the family and institution refers to itself.|
|Who nicknames themselves The Firm? It sounds like a Netflix series, but with less class than " The Crown."|
|It always reminds me of one of my favorite Tom Cruise movies, "The Firm," based on the John Grisham novel. Anyway, I admit I love Tudor history, but I'm certainly no expert on the history of the British monarchy or Royal Family. But nicknames aside, I do think they serve an important purpose.|
|Especially in terms of money. It is big business, which may explain the nickname. According to a recent Forbes article, the amount of money they bring in (primarily due to tourism) is estimated to contribute $2.7 billion a year to the U.K. economy (pre-pandemic). That makes the $550 million cost of running The Firm a smart investment.|
|Wow! Those are some pretty big numbers. And leave it to you to have a financial perspective, but that wasn't what I was thinking about. I was thinking that during the 20 th Century, the Royal Family played an invaluable role in getting a nation to pull together, and stay together, as they fought not one, but two, World Wars.|
|I defer to you when it comes to history, but that was a long time ago. World War II ended in 1945. How is that relevant today?|
|Sometimes the mere existence of a well-established institution, and its pomp and circumstance, can remind people that they're a part of something bigger than themselves. That there's a history that binds you. In this case, as a country. I believe the Royal Family creates unity amongst the British people, including all its territories, around the world.|
|Maybe during the last century, but I do not think that holds true today. Just look at how the British have reacted to the Oprah interview. It shows how opinions are strongly polarized, and instead of creating unity, it is now causing division. In many ways, it is similar to the polarization caused by Trump. And although he is no longer president, the polarization of the American people remains.|
|That's an interesting analogy, but it does point out how far the American political system has changed. It used to be, by and large, about public service. Back when I was in college, the best and the brightest went into politics. Now, I feel that for so many politicians, it's just a job.|
|A well-paying job with good benefits that can lead to many other opportunities. I am sure some are still doing it for public service, but the funny thing is that there are so many other ways to make a difference – including in the business sector, and working for non-profits.|
|Which is what Prince Harry and Meghan say they're going to do. I appreciate they don't have to be part of the Royal Family to make a difference, but members of the Royal Family were always looked upon as great role models. They represented values that were worth trying to emulate – commitment, love of country, honor. And I think Queen Elizabeth still does.|
|What about the others in the Royal Family? Do they just not care about the issues facing "commoners" or are they merely out-of-touch? And, do you think it is possible to take something as old and established as the monarchy and make it relevant in today's world?|
|Too many questions all at once, but I think the Royal Family can play an important role. But it will take everyone being committed to the "bigger picture" and re-focusing on public service – not roles and titles. I know that Prince Charles has waited his entire life to be King, but in many ways, I think the Royal Family stands the best chance of survival if Prince William was to reign, as he represents a more modern Great Britain.|
|I know nothing about Prince William, but know it is not a function of age – but of mindset. Finding balance between your position of royalty – where you are Head of State but must remain neutral with respect to political matters – and yet understanding the challenges facing society. And, although not making the rules, setting an example.|
|Which is why, as I alluded to in my More Than Just A (Royal) Family Feud post, it's too bad that Prince Harry and Meghan aren't still "working members" of the Royal Family. I think they could've brought a much-needed reflection of modern society into The Firm.|
|Well, I do not wish anything but the best for Queen Elizabeth, but it will be interesting to see what happens to The Firm when it is under new management.|
Want to read other columns? Here's a list.
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.)