Words & Banter

Don’t Tell Our Mom How We Responded To COVID-19

Underlying photo by CDC on Unsplash

The coronavirus has changed everything for all of us, and the stories of the first responders and the countless heroes on the front line who are fighting this pandemic never cease to inspire us. But we wanted to do something – anything – to help. But what?

FREE For Educators

So, when educators reached out to us to see if we could provide online resources, telling us they found our print materials (and especially our book) engaging and educational, and their students found it fun and relevant, Black immediately said, "Yes." And when they asked the cost, Black (as the business half of Red & Black), replied without hesitation, "Free."

FREE For Parents

Red knows what it's like to have kids not only home from school, but bored and looking for something to do. She also knows never to tell them something's "good for them." Feedback we've gotten from parents is they've found Red & Black and our assortment of materials provides them with something they can use with their kids or, even better, do together. Plus, parents like that it's engaging and relevant yet requires no prior knowledge or advance preparation (unlike trying to help your kids with algebra).

Want More Information?

To learn more about our free, fun, and easy-to-use resources, including chapter-by-chapter PDF's of our bestselling book (intended as the basis of a sitcom when it was launched by Neiman Marcus, it was approved by the Texas State Board of Education as a textbook!), please go to the resource page we created For Educators.

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,

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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.

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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.)

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