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


Mom's almost 94 years old, so I appreciate that she travels down "memory lane" and reminisces. But what I don't appreciate, or understand, is why she insists on focusing on negative memories and wishing things were different. What makes it worse is how she remembers things, or let's just say her "versions" of what happened, which makes me wonder if we're even talking about the same event.

As you know, I love history, and there's so much we can learn from the past , including how to try to avoid repeating mistakes so you can make "today" better. That applies to people, too. But, with her, I feel like it's only "lip service" when she's said that she wanted to clear the air about past events in the hope we could improve things going forward. Because whenever I've tried to "sort through" things, it seems all she wants to do is prove how she's right and I'm wrong. Then and now.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


You bring up two different but intertwined issues.

First, why people remember things differently. We are a story-telling society, so think about our memories … are they not just stories from the past? Influenced by how we reacted to the "facts" and our memories of the "facts"? If you and I experience the same event, I bet you will remember how you felt, whereas I will have a more pragmatic memory.

Second, what is the objective of looking back? Mom has always dwelled in the past, but her "stories" always defend her actions rather than look at what she might have been able to do differently. Or, even acknowledge how she may have contributed to the situation. Stating the objective as "learning from mistakes" only works when that is what you are willing to do.

Want an extreme, and very serious, example? Look at January 6. Some people want to examine exactly what happened and why to prevent it from happening again, while others are using it for political purposes. And many (most?) are not even being honest about their motives.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • Do you know people who seem to prefer to dwell in the past? Why do you think they do?
  • Why do you think some people are more interested in "defending the past" than "learning from the past"?
  • Do you think recognizing that different people remember things differently makes addressing issues easier or more difficult? Why?

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?