Words & Banter

A New Year … But Old Memories

Photo by AlexRaths for iStock

Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I remember when I was growing up and old enough to stay home alone (long before the movie “ Home Alone”) on New Year’s Eve. Our parents may have gone out to celebrate, but I had the perfect evening. Before they left, they’d get me my favorite takeout Chinese food (again, long before the days of food delivery services), and I’d savor the egg drop soup with wontons and a large container of pork fried rice, knowing that I didn’t have to share with anyone. Then, I’d settle in for a night of old movies on TV, only taking a short break to watch the ball come down in Times Square , before going back to watching movies for hours. (Long after my parents had come home and gone to sleep.)

Fast forward more decades than I care to admit, and my favorite way to celebrate New Year’s Eve is pretty much the same. Except now, what would be even more perfect would be to have my daughters home with me.

Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I started to say that Red has always needed to get a life, but the reality is that I understand why she likes a quiet New Year’s Eve and has created her own “special” tradition. Over the years, I would celebrate New Year’s Eve by going out to a “special” dinner with my spouse or significant other (if applicable) and dear friends. The funny thing is the older we get, the earlier we return home. We tell ourselves it is because we do not want to be on the roads with the drunks, but that does not explain why we all admit we usually are asleep well before midnight.

Whether celebrating by yourself or with others … whether you find yourself feeling extra warm and fuzzy and reminiscing at midnight, like Red, or being pragmatically optimistic, like Black, who will raise a glass and toast her friends as well as the promise and hope that the new year offers us all … we want to wish you,

Happy New Year! And may 2023 be filled with health and happiness, love and laughter.

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,

Keep Reading ...Show less

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.

Keep Reading ...Show less

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.)

Keep Reading ...Show less