Words & Banter

Racing To Launch

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

We just posted our June column, Red & Black ... Racing To Launch, which was shorter than usual because sometimes you just run out of hours in the day. That situation seems to be timeless (pun intend), which is why the column's still relevant. It explains why this site was created (educators asked for online resources and fans let us know how Red's crisis had so many parallels to their own challenges). What the column doesn't address is how it went from a "skeleton site" in June to the more extensive site we actually launched. Chalk it up to another timeless concept … life rarely goes as planned.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by chameleoneye for iStock

Chanukah is known as the Festival of Lights(and if you’re not sure why, scroll down to read Black’s analogy to cars and cell phones), but it’s about more than just menorahs and potato latkes. It’s about bringing light into darkness, about hope, and the power of faith. Important beliefs during the holiday season, regardless of what holiday you may celebrate, and throughout the year.



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At the risk of Black coming up with another potato analogy, for me, Chanukah's all about potato latkes. The childhood memories of our dad grating pounds and pounds of potatoes to the point where I'm not sure I could see our kitchen table to many decades later my eldest daughter taste-tasting latkes from an assortment of places. (I love to cook, but latkes are a lot of work.)

Of course, the lighting of the menorah is also such a special part of the holiday celebration, whether the electric menorah that my parents had where you would "twist" each light bulb as the nights progressed or the more traditional menorah with candles that my daughters and I light each year (and never leave unattended).


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I never cease to be amazed by the miracle of Chanukah (regardless of whether you spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah, or some other variation ) and how the oil that was only supposed to last one day instead lasted for eight days. It is as if your cellphone indicated it is at 12% but lasts eight days. Or, if the gas gauge in your car indicates you have 25 miles left, but you are able to drive 200 miles. Sometimes things happen that defy logic, and that is where faith takes over. And, a belief in something bigger than all of us.

Tomorrow is the start of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, which celebrates hope and miracles – and who could not use hope and miracles?

Happy Chanukah!

Thanksgiving’s in the rearview mirror, and the New Year is within sight, so we’re in the midst of what Red calls the “silly season”. And she’ll be the first to tell you that when you feel like you’re running in circles, looking at the “big picture” is the last thing you want to do. While Black understands Red feels that way, she explains why Red needs to do it anyway,

I look 20 years out and where I want to be … which makes it easier to make day-to-day decisions as I ask myself whether they are pointing me in the right direction. It does not mean I will not make exceptions – but those are conscious decisions. And, I always remember that life is a journey … not a destination.
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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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