Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jul 31, 2011

Hardships Can Be a Good Thing to Young Folks

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:53 am

My sister told me that her son jokingly complained about the hardship of leaving home for America. This reminds me of the complaints made by another young relative when he first came in May 2006.

Understandably, nothing is the same when he lives away from home, with no one serving his meals, washing his clothes, etc. Even air conditioning is not as cold as it is at home. The young man said it was like living in China’s countryside. Indeed, it must be so for most of children of wealthy second generation.

They are like growing up in a bottle of honey, metaphorically speaking, with everything provided and without ever tasted a day of hardship in their lives.

I once told my sister that for most people, coming to America could be life-changing experience. First of all, you got nobody to turn to and have to be utterly independent by working your way up. Secondly, with a heightened sense of insecurity, you are more keen on saving than spending. Hence, you have to learn to live a more thrify life in America than you are in China.

I thought my sister would go soft on her son, telling him to buy whatever he needs for his comfort level. She turns out much wiser than I thought. She thought it a good thing that her son had some tough days in his life, the so-called tasting bitterness (chi ku) in Chinese. She said children growing up in China now were too much spoiled, having never known what hardship means in life. With this experience, he will learn to be tough and appreciative of what he has in life.

I wish my children had an opportunity of going through some form of hardships in life. Such experience can exert life-changing impact on people.

1, Jul 30, 2011

How to Give or Not to Give Criticism

Filed under: Leadership — admin @ 12:01 am

Once again, as part of my cleaning drive, I took off the wall some parenting tips that I had for a long time, giving criticism being one of them. I post them here as I see tactful criticism very important in all situations, at work or at home.

(1) Begin by asking questions rather than attacking.
(2) Criticism should be timely.
(3) Be very brief and concise–the longer you talk, the less goes in.
(4) Be selective–choose your target of attack rather than a sweeping attack.
(5) Focus on the issue, not the person.
(6) Let the wrong-doer do the dirty work, that is, it is better for the children to tell you what is wrong instead of the other way around.
(7) Show them the proper way of doing things instead of leaving them puzzled and lost.

1, Jul 29, 2011

Seeking Soul Mate? Six Clues to Character

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:39 am

This also happened when I was at HyVee on 5/28/2011. I read this in Psychology Today, June 2011, “Six clues to Character” by Hara Marano. It is interesting to know. I wish my children pay some attention to these six aspects.

(1) Intelligence: the biggest boon. It’s no fun messing up with someone with negative IQ. Make sure a person knows the difference between how he feels about something and what he thinks about it. Pay attention to how a person thinks. Listen to how he or she develops an argument.
(2) Drive: the goals you set and the potential of growth.
(3) Happiness: the capacity for finding satisfaction. If you tangle up with a grumpy, you have to play the role of comedian all day long and are still unable to bring a that million-dollar smile. Life is too short to waste on this.
(4) Goodness: the legacy of mama Madoff. It is always safe to be around nice person.
(5) Friendship: the capacity for reciprocity
(6) Intimacy: the capacity for vulnerability and trust

How does a person talk about the problems in his or her life? An unhealthy person rages against ill luck.

1, Jul 28, 2011

On Creativity and Eccentricity, Part II

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:21 am

Here’s how you get your score:
(1) Count the number of YES to question 1, 3, 4. Add those to the number of NO to question 2, 5. Higher scores are more indicator of creative thinking patten. 5 is the maximum.

(2) Count the number of YES for question 6 through 10. Higher scores makes it more likely that you have schizotypal personality, which is associated with odd or eccentric behavior.

Here are some fast facts from the article about creative eccentrics:
(1) People who are highly creative often have odd thoughts and behaviors — vice versa.
(2) Both creativity and eccentricity may be the result of genetic variations that increase cognitive disinhibition–the brain’s failure to filter our extraneous information.
(3) When unfiltered information reaches conscious awareness in the brains of people who are highly intelligent and can process this information without being overwhelmed, it may lead to exceptional insights and sensations.

I am so delighted in learning that there are something good about being creative-eccentric.

1, Jul 27, 2011

On Creativity and Eccentricity, Part I

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:18 am

On 5/28/2011, Saturday afternoon, once again, I found myself sitting at the diner section of HyVee waiting for my daughter’s drawing lesson. I picked up Scientific American Mind, May-June 2011 issue, and read “The Unleashed Mind: Highly creative people often seem weirder than the rest of us. Now researchers know why,” by Shelley Carson. It is an interesting article. It provides a list of question testing how creative or eccentric you are. Try for yourself and see if you are a Creative Eccentric?

(1) Do you often have ideas without knowing where they came from?
(2) Do you consider yourself a highly logic person?
(3) Do you often think or speak metaphors?
(4) Do you have a broad range of interests?
(5) Do you have trouble spending time alone without turning on the TV or other electronic devices?
(6) Do you believe in telepathic communication?
(7) Have you ever felt the presence of someone in the room with you when you knew you were alone?
(8) Do you believe that your dreams may sometimes be previews of future events?
(9) Do you believe that certain events or objects are signs that may have been provided to help you make important decisions?
(10) Do you believe there may be forces at work in the world that cannot be detected with scientific instruments?
(11) Do you often feel like a square peg in a round hole?
To be continued…

1, Jul 26, 2011

Boys Meet Girls, Love, Honesty and Responsibility

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:19 am

When my daughter came back from summer camp, she told me gossips that she learned in the dormitory. It seems to be a norm for boys and girls to pair off in high school. It is no surprise when most of the students emerge from college going out seriously with someone special, even though they are not thinking of any long term relationship, let alone of marriage or family.

A friend of mine once asked about my attitude on this. This is what I told my son.
1. While staying away from narrow-minded trivial bickering, never compromise on the major when it comes to your significant others.

2. Be honest to each other. If you find yourself out of love, which is natural sometimes when there are changes on either side, let other know. Truth may hurt at the moment, but you will hurt people more with dishonesty.

3. As with everything in life, think of your responsibilities before anything else.

1, Jul 25, 2011

Summer Camp, A Step Forward

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:33 am

My daughter came back from her summer camp on Saturday, 7/16. She was excited and was nonstop talking all the way back home. I could see she has benefited tremendously from this experience.

This is the first time in her life that she shared a room with 18 girls! Living in such close proximity forced people to become intimate friends in a day or two.

This is also the first time that she left home on her own. She has demonstrated a clear sense of right and wrong when she talked about some people in the camp. She has coped well with life outside home, made many friends and could turn to them for help when she needed. This is like a prelude to and preparation for her college life which will happen in two years.

It is such a pleasure to see the changes in her through this experience. A worthwhile camp!

1, Jul 24, 2011

Young But Not Invincible

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:19 am

18-year-old Cody Johns died of heat stroke last Thursday, 7/21/2011, after working outside all day with his stepfather, who was doing landscaping work for a property-management company. The sun was murderously hot that day with temperature reaching 96 and heat index 112 degree.

On the way to Costco yesterday morning, I asked my daughter, “Do you think the boy was ignorant of the danger of working under excessive heat? That is, did he die of ignorance?”

She has a different view, which I think makes sense. She said, most probably the boy knew it, but he must think heat only hit senior population. He was young and invincible. What a dangerous thought!

I thought of one of my daughter’s classmates. That girl lost both of her parents when she was 5 years old, one died of cancer, the other of heart attack, both gone young, leaving their children to the grandparents.

1, Jul 23, 2011

Prioritizing, Organizing, the Order of Things Part II

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:40 am

I used to keep close-by anything that I don’t want to throw away or anything I thought I still use but in fact I don’t. This created a crowded, disordered and even disruptive environment for the dwellers.

Cleaning means prioritizing, organizing and distinguishing the useful from the useless, so that the room is void of anything you don’t need at the moment.

This is my solution– divided stuffs into four groups: (1) throw-away the absolutely useless; (2) donate things I don’t need but still good (3) put away anything I honestly find useless but I am not ready to say goodbye to; (4) keep around things I am currently using.

Your material possessions should best serve your will. If not handled properly, you become the slave of your possessions, living the absurdity of being plagued by what you pay with your hard-earned money. Avoid this absurdity; choose luminosity; do cleaning in a timely manner and with good judgment.

1, Jul 22, 2011

Prioritizing, Organizing, the Order of Things Part I

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:28 am

During my recent drive at house-cleaning, I look with dismay at the amount of stuffs that savagingly attack my sanity — clothes, books, my favorite electronic collections (cameras, camcorders, radios, cassestte players, audio+video recorders, CD players, CDs and tapes, MP3+ MP4 players, gamers, computers, laptops, kindle, cellphones, ipad, tablet), documents (legal, medical, and financial documents), tons of them, that have followed me from Texas to Ohio, to Indiana, to Virginia and finally found their way to Kansas.

I thought of my sister’s son. I was like him when I first entered the States 27 years ago, with only two luggages, not even as big as his. Over these years, stuffs seem to have mushroomed and multiplied beyond control.

I also thought of thousands of immigrants like me. They must have seen the same exponential increase of material possessions and must be deeply buried by their “wealth,” though I am not sure one can enjoy it.
To be continued…

1, Jul 21, 2011

Seven Keys to Happiness

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:13 am

On 7/15, the day my sister’s son arrived in New York from Beijing, the day before my daughter came back from her summer camp, I felt a strong urge to clean the junks out of the house, making it brilliantly luminous. Of course, I found many notes that I scribbled long ago, during days when my children were little.

One of them records seven keys to happiness that I got from a newspaper. Gee, I must be very miserable at that time when I spent so much time committing them on a piece of paper. Here are the keys.

1. Integrity (honesty) 2. Courage (be responsible) 3. Enthusiasm 4. Content (enough is enough) 5. Confidence (self-esteem) 6. Hope (no despair and depression) 7. Love (treat others with due kindness and respect).

Now other I have shared the keys to happiness, I can deep-six this note.

1, Jul 20, 2011

Luminosity: Key to Make Your Home A Better Place to Live

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:59 am

I was reading Time magazine on the way back to America on 7/12/2011. On the last page of July 4 issue, there is a question-answer with architect Renzo Piano. His answer to the last question fit my mood and prompted me to action. Here it is.

Finally, what could any person do to any average home to make it a better place to live?
Throw away some of the furniture, paint everything white, clean the windows and see if you can make them wider. It’s about luminosity.

I did some throw-away but did no cleaning nor painting as it is originally white before dust set in.

1, Jul 19, 2011

Income, Savings and Retirement

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:08 am

On 5/20/2011, I read an article “People Plan to Work Into Their 70s or Later” by Andrea Coombes. It was rather depressing to learn that “almost four in 10 workers say they’ll retire after age 70 — or just keep working… if they even retire at all, and a growing number of people said the recession will force them to work longer in life, a new survey finds.”

For some reason, the article reminds me of the scene in our chemo treatment room where so many senior folks work all their lives and finally reach their retirement years but are struck down by cancer. So pathetic.

To be sure, there are some who can afford not to work at an early age, but choose to stay on because they love their jobs. But for the majority, they don’t have this luxury. They work because financially they have to.

People may find various reasons for their failure to get ready for retirement, yet as far as I can see there are mainly two simple reasons.

Number one: they were not able to make big money. Number two: they have not been able to save enough during the springtime of their lives, even worse, they might have spent more than they had earned, resulting in negative savings.

1, Jul 18, 2011

Nelson Mandela, Unshakable Belief and Indomitable Spirit

Filed under: Famous people — admin @ 12:34 am

On 6/7, one of my colleagues in her late 30s said to another one in her 20s, “I am too old now. If I were your age, I would…” Every time I heard people saying how old they were, I thought of Nelson Mandel. The story of Nelson Mandel has been known to all.

7/18/1918, born, happy birthday!
1962, aged 44 years old, in prison
1990, aged 72, out of prison
1993, aged 75, Nobel Peace Prize.
1994, aged 76, served as President of South Africa
1999, aged 81, left office

When I think of Nelson Mandela, I think of the word indomitable, the quality with which he has never given up fighting despite of all the obstacles, including his age. Of course his belief in his cause has motivated him along the way.

Perhaps an unshakable belief and an indomitable spirit is what most of us need in our pursuits.

1, Jul 17, 2011

Great Novels and Interesting Life Experience

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:29 am

On the weekend of 4/9, I told my daughter one of my childhood aspirations. At that time I read many great novels and learned that most of these books were based on authors’ own experience. So I figured one must have an interesting life experience in order to write an interesting novel.

Hence, young as I was at that time, I longed to lead an interesting and adventurous life, so that by the end of the journey I would have something worthwhile to write.

I told my daughter that so many years and decades have passed and my life, if anything, is as boring as you can imagine and I am not even doing something that I enjoy everyday. It is somehow sad that you cannot go back to the beginning of the journey and re-take it.

For her, it is still the beginning, she should learn something from others’ experience and make most out of the limited opportunities that life has to offer.

P.S. my daughter came back from the summer camp yesterday afternoon.

1, Jul 16, 2011

Economic Commonsense

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:33 am

On 5/20/2011, I read an article “5 Easy Steps to Becoming a Millionaire” by Erin Joyce. Here are the main points.
1. Only Marry Once, without Schwarzenegger’s out-of-wedlock trick.
2. Live Off One Income, save the other one.
3. Choose the Right Career, “self-employed people make up less than 20% of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires.”
4. Put Your Money in Appreciating Assets
5. Don’t Live the Millionaire Lifestyle, especially for those who are not. Warren Buffett is your example.

On the same day, one of my colleagues told me of her high school child, who worked almost 40 hours per week at a grocery store so that he could make monthly car payment. This yields the direct connection between the amount of time one has to throw in and the material possession one desires to enjoy. I would throw in that amount of time for some cause much higher than a car. Unless I am doing something I enjoy, I would rather consume less and work less.

1, Jul 15, 2011

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Chew

Filed under: Education — admin @ 12:52 am

On the evening of 4/1/2011, I talked with a friend of mine in China over the Skype. She told me of the experience of one Princeton student. An unpleasant one, to be sure.

For some reason, the girl alway dreamed of becoming a college professor of mathematics. Though she was admitted into Princeton University, she was toiling heavily all the way through her first three years.

Finally, on her final year, she broke down upon learning from one professor that she was not cut out for mathematics. In the end, though she managed to graduate from Princeton, she wasn’t able to land a job and to this date, is still unemployed and disoriented.

I was wondering if she could have fared better than this in her life journey if she had been better adviced before she headed for mathematics professor dream.

1, Jul 14, 2011

The Case of Music Student Turned Murderer, Part II

Filed under: Crime — admin @ 12:41 am

In case you have not heard of Yao Jiaxin. Here’s a brief. Yao was driving when he hit a 26-year-old woman, mother of a two-year-old. Instead of sending the injured one to the hospital, he ended her life by applying a few fatal stabs into the woman’s chest for fear of potential medical cost.

When facing a torrential public outcry for tough punishment on Yao, some college professors and Yao’s classmates staged a passional appeal for leniency because Yao was a talented music student. The message from the intellectuals seems to be this — you can kill innocent people and walk away from due punishment if you have this or that talent. Imagine the hopelessly muddle-headed mass among Chinese educators!

Luckily, justice was done. Chinese parents should all watch Yao’s execution. Even better, watch it with their children.

1, Jul 13, 2011

The Case of Music Student Turned Murderer, Part I

Filed under: Crime — admin @ 12:16 am

On the evening of 7/11/2011, the day before I left for America, I had a dinner with a friend of mine at a restaurant in Beijing. She just came back from America around 5 PM that day.

We talked a lot on the company, economy, children’s education and a book that she just read on the airplane, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. In that book, the auther talks about 10,000-hour rule. He cites an example of music practice.

Then, the topic shifted to music and education in China, which reminded me of the infamous case of music student turned murderer — Yao Jiaxin. The case exposed the fatal defect of Chinese education — the single-minded pursuit of skills/knowledge/education. Many parents fail to understand that no education is complete without first taking care of the need to be a decent human. As a consequence, they produce blood-thirsty monsters, even though they are highly accomplished musically like Yao Jiaxin.

1, Jul 12, 2011

The Thought Meets Our Need

Filed under: Friend — admin @ 12:39 am

Today I am leaving for America. Last Friday, 7/8/2011, I went to a McDonald’s in Beijing to meet an old friend of mine whom we had not seen each other for 15 years. I saw something familiar and I was surprised to recognize him from behind after so many years.

We talked about cancer and cancer treatment, life and mortality. In reality, we all hold some thought dearly because that thought can satisfy our needs and relieve other negative feelings. It doesn’t matter what that thought is, real or unreal. In his case, while he realizes the inevitability of life, he tries to enjoy the process. For me, it is a different thought.

1, Jul 11, 2011

In Loving Memory of My Father

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:23 am

Today marks the 24th anniversary of my father’s departure from this world. I always observe this day not only to honor the memory of my father but also reflect and remember what he left to the living.

The household that I grew up is very much like everybody else in my generation — basic, void of unnecesssary luxury. The only electronic gadget in our family was a radio box, which I took apart at least twice, once without a book, once with one. I remember the only place that had a lock on was a bookshelf, with plenty of old books. They must be very precious to my father.

All of his children have now shared his love of books, although none of them have read as much as he did. This brings to my mind the motto on his desk–it is always beneficial to read.

I wish he were still around and I would get him a large size kindle and open an amazon account for him, so that he could read to his heart’s content.

1, Jul 10, 2011

Cellphone, Technologies and Addictions

Filed under: China,Technologies — admin @ 12:23 am

This time more than ever before I observed a heavy addiction to technologies in China. Nearly everywhere from airport to groceries stores, I noticed people either chatting on cell phone or something else on computers. I had to interrupt a salesgirl’s phone chat when I needed a service. I saw the annoyance on a guy’s face when his attention was forced to switch from computer to me at stores. At home, computer was the default place for anyone thus addicted, with very good books being left collecting dusts.

I feel sort of sad as I miss the days when our lives were free from these gadgets. We like these technologies, yet, like drugs and cigarette, we let ourselves become addicted to things we like and our addiction takes control of us.

This reminds me of the fable about a fly and a drop of honey. The fly enjoys the honey so much that its wings are glued to it so that it perishes amidst the wonderful honey it enjoys.

1, Jul 9, 2011

Adaptation to the Social and Cultural Environment

Filed under: China,Friend — admin @ 12:45 am

On 7/6, Wednesday noon, I went to have lunch with three old classmates, two of them back to kindergarden days.

One is now working in the ministry of foreign affairs; the other used to be there. While listening to their conversation, I was both bored and amazed by the intricacies of power struggle and the total submission of one’s individuality when working there. The one who left could not stand it.

It seems like serving a life sentence to work in that environment. I cannot imagine myself working in that place for long. I was a rebel in my bone when I was young but more inclined to seek peace with the outside world.

If I were put in that situation and had to learn the ropes and the tricks of surviving there, I might become adapted and adept at power struggle. Are we the products of our social and cultural environment or some intrinsic value of our own? I wish people could forever keep something of their own no matter where they are, without total adaptation.

1, Jul 8, 2011

Chinese Parents Sending their Children to America

Filed under: children,China — admin @ 12:42 am

On 7/5/2011, I went with my sister and her son to the embassy of the U.S.A in Beijing, where her son would apply for a student visa.

We left home a little after 6:30 in the morning and found a long line already formed outside the embassy. It was nearly 11 by the time we headed home.

Most of the visa applicants were young students. While they were inside the embassy, their parents were waiting outside for many hours, over three hours in our case. Seeing these anxious parents, I thought of this Chinese saying.

1, Jul 7, 2011

Overspending, Debt and Impulse-Control, Part II

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:50 am

Continued from yesterday.

(2) “People will like me more: Overspenders may believe that a purchase will make it easier for them to connect with others. One woman in the study wanted to buy a house so that she could entertain and be more social, and thus find more friends.”
People attract others with their strong character, nice personality, wit and humor, and tons of success traits, not by with what they possess.

(3) “I’ll be more fun: Some believe that a purchase will make them more fun and fulfilled. A man in the study wanted a mountain bike because then, he figured, he’d become more adventuresome and interesting.”
It is so pitiful that people cannot create fun from what they have. Think of the moment when you go broke, unable to pay rent and bills or to put food on the table, and go homeless in the bitter cold winter night. Is that more fun?

(4) “It’ll make me more effective: The typical overspender believes that a purchase will make them better at a certain pursuit. Several in the study said that a new car would make them more independent and self-reliant.”
Independence and self-reliance are the qualities that one cultivate over time, not any purchase can accomplish this.

By the end of the day, if people cannot control their buying impulses, they can always find excuses to lie to themselves and to others until they go deep into debts and end up being as miserable as you can think of.

1, Jul 6, 2011

Overspending, Debt and Impulse-Control, Part I

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:37 am

I never let go an article on financial discipline without calling my children’s attention to it. “Overspending: 4 Lies That Lead to Debt Problems” by Dan Kadlec Monday, May 9, 2011. I like the part when the author raises it to the level of impulse control and self-discipline. Indeed, this is all we need when it comes to buying the do-not-needs.

The problem with those heavily in debt folks is “they have unrealistic expectations for how material things will make their life better.” The author quoted a study done by marketing professors at the University of Missouri. The study summaries four types of unrealistic expectations common to overspenders, who buy things they don’t need:

(1) “It’ll make me a better person: Many overspenders believe a purchase will literally change them into a better person. One woman in the study was certain that cosmetic dental surgery would improve her looks and quickly render her more confident and successful.”
Nothing is more erroneous that this. We know that’s not how people become successful and no better person is made of any materials. I have emphasized to my children that they will gain confidence in themselves when they excel in something. No fine clothes nor rich decoration can disguise the stupidity of an empty-headed person, which nobody want to be known as.
To be continued…

1, Jul 5, 2011

My Son’s 2009 Summer Menu

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:08 am

About two years ago, 7/6/2009, my son left home for Atlanta, Georgia, taking his summer job. Today, he starts his real job. Actually, today is the first day of his job. Talk about time flying!

When he was home in the summer of 2009, he wrote a healthy menu for himself. It has been hanging on the refrigerator door since then. The menu lists like this.

Breakfast: wheat bread/oats
Lunch: chicken and salad
Supper: no bread, no rice (what else ?)
Evening snack: almond/nuts/fruits/vegetable

Now that he has taken this relatively long-term job and enjoyed his carefree bachelor life, far away from home, I wish he can follow his healthy menu at least three times per week.
Good luck on all his efforts.

1, Jul 4, 2011

Medical Error Death Toll Higher Than Fatal Car Crashes

Filed under: Medical Accident — admin @ 12:22 am

When my son was home, he subscribed Scientific American magazine and also as part of the reward for one of his competitions back in 2007, we received, after he has left, two-year subscription which ended in 2009. Here’s an article in August 2009 issue, “Deaths from avoidable medical error more than double in past decade, investigation shows” by Katherine Harmon.

I have read this piece long ago. Recently I dug it out. I think I have read it before but not sure if I have shared the content here.

Here’s the shocking fact: “Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation. … 44,000 to 98,000 people were dying annually due to these errors and called for the medical community and government to cut that number in half by 2004.”

The annual medical error death toll is higher than that for fatal car crashes,” even though mechanisms have been imposed to make sure no wrong arm or leg amputated and they even “count the surgical sponges and instruments so they presumably don’t leave anything inside” patient’s body. Nice try!

Now, how much trust do you harbor in your heart when you have to go to hospital? A good question for me to ponder now that I start working in one of them.

1, Jul 3, 2011

Connections, Network, Being in the Right Circle A Huge Lift

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:02 am

On 3/20/2011, I have adventitiously become acquainted with a doctor. He is not simply a doctor but an author of seven popular books on diabetes and other related health issues. One would wonder there are so many doctors specialized in diabetes, how could he be able to get his diabetes book published?

Well, the story behind his first book is like this. His medical school friend invited him to a party in which a publisher and the founder of IDG books was also present. He shared his idea about a book on diabetes with this publisher who connected him to a health editor. With that came his first book. Then, one thing leads to another. Now he is a prolific author of seven.

Of course, his above-average writing skills helps. Still, sometimes, I am wondering aloud, “Would he be so successful if he had not met this publisher or any other publisher at a friend’s party?” Maybe yes, maybe no, depending on his determination to get his books published. As it stands now, it is easy to see the tremendous advantage of one’s connections and network.

1, Jul 2, 2011

Must-Have Good Manners

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:05 am

I read this piece from Parents magazine, 3/2011 “25 Manners Every Kid Should Know By Age 9, helping your child master these simple rules of etiquette will get him noticed — for all the right reasons,” by David Lowry, Ph.D. My children are relatively well-behaved, still there are rooms for improvement, esp.. #16, 20 and 21.

1. When asking for something, say “Please.”
2. When receiving something, say “Thank you.”
3. Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking.
4. If you do need to get somebody’s attention right away, the phrase “excuse me” is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.
5. When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.
6. The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.
7. Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.
8. When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.
9. When you have spent time at your friend’s house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.
10. Knock on closed doors — and wait to see if there’s a response — before entering.
11. When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.
12. Be appreciative and say “thank you” for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect.
13. Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant.
14. Don’t call people mean names.
15. Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.
16. Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.
17. If you bump into somebody, immediately say “Excuse me.”
18. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t pick your nose in public.
19. As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.
20. If you come across a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say “yes,” do so — you may learn something new.
21. When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.
22. When someone helps you, say “thank you.” That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teachers!
23. Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.
24. Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.
25. Don’t reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.

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