Kids Learn The Darnest Things

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Today I’ve got my four-year-old grandson with me. In other words, somebody I can relate to on an intellectual level. As I sit here on my computer, he’s working on his. We do this a lot, except I think sometimes his output is a little more advanced than mine. He’s doing his ABCs, which everybody can understand. Even me. Some of what I write is a little less coherent.

Kids love to imitate the things we do. I remember my oldest grandson trying to write jokes for me to use onstage. Thinking back to how some of my own material did, maybe I should have given his jokes a try. But then I’d have to admit he’s funnier than I am, and that’s something no self-respecting comedian can do. Besides, his cut of the $12 after gas would leave me broke.

I’ll never forget the time we were driving in my truck and somebody in front of me was going annoyingly slow. I finally vented some of my frustration to the windshield (I do that a lot) and said, “Drive or get off the road!” My grandson, without missing a beat, offered a suggestion. “Flip ‘em off!” He was three. And no, he didn’t learn that from me. He learned it from his mom, who learned it from … well, never mind.

A few years ago, I decided to build a shed. Not because I couldn’t buy one that would do the job just fine, but because I smacked my forehead with a sledgehammer forty years ago and sometimes it makes me do stupid things. Okay, I hit it really hard. As in, lights out. I remember waking up to a group of guys standing around me and one asking, “Is that boy day-ed???”

So, when it came time for a new shed, I did what any real man does. I went to the lumber store. A sane man would have drawn a set of plans first, but if you’re talking about me that ship already sailed. That’s okay. I used to write Air Force maintenance manuals. Think about that the next time a C-130 flies over your head.

Still, I knew what I wanted to build, and I had a vision in my head. My grandson was too naïve to ask questions. He just assumed I knew how to do it. And three years later, it’s still standing proud. We did an awesome job, and he learned a lot in the process. All because a teenage boy wanted to hang out and bond with Grandpa.

He did most of the work and picked up a few new skills along the way. Like rough carpentry, siding, and roofing. But I still say his favorite part was tearing down the old one. I hooked a nylon strap to the inside of the roof and wrapped the other end around the axle of my truck, then handed him the key and said, “Knock yourself out!” It was down in two seconds flat.

As we stood back and admired the finished product (the new shed, not the old one), I told him “You’ve learned some new skills here. You may never want to do any of this again, but you’ll always know you can.” I told my daughter the same thing when she learned to replace her car’s brakes. That’s how I roll. Get them to do the work and make ‘em think it was a lesson.

My daughter never has replaced her brakes again. She decided it was easier to get a decent job and pay somebody else to do that stuff. But my grandson has found that he enjoys construction and remodeling. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s an honest living, and there will always be a demand for somebody with those skills.

Kids learn more from us than we think. Some of those things will serve them well in adulthood, and others will be a reminder of why they want something better. But all shape the person they become. So, share those experiences with them – the good and the bad. Let them see how you handle challenges. They’ll learn more from your approach than any skill you can impart.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Take Flying Lessons From Somone Who’s Afraid of Heights

Good morning, and happy Friday! We’ve made it!!! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I’ve been trying to learn a little more about Facebook and how to build a page that will provide more features than just a simple profile. In other words, I’m about to take what’s been working so far and mess it up completely. And to help me do that, I’m reading Facebook Marketing for Dummies – 2014 edition. Because, you know … technology never changes. Besides, I’m too cheap to buy the new book.

For somebody who’s spent the past twenty years working in the IT community, you’d think I’d be just a little more adept when it comes to things like social media, the TV remote, and adding contacts to a cell phone. Well, you’d be wrong. What’s the opposite of a techno-weenie? Whatever it is, that’s me. And no, I don’t have a flip phone. But I can make a long-distance call on a rotary dial, so there!

New ideas are hard to handle sometimes. We get into a comfort zone and, though we may despise that existence more and more by the day, we look for any reason not to change. We’ll even recruit a team of nay-sayers to craft a rock-solid excuse for why we shouldn’t even consider taking that next step. People who, you know, have never taken that step themselves. But, boy do they know!

I listen to motivational CDs a lot. Most of you already know that. I read motivational books as well. Yes, you can say it. I need a life. Because we all know the only thing better than trying to make your own life better is to read books about fictional people who have it all. Great looks, sculpted body, a billion dollars, and a slightly twisted notion of romance. Who has time for that motivational babble?

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with “romance” novels, and I can see their appeal in terms of fueling our unspoken fantasies. I’ve read Fifty Shades (okay, most of the first book) and I’ve watched the movies. And I have to be honest. I’m much more interested in his cars and helicopter than his red room of pain. Yes, ladies, typical male response. And the last time I checked … well, never mind.

But with anything in life, whether it’s building a boat, flying a plane, succeeding in business, or learning how the latest intimate “toys” work, we all need some basis of knowledge before we’re ready to dive in. And it’s usually best to gain that knowledge from somebody who knows what they’re talking about. You know, somebody who’s used those toys or flown that plane.

It amazes me the number of times I’ve talked to people about starting their own business and, before we can even schedule an evening to really chat, they call back and say, “Well, I don’t know if this is gonna work. I talked to my mom, and she said …” You know the rest. Well, here’s my first question. How did that particular business work for your mom?

In an interview years ago, media magnate Ted Turner talked about a failed attempt at running a boatbuilding business. When asked what he learned from that experience he said, “I learned that I don’t build boats very well.” He didn’t say boatbuilding is a dead industry. He didn’t even say business ownership is for suckers. He simply said that wasn’t his niche. So, he found something that was.

How often do we seek advice from people who have no idea how to do what we’re thinking about doing? How often do they offer up that advice for free? It doesn’t matter what you’re considering, there are hundreds of “experts” who will give you dozens of reasons it’ll never work. So, here’s a novel idea … find somebody who’s making it work. See what they have to say about it.

I’m reading a book about how to build a new Facebook page because I don’t know all the ins and outs of doing it right. And, by this time next week, that new page will be up and running. Every day, people in my own family poo-poo on the idea of building a stronger social media presence. So, I don’t go to them for advice. I’m getting information from people who know how to make it work.

Whatever it is you want to do, unless you’re already on top of the game, odds are you could use a little help. And, as one of the speakers I’ve listened to loves to say, if you want to be a millionaire, don’t go to a thousandaire for advice. Find somebody who’s already succeeded in that endeavor and listen to what they have to say. More often than not, the advice they give will be spot-on.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep Feeding Your Brain – There’s Always Room For More

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

This will be a week of training for me. Two different topics, and it’ll take up nearly every moment of each workday until Friday. Then we get to catch up on everything else we missed during the week. Isn’t that the way it usually goes? It’s like taking vacation. You get a week off, but you spend a week getting caught up before you go and another week catching up when you get back. Fun.

Still, I’ll never forget the advice my dad gave me when I joined the Navy. Well, the advice I can share here, anyway. Some of the rest is a blur. But one day he told me to never turn down any class that was offered – get as much education as they were willing to give. That’s the one piece of Dad’s advice I followed, and I still follow it to this day. You can never learn too much.

Well, again, I guess that depends on the setting. My oldest daughter used to give a little more information than I cared for. Ignorance may not be bliss, but sometimes it beats the alternative. But when it comes to something I can use on the job, or that can get me closer to my dreams, I’ll take all I can get.

Best of all, most of my co-workers will be in town this week to join us. Most of our team is home-based in states I normally only pass through, so the only contact we have is a morning conference call and texting about work. It’s rare that we actually get to see one another.

There’s a lot more going on this week besides the training, including a quarterly meeting for our entire team. And we’ve mixed in some after-work activities as well. Nothing like getting together with some old friends for an evening of camaraderie (and drinks). Last time we went bowling. Suffice to say we won’t be doing that again. Hopefully ever.

I don’t think most of us actually look forward to sitting in a classroom all day, trying to take notes and keep up with the instructor while battling the effects of carbohydrate overload that comes from sampling too many donuts and bagels. Some days, there isn’t enough coffee in the world. In the Navy, they always told us to stand up if we got sleepy. I never sat down.

Still, there’s something about learning a new skill, even if you don’t think you’ll ever use it. Just to know some of the background workings of the systems we use is interesting, and sometimes helpful. Because when you know how a system is put together, you know its strengths and limitations. And when things break, it gives you a little background on what it may take to fix it.

Granted, there are times when we fill our head with so much information that it’s hard to see past the written facts. The Navy took a lot of time to teach us the inner workings of a transistor, from a purely theoretical perspective. To this day, I can’t tell you a thing about it, other than to rattle off some terminology that means nothing to me. All I needed to know was how to tell when it’s broke.

But, as with most other things, you can’t really tell if something’s working unless you know what it’s supposed to do. Unless you can define success, failure becomes a lot more ambiguous. That’s why we sometimes find ourselves running full speed ahead down the wrong path – we don’t have a clear idea of the intended outcome, so we just keep going and hope the goal will step into our path.

We don’t know anything without learning it first. Even things that seem obvious, like “don’t put your hand on a hot stove” had to be learned. And some of those lessons came the hard way. So, any time you can put yourself in a setting to learn something the easy way, take advantage of it. Your brain can absolutely handle the excess knowledge. And you never know when it may come in handy.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved