Hard times are here.  They are the kind of times that keep parents up at night wondering about how to pay the mortgage, the car payment, feed the kids, get them ready to go to college by focusing on them getting good grades that hopefully will lead to scholarships; who do you pay this month, and make it up next month and then hold the other off.  It's tiring.

Through Twitter, I've come to know several people this year, good people, who are out of work and in spite of their efforts to find new work, it's just not there.  Then you hear the news reports from government reports on how many hundreds of thousands of people lost work last month, and how many nationally are losing their homes, have lost their jobs, and again, don't know where one is going to come from.

Add to that, as a person who has been involved in our public school systems on many levels for the past 20 years, it's discouraging to know that our kids are simply not getting the quality of education they need.  So as technology advances at a rapid pace, our kids are not keeping up.  Sure, they can USE the technology, but when it comes to a Ross Perot style of "getting up under the hood," most are clueless. 

I have time and again reached out to encourage my own children to advance their math, science and computer skills. If we had an extra $40,000 Kari and I would go out and fit the entire house with a Mac for each kid, complete with software such as PhotoShop Suite CS4, Autodesk Maya, Final Cut Studio, and Logic Pro just so they'd have a leg up on their peers, or just be getting the skills that would make them competitive in the market place once they get out of school. I've seen the talents each of my children have and know that were we able to give them this gift of technology, it would give them a tremendous opportunity.  (I know my ex would simply view this as an extravegance, but for a person who never was able to finish college, or much of anything else, it's impossible for her to comprehend.)
But like I said, times are hard and we don't have the money for this.

The world has changed so much since the days when I was in my boys' shoes.  But they've also been raised differently than I was.  Off and on they've had a dad in their lives, and then he's up and disappeared.  In the back of their minds, they have to wonder some days if I'm not going to do the same.  That makes getting closer to them a challenge. 

It is also complicated because their interests are completely different than mine.  While I can spend much of the day at a computer just like them, I'm using it to be creative.  Their use of a machine is to play a game, to live in a world that someone has created for them, not one they're creating themselves.  Even back in the 1980s when we got our first Atari, I couldn't understand the relevence of sitting in front of a screen for hours playing a game that when you switched off, erased all record of your accomplishments.  To this day, I still don't get that. Yes, thankfully we now how greater memory options, but the premis is still there.

I've seen a lot of focus by the President-elect to show that he's forging ahead to find a solution to what ails America.  Good luck.  My old Gov. Fob James used to say that "government can't create jobs."  And yet I've heard Obama talking about that over and over the past few days, you know, that his plan will create them.  And so I think we're into the era of where big government is going to get a lot bigger.  I'm hearing the Obama administraiton is going to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and things continue to spiral.

So my question this morning is, Where are we going America?  That city shining on a hill is right now covered with a fog and a haze from the fires buring around the world, the threat of terrorism, the wars we wage, the sinking economy, the busted housing market, the financial crisis, bailouts, the auto industry, unemployment, and a struggling education system. 

It's all enough just to make you want to stay in bed with the covers over your head until it's all over.

And so, I paint this picture as part of my analysis.  I'm committed to finding a solution for, if nothing else, my own family's sake, my friends, and then anyone else. What that means, right now, I cannot say.  I simply do not know.  Stay tuned, I'm in my creative mode.  The wheels are spinning.

  1. Mr. Blue

    “If we had an extra $40,000 Kari and I would go out and fit the entire house with a Mac for each kid, complete with software such as PhotoShop Suite CS4, Autodesk Maya, Final Cut Studio, and Logic Pro just so they’d have a leg up on their peers”
    Hey man,
    This is an EXCELLENT idea, but…
    This is not the solution and actually if you take the above statement at face value, it’s a perfect description of the problem.
    What our kids have lost is the ability to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Too many parents think that giving kids the opportunity will automatically give them the desire to pursue such opportunity.
    The solution to the problem is not in complaining about it and wondering “what can I get, or who can help me fix this”. The solution is asking yourself “what can I DO to fix this”.
    SO much these days, kids are being handed everything they desire. They want a mac to do creative stuff at the age of 14 and then they get all bummed when their parents deny this to them saying “we have no money for that”. What’s a poor kid to do?, how about GET A JOB!
    The answer doesn’t lie in equipping the children with equipment, it lies in equipping them with knowledge to think for themselves, to solve problems on their own, not with the help of computers.
    I work in IT, I’m around computers all day every day. I am VERY successful and I attribute it 100% to my people skills and common sense. Anyone can learn the tech (remember the ‘paper MCSE’s of the 90’s?), it’s the soft skills that sell.
    Teach your kids to be street smart, teach them manners, teach them to figure out their problems on their own and they will figure out the rest without much help from you 🙂

  2. Your Ex

    Speaking as your ex..I do consider purchasing our children Mac computers as a indulgence that we really can’t afford right now. Once you are able to supply your daughters with underwear, socks, coats, shoes and adequate school clothing for your weeks then by all means purchase away. Our daughters pack additional clothing to take to your house on your weeks because they “do not have anything at Dad’s.”
    And as far as “not finishing anything” I’ve been a bit busy the past 16 years raising children. So you are right in one instance…I haven’t finished college. My efforts have been on raising contributing members of society. I couldn’t think of a MORE worthwhile occupation. You see while you were out increasing your salary with your work place knowledge; I was at home with your children raising them.
    Unfortunately motherhood isn’t recognized by many men like you as a worthwhile contribution. I can’t add the qualifications of child mediator, nurse, coach, teacher, cook, maid, motivational speaker and have those skills rewarded or valued among your business world.
    Has my college career been put on hold? Absolutely…but I can’t think of a better reason to sacrifice my own wishes than to answer my call as a mother to my children. So, I don’t have my degree yet;does that make me unintelligent and unable to recognize technology as an important skill for our children to learn and master? Absolutely not. Technology is our future. I want our children to be successful in everything they do however, feel that basic necessities for life should be provided for before anything else.
    Ps. I’ll be sure to send you an invitation to my Nursing Graduation Ceremony…just so you will be aware that I’ve “accomplished” and “completed” another one of my goals.

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