Quick thoughts on China and the US economy

Something to consider when people say Chinas economy is bigger then the US’s economy. First of this based on actual physical items produced so it never accounts for intellectual products produced (i.e. consulting jobs, financial advisors, americans not working in the US). Second China has 1 billion people vs 300 million in the US. This means that if you divide 14 trillion by the number of people in each country the US is economically way ahead of China. Just to keep things in perspective.

04/30/14 Various Links

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Links for Wednesday:

The Skit Guys: They have some great videos on fatherhood and motherhood. www.skitguys.com

A discussion on the future of the US economy: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-25/5-things-ponder-smorgasbord

Wikipedia’s entry on parenting styles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parenting_styles

Discover what silver is worth day to day. The Silverprice website: http://silverprice.org/

Do you talk to your children?

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It always amazes me how much children have to say and their observation about the world. They look at the world very innocently and unbiased. They say very random things and sometimes what is most obvious. This is in contrast as we parents stare at our cell phone and engage with people on the internet. It leads me to believe that we are missing valuable minutes and learning experiences with our children.

Do you take the time to talk with them?

In general it is very easy to live our days in auto pilot. I do it on a regular basis. There is no shame in it. However where I think we need to reconsider our priorities in when it comes to our children. We should sit down and talk with them and listen to what they say. First of they may tell you something you have never heard before. Also if you listen to then, they will realize you are interested in them and they will more likely listen to you.

People worry about their children becoming little criminals however there is no doubt that if they are like you they will be productive members of society. But our children are growing up right before you and that this time goes by fast.  My oldest just turned 5 and I am blown away by how fast that went. I imagine that before long he will be headed of to college. Can you imagine that, your baby is leaving the house? There for it is important to talk and listen to them and impart them with wisdom and knowledge, because before you know it they will be gone.

 

Independence for your children

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One of the things I recall from growing up was that I spent almost every waking minute outside. If I was not in school or in bed I was outside. I rode my bike very where and ran around with the other little boys doing the kinds of things that gave my parents grey hair. I haven’t told them every thing I did wither. If they knew at the time I may not be here today. This lifestyle is in contrast to many parents today who do not allow their children out or heavily supervise all activities.

 

While I understand wanting to watch your children and making sure they don’t get into trouble or hurt. Hovering over children is the part I don’t entirely get. In a recent parenting article I read it stated that various schools have remedial classes for children who are entering kindergarten. This is because some of the kids have not fully developed motor skills. Also there are kids that are still in diapers entire kindergarten. This is shocking to read. What causes these types of issues?

 

In being a parent myself, I have to walk a line between being protective and using common sense. My children are allowed to anything they wish unless it is blatantly going to end up in disaster. They can climb things, hop in the ocean, run around outside and most likely they will be fine. They also learn very quickly if they ever get hurt to not do that again. This freedom will quickly teach them what they can and cannot do.

 

 

Some interesting links on Money, parenting and a random one

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–    Money link: On the future demographics of the United States http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-13/next-america-two-dramas-slow-motion

–    Money link: Dave Ramsey on talking to your kids about money http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/why-arent-you-talking-to-your-kids?ictid=text2.content

–    Parenting link: 9 gentle parenting tips http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/9-gentle-parenting-hacks-that-really-work.html

–    Random: In defense of Minimum wage: http://www.uscatholic.org/minimumwage

Education is not one size fits all

 

There many different types of cars, blue cars, big cars, fast cars, old people cars and cheap cars. There also many kinds of houses big ones, small ones, ones with lawns and some with pools. In fact there many different kinds of cereals and places you can buy them at, convenience stores, grocery stores, big warehouses and even on line. This is the nature of the world, there is a huge variety of places where you can do and buy things. In contrast to this the modern education system of the US, it essentially has only one way of teaching. Why is this?

Until about 60 years ago middle school was all people needed to get. Why do we need to be in school another 4 years essentially learning the exact same things as in elementary school? Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow kids to try out different things in order to be ready to enter the jobs market? Right now most high schoolers are ill equipped to enter the advanced economy with their skills and instead end up working at minimum wage jobs or enter college. They now will spend another 4 years learning skills that will help them get a job, however they have now spent some of the greatest years of their life stuck at a desk. There has to be a better way.

There are many alternatives to the modern system. These are some ideas to improve things. The first thing is to allow kids to graduate at 9th grade and allow them to enter a trade school or go apprentice at a local business (or big business). The trade school would teach various skills from wood working to IT. The apprenticing would be the equivalent of going to school but then at local business where a student could learn finance, management or even just very basic skills like how to work within a business. As for other children they could stay in school like the current system that set them up to go onto higher education such as college.

This little tweak to a school would allow a lot of flexibility for young people especially the ones that do not want to be in school over the age of 15 and would rather be in the work force. This would also aid businesses in being able to teach children the value of work. Further more it would still allow the people that desire to go onto college to do that. This would be a small change but would hopefully alleviate some of the issues with kids not wanting to go school and truancy.

This is self censorship

A weird thing hit me the other day when my son used some not so good word. I mean it really surprised me kind of like the way you would react to your dog speaking to you with a charming British accent. Its not as though this word is something I have never heard before or that it really is that shocking but to hear your kid say it is something else. I told him that is a word that he shouldn’t use cause they it is not a nice word to say. He hasn’t used it since I had that talk with him.

It made me kind of wonder a couple of things. Where did he pick this up? I don’t use that word or other such category words around my kids for specifically that very purpose. Also I wondered why these words have such bad connotations, at the end of the day they are just words. How can I prevent my kid from using this kind of language?

Talking with him about this type of language got him to stop.

I imagine that the neighbor kids are likely the ones that use that language around my kids and there for he said it. But how do you get those kids to stop using that language? That might be a real big challenge.

Lastly the part that I had never really thought about before but was brought to my attention by a certain comedian, why are these various words censored? It’s not as though they are illegal or anything or even cause violence. I am not advocating the use of them however do we need it regulated? In most of society people don’t use these words and generally some kind of societal pressure will get those who foul language to not use them.

What do you think, should there be censorship?

Why are girls so different?

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I have three kids and I love it. It is amazing how original they are and the crazy and funny things they say. Last night my son was listening to the song “Michael row the boat ashore” and he yelled ARRR I am a pirate during it. Why he would say that I am not entirely sure but it makes a lot of sense. But as I look my boys I feel a lot of confidence in them and I don’t worry about their future. When they turn 18 I am fairly confident that I can set them free to go into the world. However this feeling was not the same when my daughter was born. The first moment I held her I felt that she was a bit more frail then my boys and I looked into her blinking eyes and realized that I had to take care of this precious child.

As her father I feel as though I have to guide her and be a daily example of how to be a productive member of society.  Besides I would want be the example that she uses if she ever gets into a relationship, which won’t happen till she’s 99. “Sorry honey, I am sure he is cute but he is not good enough for you.”

One of the other struggles that I deal with is how I should raise my daughter and her future education. The one side of me is obviously affected by the world around me and practical experience of  my sister. Growing up in a conservative community it is largely expected that as a women you should be ready to get married at 18, however what happens when you cannot find some one? This was a big deal with my sister. She looked around and there wasn’t really any out there that she hit it of with. Yet, all around her, her friends are dating and getting married. How do you deal with that scenario? Do you have your daughter stay at home and wait for some one to show up or do you encourage them to do something else? I am very happy to say that my sister found a wonderful man to marry, however she was almost 30. (This wasn’t lack of trying) I don’t think  my parents would have let her live at home that long. 

So I look at my daughter I would say that I would find it very important to gain an education and start a career. Besides when else do you  have the ability to live in Paris, the Netherlands and New York all by yourself. What do you think, how should one raise a daughter to be a productive member of society?

Now for something different…I got a shaving brush

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So I took the plunge and went out and bought a badger hair shave brush. I used this to get a thick lather out of my “Vergulden Hand” (http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/281283926154?lpid=82) shaving soap and put it on my face. The brush sucked up much of the soap and put it on my face. The lather was much thicker and better dispersed then what I can do with my hands. In fact the actual shaving itself went much better then when I had applied the shaving cream by hand. This is likely because the brush pushes facial hair out where it can be out.

The reason I started this was because one of my colleagues talked to me about getting a safety razor and shaving brush and shaving cream. He said it did a much better job then any 3 bladed razor or an electric razor. Being a skeptic I don’t automatically jump in on fads, however I am always interested in saving money. There for I am willing to give the safety razor a shot.

While the brush and the shaving cream is very nice, my electric razor is very convenient and probably won’t be replaced any time soon by this method. Maybe I will end up using it on my day off. (Next up, my adventures with a safety razor)