Tag Archives: Confidence


He’s a baller, is Hyper Lad.

One of the reasons we originally sent Zippy the College Boy to a private school for kids with learning disabilities was, in addition to the fact that he had a learning disability, the school also gave him the opportunity to play sports for the school.

Their mom and I are huge believers in the healing power of sport. We believe that being on a team, learning that you can count on your teammates, just like they need to be able to count on you, is a tremendously uplifting experience.

Young dudes who play sports, especially for their school, show an amazing increase in earned self confidence and a better self image. Those things combined are tremendous helps to any kid, not to mention even more vastly important for kids with learning disabilities.

But enough high-flown rhetoric. I’m really excited that I get to see a second son play basketball for his school. Yeah, Hyper Lad, who started off the year proclaiming he would never play a team sport (and doesn’t that sound familiar) is now a member of the Falcons’ JV basketball team.

And tonight is his first game.

I’m especially excited because this is the first time I’ll be able to watch him play basketball without also being his coach. See, coaches and their children, be they dudes or dudettes, have a different sort of relationship than does the rest of the team.

Most parent-coaches have a difficult time working their way through the minefield of playing time, positioning and all that sort of stuff with their kid. Will the other parents get mad if your child plays an important position? If he has a bad game there, but stays? Are you being unfairly critical to your child? Are you letting her off too easily?

It’s a touchy proposition at best. Which makes this game tonight so much fun for me.

I get to sit in the stands and be an unabashed cheer section for my son and, somewhat at a lesser volume, the rest of the team. All I have to worry about is if I have a good seat so I can see all the action.

Even better, Hyper Lad is excited about this game as well. He was worried that he’d be on the varsity team. See, he knew that he wasn’t as good as the varsity players and knew that, if he were on the team, he wouldn’t get nearly as much playing time as they did.

On the JV, he’s going to get more playing time and, thus, more opportunity to improve his game to the point where he will get the time on the floor no matter what team he’s on. He just wants to play.

I just want to cheer.

Sounds like a match made in basketball heaven.

Although, positing that basketball heaven exists does make me wonder: What makes a basketball a good ball, and where do the bad balls go? Doggie heaven to serve as chew toys?

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Talking Privacy With Your Young Dudes

Think of their online life as a diary or a journal.

Your young dudes and dudettes aren’t going to be talking to you, their parents, all the time. They’re not going to share everything, no matter how much you tell them you won’t judge or yell or scold. They’re kids. They’re going to be skeptical and, perhaps, rightly so.

Yet, people need an outlet and that’s where Facebook and similar social media comes in. These young dudes and dudettes feel the urge to vent and they’ve been conditioned to do so in writing (good) which is mostly public (bad).

They already know from personal experience that they can’t tell everything to every single person and expect it to be kept a secret. Some people won’t blab. Others will. If you’ve got a secret crush, you don’t tell the one kid in school who never stops talking and never even tries to censor what is said.

It’s the same thing with their online lives. They might think that they’re only sharing with a few trusted friends, but it doesn’t work like that. And something shared in confidence that comes to see the light of day can and often will come back to bite them on the proverbial butt. Especially when they’re older and start getting investigated as potential employees.

But, again, try talking to your little dudes and dudettes as if their online lives were a journal or diary.

They can write whatever they want in the diary and no one can see it. As long as they take care of it and don’t leave it lying around any little brothers, little sisters or snoopy friends. Ask them if they’d really consider confiding their innermost thoughts to a diary and then leaving it sitting out, open, on a crowded table in the school lunchroom. No, of course they wouldn’t.

And, yet, they do the same thing every day with these social media. Now, I’m not saying this is horrible and should never be used. I’m not like those parents who wrote in Slate recently about how they will never post even a single image of their child on Facebook until the child is old enough to make that decision personally.

I think that might be carrying things a bit too far, but it’s their choice.

All I’m saying is that we as parents have a responsibility to engage in a continuing conversation with our young dudes and dudettes about the uses for and the value of privacy. Not everything needs to be shared, but it will be shared if it’s put on the internet.

That’s the whole point of it. Information wants to be free, yeah?

Well, as far as I’m concerned, there’s some bits about me and probably about you as well that don’t really need to be discussed by anyone other than me. And you, of course. You’re on your own.

So, talk to the young kids. Don’t let them just wander off on their own, but don’t lock them down in the cave and away from the light of day.

It’s a tough line to walk, but that’s why they pay us big bucks as parents, right?

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Independence Day: Library For All

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans.

Normally, I’d take this as a day off so I could be outside blowing stuff up with my young dudes. And, realistically, I will be doing that. However, I wanted to talk first a little about a different kind of independence.

The independence that knowledge brings, and how our modern world can bring itself to the doorstep of anyone. You can help educate the world. You know I’m a huge believer in the healing power of education. I believe, and science will back me up on this, that better education can reduce crime rates, foster a better sense of self, inspire self-confidence, create jobs, raise people out of poverty. All of that.

And with out flourishing market for tablets and e-readers, we have the capability to bring that education to anywhere in the world. No longer would we have to cart a two-ton set of Encyclopedia Britannica around, only to watch the pages moulder in the heat and humidity. We can bring that entire set, plus every single other book in the Library of Congress, on a single e-reader.

The world’s knowledge in the palm of your hand.

Which is why I’m talking to you today about Library for All: A digital library for the developing world, which is a Kickstarter project, which still is short of its goal, that is designed to bring a library of world knowledge to the very poorest people, those most in need of the ameliorating effects of education.

From the project designers: We are harnessing the power of technology, and mobile phone networks found across the developing world, to give low-cost access to a digital library of relevant content. 

The library brings together content from Open Source providers and top global publishers. It is designed for low-bandwidth environments through the use of a local network topology. The platform is designed to be device agnostic. That means it can be accessed via mobile phones, e-readers or even low-cost tablets.

This is a worthy effort here, dudes. It NEEDS your support. Even a few dollars, every few dollars helps. The fine folks running this program have only a little more than 8 days left to make their funding goal. They’re still short. The even better news is that donating to Library For All is tax deductible. It can actually help you, when you help others.

On this Independence Day for America, why not give a little of yourself to support the independence of the rest of the world. Education is something worth fighting for. Education is something that can make fighting itself a relic of the past.

Education is the pathway to a better future. Donate. Become a backer. It’s not hard. Ten minutes, tops. That’s all it takes to help spread the independence we so treasure to others around the world.

Independence, freedom, can never be given to someone. It must be earned. Help them earn their freedom, to earn independence from poverty and oppression.

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