Archive for » January, 2009 «

January 29th, 2009 | Author:

#6 – It’s only money.

 

You don’t have to be old to understand how bad the economy is on so many levels but things can’t stay bad forever, right?  I know this is probably not a good time to say “It’s only money,” especially when I’m only 13 and don’t have to make a living or take care of a family or any of those grown-up responsibilities.  But I’m not talking about whether you have it or you don’t.   I’m talking about how it affects people.

My mom and dad both grew up with five kids in their families.  They got the things they needed but didn’t always get the things they wanted.   When they grew up and were on their own, they both went through times when they didn’t have much money.  My dad tells me stories about how he ate mac and cheese a lot in college.  My mom remembers going to the grocery store with a calculator adding each thing she put in her cart so she wouldn’t run out of money at the cash register. 

Luckily, we’ve never been in that situation since I’ve been born.  But as I learned more about money, they taught me about saving too.   So when I opened my first lemonade stand at the age of 5 and made $25, I didn’t even spend it.  But really, what does a five-year-old need anyway?  That was the beginning of my saving spree and I’m still in that mode.   I have personal money from my recycling business and birthday gifts but I don’t spend much of that either.  I just hate letting go of it.  

My Pencil Bugs business hasn’t made me rich, well at least not yet,  but I know I’m luckier than a lot of people.  The best part about making money with my business is that I’ve been able to donate to help foster kids and buy toys and games to put together gift bags for kids in the hospital.   Some of the money is used to buy more supplies to make Pencil Bugs and the rest is saved for college.

I’ve had some amazing opportunities because of my business.  Just in the last few months, I’ve met some very rich and famous people.  I thought that if I ever met someone like that, they would be different or it would be different but it wasn’t.  Well, at least it hasn’t been different for the ones I’ve met.  They were as nice as could be.  Very generous, supportive, and humble.   As I like to put it, “they’re not full of themselves.”  No attitudes or anything.  Just regular people except with a lot of money and they were all doing a lot to help less fortunate people around the world.

Obviously, life is easier if you have money but it doesn’t make you any happier.  It also doesn’t make you any better than the next guy.   As my grandpa says, “everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.”  I guess that means people are just people regardless of what you have or don’t have.  I also think part of why the rich are rich is because they didn’t spend every cent they earned.

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January 22nd, 2009 | Author:

#5 – 44th Presidential Inauguration

 

Ask your kids if their school had the inauguration on TV or even Internet for them to watch.   From what I’ve been hearing, most schools didn’t.

My school wasn’t any different.   The history teacher didn’t even talk about it.   During science when we were reviewing for the midterm next week, the teacher had her computer on but it wasn’t like the whole class was able to see what was going on.  I saw and heard a few things here and there like the lady who did the poem, which I thought was kind of weird.  It didn’t make any sense to me.

It shouldn’t matter who people voted for or what their religious ideas are or what color someone is.  I think a presidential inauguration (at least his speech) should have been important enough to all schools so they made time to show it to the kids.  It’s now two days past and even though my mom recorded it for me, I still haven’t had time to watch it because I’ve been so busy getting ready for midterms next week.   There are more important things in life than just taking tests but that’s what schools focus on and I don’t want to blow it so other things have been put on hold for now.

I even told my mom that maybe we should make a DVD of the inauguration; that it might be worth something some day.  She said with how easy it is for people to do that on their own, my copy wouldn’t be worth money but suggested that I might want to keep a copy to show my kids so I could say I was in 7th grade when America voted in the first black president.  And who knows?  Maybe he won’t be the last.

So for all the schools, including mine, that didn’t think this historical event wasn’t important enough to make time to show to every class, “Bad school.”

January 19th, 2009 | Author:

#4 – Over 14,000 text messages – Get real!

 

I don’t watch much news on TV because it’s mostly bad news and my parents don’t think I need to see that all the time.  But I do see some headlines on Yahoo once in awhile.  This one was pretty silly.  The 14-year-old girl that texted over 14,000 messages in one month!

First of all, girls are different.  They giggle a lot, get in stupid fights over silly stuff like who copied whose hairstyle, talk on the phone more than boys, and probably text more often.  But any kid, no matter if it’s a boy or girl, that has time to text that many messages must not be doing much else or have parents that pay too much attention to what she’s doing.

My parents gave me a cell phone last year when I started 6th grade for emergencies only because my school was several miles from our house and mom has to drive me there and back.  She wanted to make sure I had access to her even though the school has rules about keeping cell phones in our lockers all day.  And my cell phone isn’t even an expensive one – it’s the pay-as-you-go kind without even a camera option.  I use it so little that I don’t even use up the minimum number of minutes we have to buy each time.  So texting isn’t something I do either and can’t imagine how anyone could text that much.   And if I were on the phone that much, my mom or dad would for sure know what I was doing and wouldn’t let me keep doing it.

The thing that really bugs me is that the news was all over this story.   This girl even made the national news because my grandma in North Dakota saw it and the kid lives in southern California.  How dumb is that?  It just goes to show you that the news focuses on more bad things than good stories.   What’s wrong with this picture?

January 16th, 2009 | Author:

#3 – The Fear of Flying

 

After yesterday’s plane crash that landed in the Hudson River, I remembered how much I don’t like flying.  It’s not because I’m afraid of flying.  I actually think it’s pretty fun and have been doing it a lot since I was seven months old.

The part that bugs me about flying is that initial smell of the air as you walk inside the plane from the runway.  I know it’s not natural air and I don’t know what they do to it but it sure stinks!   Just the thought of that stinky air makes me get nauseous even before I get on the plane.  Mom says it’s a mental thing and tries to help me get my mind on something else but that hasn’t worked too well.

Here’s a trick that works wonders that my mom did when she flew over to Greece a hundred years ago when they let people smok on planes.  And she said the European cigarettes stunk much worse than the ones here.  If you have a glass of water that you can take on the plane with you, pretend like you’re drinking it but don’t.  Instead, just keep your mouth on the edge and breathe the clean oxygen from the water.  Of course you don’t want to have a full glass or you’ll have your nose in the water and that wouldn’t be good or safe.   It probably sounds silly but it works.  When I don’t have a glass of water, I’ve even carefully put my nose up to a plastic bottle of water and breathed into it.

Other than the horrible smell in the air, I think flying is the way to go.  Thankfully, I’ve never been in a crash or even any minor problems while flying so I might change my mind if that ever happened.  But flying is like anything else that goes wrong.  It’s the old saying my grandpa says, “if the horse bucks you off, you get right back on.”

I can’t imagine what life was like before airplanes.  We can go halfway around the world in no time.  Everyone knows it’s safer than driving in a car so if a person is scared of flying, I’d say to figure out how to get over it.  Otherwise, you’re limited on what you can do or where you can go in a reasonable amount of time.

It’s a good thing that pilot from yesterday’s crash knew exactly what to do to land the plane safely, even if it was in freezing water.  At least everyone lived.  It must not have been their time.

January 16th, 2009 | Author:

#4 – A website doesn’t guarantee success or sales.

 

I’ve given quite a few presentations at schools, businesses, community organizations, and libraries.  Sometimes when people are interested in starting a business of their own, they ask me about my website.  Of course, the first thing I tell them is that my mom designed it for me and has a web design business of her own.   But the most important thing I say is that just because you get a website, doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful.  It doesn’t matter if you have a product or service business.  If people don’t know where to find you on the Internet, it’s the same as having a real store in the middle of nowhere.  Or to use one of my grandpa’s sayings, “it’s a needle in a haystack.” 

Having a website is pretty easy to do but it’s not all about making it just look good.  As my mom has taught me, there are a lot of technical things involved to make sure the search engines find your site.  And even with that done right, your site is still one of millions on Internet which means you need to find other ways to get people to it.  That’s a whole other topic about creative marketing which luckily, my mom does really well.

So when people think, “hey, I’ll get a website up and start making tons of money,” it usually doesn’t happen that way.  There’s a lot more to it.