Why Participation Matters Much More Than Winning

By Angela Noel

October 12, 2017

I admit, I don’t really know who James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers is. But, he posted this in 2015 to rave reviews on Instagram: 

I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues

I’ve heard some version of this from many people. In fact, a reporter for For the Win by USA Today put up a poll at the end of his post about another athlete, Kobe Bryant, offering his opinion of his own children’s less-than-first-place wins. Of about 700 respondents so far, more than half feel participation trophies are “bad.”

But I heartily and totally disagree. And here’s why: RAGNAR.

Continue reading “Why Participation Matters Much More Than Winning”

Story Skeleton: The River Carries the Story

Guest Post: A Story Skeleton by Kathy Davis

September 28, 2017

I can watch the flow of water in a rocky, shallow river for hours at a time. Nothing particular occupies my mind; just the travel of water over the hills, valleys, and byways that comprise the river’s topography. The water goes carelessly over, around, and under the boulders and stones that determine its path. When it meets resistance it does not fight against it. Rather, it seeks the nearest and easiest course in its gravitational pull to reach its final level. Continue reading “Story Skeleton: The River Carries the Story”

What’s in a Name? Identity, Security, and a Pat-Down

by Angela Noel

September 21, 2017

Through a quirk of the online travel service at my work, my airline ticket was issued in my old name. A fact I did not discover nor suspect until I arrived at the airport and attempted to check in for my flight. When the ticket printed from the self-service kiosk, I stared at it for a full minute.

What to do? Continue reading “What’s in a Name? Identity, Security, and a Pat-Down”

Food, Conversation, Gardening, and Pepsi: A Love Letter for Grandma

A Love Letter by Erin Burton

September 14, 2017

She was tall (about 5’9″), thin, and always active. She loved going on walks, gardening, and picking wild berries. Her hair was always perfectly curled, her clothes always pressed with the most perfect creases, and her socks were always bright white (this still baffles me). But, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my grandma was the way she was always smiling, her cheeks always pink, and the warm hugs that flowed freely. Grandma was quite the woman. Continue reading “Food, Conversation, Gardening, and Pepsi: A Love Letter for Grandma”

Story Skeleton: A Spider’s Death Sentence Commuted . . . For Now

By Angela Noel

September 7, 2017

Crazy spider walking precarious along my page: I hate you because you are creepy. And you hate me because I hold your death in my fingers.

Yet I am more like you than I am not. Something holds a tissue above me, too. Something that would squash my life as I would squash yours–and equally without thought. Continue reading “Story Skeleton: A Spider’s Death Sentence Commuted . . . For Now”

Co-Parenting: Confessions of a Part-Time Mom

by Angela Noel

August 31, 2017

It happens every time. Jackson waves good-bye to me and walks with his dad into the car or into his dad’s house. I drive away or close the door and get on with my day. Then, about an hour or two later, I feel it. A physical pang, like hunger mixed with loss, strikes me. The twinge lasts only a few seconds, but I’ve come to know it well: I miss him. Continue reading “Co-Parenting: Confessions of a Part-Time Mom”

Inventing Success One Good Idea at a Time

By Angela Noel

August 24, 2017

“I don’t consider myself an inventor,” says Max Markgraf. “I used to like the word maker, but that’s not right either. I want to consider myself a creator.” For Max, it’s transformation not modification that represents creation. He’s looking for the space between what existed before and what isn’t yet reality, but should be. He found that space for the first time in high school. And he called it Stallion Wear. Continue reading “Inventing Success One Good Idea at a Time”

Sharing the Good: It’s not You, It’s Me

By Angela Noel

August 17, 2017

Remember in February when I said I’d created a weekly way to share the good called Awesome Nuggets? No? Of course you don’t. Why would you? I didn’t do a good job with it at all. I kept it up for a month and when a thousand people didn’t immediately start posting little gems of goodness on my Facebook page I gave up. Shame on me. Continue reading “Sharing the Good: It’s not You, It’s Me”

Why Dragons are Terrible Role Models for Humans

By Angela Noel

August 10, 2017

Dragons, according to some myths, hoard gold and shiny things. They gather the stuff up into a big pile and sleep on it. They can’t spend it. They’re giant flying serpents for heaven’s sake. If they wanted something they could take it, no need for a wallet or coin purse. Why would a giant, powerful creature feel the need to find, store, and jealously guard shiny things it cannot ever use?

Then again, why do people hoard things like compliments? Why do humans find it so difficult at times to offer genuine praise or admiration? Or to accept it graciously when offered?

Could dragons and humans suffer from the same affliction: Protecting things we cannot possibly make use of because of some fear that without that thing we’ve lost our power? Continue reading “Why Dragons are Terrible Role Models for Humans”

Story Skeleton: She Who Laughs at Grammy

By Angela Noel

August 3, 2017

“She who laughs at Grammy cries at the reading of the will,” says my grandmother, draped in curlers and a silken turquoise robe.

Lugged from some hidden corner, she plunks a mutant plastic Easter egg on the kitchen counter. She opens the domed contraption, extending its long neck. Settling herself in her barstool, she flips a switch on the device. Whirring, then a huff like a deep sustained sigh, begins. Beneath the dome, her head, to the lips, disappears. Continue reading “Story Skeleton: She Who Laughs at Grammy”