Kids need a break too.

Canadians are all work and no play:

Sit-down family dinners are rare in the Grunling home. Myles, 16, and Colin, 14, play soccer on teams coached by their father. Crystal Grunling and her husband, Manfred, work full-time jobs, and the boys, in Grades 11 and 8, attend different schools.

“We’re running every night of the week,” said Ms. Grunling, 44, a program director with the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. “We have practices for one or the other, games for one or the other. It just never stops.

To be fair, Americans are just as time-crunched. But we often do it to ouselves. And what are we teaching our children?

When I was a kid my parents didn’t schedule our lives every minute of the day. We played, in a totally non-structured format, with our friends. We ran, jumped, climbed trees, and did a lot of stuff that would make parents choke today. Those same parents who did all of that stuff themselves.

Somewhere along the line somebody decided that we needed to program every moment of our kids lives, or we were bad parents.

That’s just wrong. As parents we should spend time with our kids, letting them do things that they enjoy doing with us. And the rest of the time we need to let them play. Unscheduled play.

Maybe when we can let our kids have a break we can relearn that it’s ok to relax occasionally too. And maybe put down the BlackBerry and forget about work for a few minutes. Then we will be teaching the kids a valuable lesson. That there is a time for work, and a time for play.


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When technology stops being technology.

Via Seth Godin:

I saw a two-year old kid (in diapers, in a stroller), using an iPod Touch today. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus and interacting. This is a revolution, guys.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The iPad is often written off, but when I saw it announced I believed that it was the single most important advance in computing technology since I started working with computers many years ago.

The iPhone and the iPad have ushered in an era where technology has ceased to be technology and has become a tool we use in our everyday lives – casual, intuitive tools that do just what the average person wants them to do.And they’re comfortable for all age groups, from the very young, to the very old.


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Doing more of less.

Today’s Financial Post suggests that AT&T’s move to drop their unlimited data plan may boost RIM because customers realize they can to more with less bandwidth:

The benefit for Waterloo-based Research In Motion, who makes the Blackberry, could be in current iPhone users realizing they can get more out of RIM’s device.

“Now, as RIM is poised to unveil BlackBerry 6 on new smart phones with improved browsing and UI, BlackBerry users may realize they can ‘do more’ under caps vs. iPhone (e.g. 3x browsing), while some iPhone/Android users may suffer from ‘bill shock’ if they breach caps unintentionally.”

This could especially apply to business users, who tend to consume more data than the average customer.

This is a fallacy. The truth is that users of smartphones such as the iPhone simply do more. As early as 2008, Google noted that search traffic from iPhones was 50 times greater than any other smartphone.

With far better browsers users do more surfing on iPhones and Android-based phones than they do on BlackBerry phones. Watching video is a better experience as well, leading to more usage. Twitter, Facebook, as well as posting photos and video are simpler. And the proliferation of apps for those other platforms leads to even more data usage.

With its current OS, the BlackBerry still tends to be used as an email device, leading to an overall lower data usage. BlackBerry users don’t do more; they just do more of less.


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Competition is a fact of life. Deal with it.

It’s unfortunate that everyone can’t be the winner in any particular sporting event, but you can’t make things better by punishing those that do win:

In yet another nod to the protection of fledging self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default.

The Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league’s newly implemented edict is intended to dissuade a runaway game in favour of sportsmanship. The rule replaces its five-point mercy regulation, whereby any points scored beyond a five-point differential would not be registered.

Even from a very young age kids know enough to play to win, and even if adults pretend differently, the kids know the truth. They can count. And we certainly don’t improve their self-confidence by lying to them.

It surprises me that Canadians, competitive to the death where hockey is concerned, would introduce such a stupid rule. What happens in ten or fifteen years when we’ve taught these kids to expect that the loser suddenly is the winner? We’ve given them no incentive to win; in fact we’ve taught them to lose.


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