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"I Do Not Know" Is a Four Letter Phrase

"Dad, I heard that you can make it rain by shooting stuff in the sky. How does that work?"

"Dad, how fast is a speeding bullet anyway?"

"Dad, I keep hearing about Darfur, what is going on there?"

With the Internet in general and Wikipedia in particular, a parent never has to respond with "I don't know" again. Instead, the response can always be: "Let's go look it up" and a few keystrokes later, everyone is a little wiser. (Always a good idea to Google for some alternate information sources as well and teach the kids about healthy skepticism and due diligence - see snopes.com)

Recently, I noticed the folks at Wikipedia are asking for donations via a prominent banner at the top of their pages. I use the site so regularly and have shared so many great family "teachable moments" there, that I just couldn't resist the request. I gave this morning with the comment:

Wikipedia is a wonderful resource and a symbol of the boundless possibilities offered by the Internet. It has virtually eliminated the phrase "I don't know" from my family's vocabulary.

How about you?

Don't say "I don't know", click below!

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


Reading the Classics in 5 Minute Daily Chunks

You've read Uncle Tom's Cabin haven't you? You know, the the best-selling novel in the world during the 19th century and the second best-selling book after the Bible (according to Wikipedia).

Umm, err, actually, I hadn't read it until last Thursday. Somehow I navigated through high school and college without reading this absolute classic (not to mention several others). The shame! And, between work and family, who has time to go back and read those missed classics now?

Well, if you read email every day, you do! Thanks to Daily Lit, my literary shame (or, shall I say, one of my many literary shames) ended last Thursday. (Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 10:50:05 PM to be precise.) Yes, I finally read Uncle Tom's Cabin - 3 to 5 minutes at a time in 233 installments interspersed with my daily email. What an amazing book!

Daily Lit is a very clever way to squeeze outside reading into your daily electronic routine. You go to their site, pick a book (they have about 950 and the classics are free since they are generally in the public domain), and give them your email. Then, they send you daily emails with successive snippets from the book that take a few minutes to read. I encourage you to try it.

In some ways, reading a book in 3-5 minute snippets detracts from the experience. For example, I occasionally found myself struggling to reestablish flow and context. In other ways, I found the experience to be greatly enhanced. Reading something for 233 days has a way of forcing long term reflection. One thing I know for sure: I'm better off having read Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I may never have done so had I not stumbled upon DailyLit.com.

Now, I'm off to the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. (Um, no, I never read that one either, but talk to me in 91 days.)


Awakening the Possibilities on One Cheek

Here is another great video to share with your family and friends. Check it out:

I came across it today in a post on Garr Reynolds' most excellent Presentation Zen site.

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Be a Tigger, Not an Eeyore. Watch This.

Here is a great 10 minute inspirational video that is on my must-see list. It is a condensed version of "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. Many of you may have seen or heard about it already. I watched the original hour+ lecture a while back and I highly recommend it. This 10 minute version is a great refresher (when you are feeling in that Eeyore mood from time to time) and hits all the key points. In particular, I think it is a perfect teachable moment opportunity with children. I sat down and watched it with each of mine.

Be a Tigger!

P.S. I stumbled upon this version of the Pausch video while reading this Presentation Zen blog entry by Garr Reynolds. Garr has an excellent blog on preparing and delivering compelling presentations.