* Nine things to teach your kids

I found the following article written by Paul Merriman very useful.

Let’s face it: As parents we know we have learned lots of important lessons, and we wish our kids would pay attention when we try to impart those lessons. And let’s face it: Our kids usually hear what they want to hear and ignore what they want to ignore. (Most of us did the same thing when we were young, but let’s keep that just between us for now.)

Occasionally we parents have a window of opportunity when, for reasons that are sometimes hard to fathom, our kids are in a receptive mood and actually pay attention. When we can, I think we should take full advantage of those opportunities to teach the things that are likely to make a big difference.

Basic lessons for younger children include the concept of saving and the notion (even some grownups never seem to get this right) that you can only spend a single dollar once, so you should choose carefully.

For purposes of this article, I’ll focus on how to instill good investing habits and attitudes in young people who are just getting started with careers and savings. Here are nine lessons I’d love to see them learn.

First: Start saving now. Even if all you have is $50, start. Many potential fortunes have been lost because people waited. Time is the biggest asset that young people have. Time to add to their savings. Time to let those savings grow and compound. A 1,000-mile journey starts with a single step, as you’ve probably heard more times than you can count. One reason you’ve heard it over and over is that this is one of the ways the world really works.

Read the complete article

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* Are You Enjoying the Beauty Around You?

My dear friend Ann sent this to me.

The location was Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes: The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions were raised in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…. How many other things are we missing?

Click here to read more

or here to an article with some videos included