dba daddy

Dynastic Trust: Advice to The Women My Daughter and Niece Will Someday Be.

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1. Use your advantage to help others instead of hurt them. Other than in sporting... Never do anything that puts others at a disadvantage.

2. In matters of great importance, the best response is offered after emotion and suspicion yield to reason and logic. Wait one day to respond to anything that makes your face hot.

3. Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Give Up. The fear of falling is often more debilitating than the fall itself. It is in falling that we realize our resilience.

4. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It shows you recognize the importance of a task.

5. Sometimes doing nothing is a lot...but when you move, move with purpose.

6. Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.

7. Just tell the truth & never put a price on your principles.

8. Do more than the minimum. 

9. Ski, Surf, Walk, Drive, Ride, Fly & Live in a predictable fashion whenever there are others behind or around you.

10. If you think you can, you will. If you think you can't, you won't.

11. The most Important things you will ever say: "After you", "Please", "Thank You", "I Love You" and "I'm Sorry".

12. Go to bed early. You will accomplish more before others wake than you will after they've gone to sleep.

13. Never drink more than one cocktail with subordinates or superiors. 

14. Dissenting opinions and unpleasant news should only be voiced if some significant good can come of it. Displaying one's level of intelligence or social connectivity does not constitute a "significant good".

15. Those who control others are strong. Those who control themselves are powerful...and more attractive. 

16. It's better to be wrong and alive, then right and dead.

17. Stand back when waiting for an elevator or when someone is exiting a room. If you give people enough space to exit first, there'll be more room for you to enter afterwards.   

18. Never write, text, email or post anything on-line that you wouldn't want to air as a commercial during the Super Bowl.

19. The power in hate, greed, negativity and jealousy is in it's ability to distract you. Don't let it. Never lower yourself to the level of those who thrive on such things. They say misery loves company...and there will always be people who are stressed, overwhelmed and/or unhappy with themselves. Never let them influence your opinion of yourself....because they will definitely try. And be as kind to them as possible. Not because they deserve it but because you are kind.

20. All the world's ills (other than those resulting from chemical or psychological imbalance) can be traced back to poor parenting and/or poor education. Never stop learning! 

21. A person's character is not so easily measured in times of comfort and advantage. The more accurate measure of one's character is taken in the most threatening of times... when weakness is most likely to triumph. Even then, character is not found in one's faults or folly but in the methods and sincerity with which they redeem themselves...and those they've failed.

22. Great intelligence demands even greater patience. 

23. Drugs are a distraction from: doing what truly makes your heart happiest, discovering the most beauty that life has to offer and knowing what day it is...additionally, they make bad ideas seem like decent ones. 

24. Listen carefully. There's a difference between being quiet while waiting for your turn to speak and being quiet in order to hear and consider what someone else is saying. The former requires you to simply close your mouth. The latter requires you to open your mind.

25. When no rule exists, do the right thing. There's always an opportunity / It's never too late to do the right thing.

26. Never buy a house: at the bottom of a hill, near a body of water, with a flat roof or quickly built.

27. There's nothing worse than a bully. Stand up for yourself... and those who can not stand up for themselves.

"The greatest sin that could be committed is the abuse of power. Whether it's mental, physical or economic." - Joe Biden

28. Sustained actions speak louder than words.

29. Never underestimate anyone...especially yourself.

30. In life, there will always be positives and there will always be negatives. Your attitude is driven by which you choose to focus on each and every day. It’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond. (Read "The Road Less Traveled".)

31. Everything is relative. Everyone's perspective is their reality. 

32. Never recline a seat in coach or fart in an elevator if you can help it. Both may provide some relief but it's usually at the expense of another.

33. Everything is on it's way somewhere. Nothing "goes away" and nothing can be "thrown away".

34. Quality work is expensive. Cheap work costs even more.

35. Be mindful of the ease with which an unintended tone can be imparted to the written word of another. Read "The 5 Minute Manager".

36. Mistakes and inconsistencies are where the natural beauty lies. There is no such thing as "perfect" and there is no such thing as "right" or "wrong" in art.

36. The Platinum Rule: Treat Others as They Want To Be Treated.

37. Nothing great is ever accomplished alone.

38. You can teach most anyone a skill... but you can't teach anyone personality and character.

39. Make time to be still and quiet in nature...then dance in the rain and let yourself get soaked! It's good for the soul.

40. If you're having a problem with a person or situation, look at your own behavior first...and then look at your own behavior again.

41. Treat every one & every place like a campsite... Leave them a little better than how you found them.

42. Exercise is the ultimate antidepressant...and greatest tailor. 

43. When facing any catastrophe, ask yourself: "How much will this matter in 20 years?".

44. Collaborate with people from all different walks of life. The cross-pollination between passionate people from various disciplines enables real innovation to flourish.

45. Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle... hidden or not. 

46. Boys will break your heart (especially when you forget how wonderful your are). Let them. Learn from it.

47. Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer allows you to grow.

48. Stop calling him. Stop texting him. Stop saying things you hope he will hear. If he wanted you, and deserved you...he'd be there.

49. Bellybutton piercings and tattoos are always bad ideas. Self-acceptance is the coolest accessory.

50. Life begins where your comfort zone ends. Be carefree...but don't be careless.

51. Seeing the good in something and building on it is usually more productive than seeing the bad and trying to fix it.

52. You don't have to practice law but you should study law for the sake of your freedom...as both lawyers and judges are human.

53. You will find that some laws are only elucidated once the enforcement of them serves the interest of one (or few) who profit by their application.

54. It's far easier for some to believe a lie that supports one's prejudice and resentment than to maintain an open mind while seeking the truth.

55. You are bound to find some discontent in your life. Don't let that discontent form your opinions, design  your truth or decide your happiness...for hatred, injustice and the absence of peace in the world begins with the prejudice discovered upon projecting self depreciation onto others. 

56. Time doesn't heal all wounds...but it does allow for more experiences which, in turn, yield a different perspective.

57. Don't let anyone define your self-worth...not even him.

58. Trust your instincts.

59. Most people let down their guard after 6 months...if they ever had it up.

60. Be grateful & love with everything you've got as I and your Mom love you. No matter what... forever and beyond. 

61. READ THE DIRECTIONS.

62. Study Immanuel Kant’s Moral Philosophy namely… Categorical and Hypothetical Imperatives & The Formula of the Universal Law of Nature.

63.  Listen to The Beatles. There's a lot of wisdom in their simple lyrics and they can be a good "home away from home".

64. Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted.

65. Sing out loud.

66. Seeing the good and building on it is always more productive than seeing the bad and trying to change it.

67. In life, you will encounter plenty of "sharks". When you do, summon up all of your strength and punch it in the snout. It will most likely turn and swim away.

68. Always consider the source of the information you receive and the source of the food you eat. Your interests may not be aligned nor your motivations.

69. Resist the notion that there is more hate in the world than love. Although some may profit by magnifying it or by drawing your attention to it - it simply isn't true.

70. Go for the job that offers the best culture and most fulfillment.

71. AIM TO SAVE 30% SPEND 60% & SHARE 10%.

72. Clean tools work better.

73. The best ideas come from wide exposure.

74. "Travel is fatal to ignorance and prejudice" - Mark Twain

75. The best ideas come from great exposure.

76. AIM TO SAVE 30% SPEND 60% & SHARE 10%...and consider an index fund.

77. Decisions, based on a longview approach that considers ancillary impacts, take time.

78. If you can't find something - try straightening up.

79. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed from one form to another... we don't die just because our bodies do. 

 

 

 

Third Party: Princess Themed Birthday Party

Catherine wanted to have a Pancake Princess Party at the house...which meant only a handful of princesses. Sarah's Magic Wand Dispenser and Rainbow Lollipop Tree were both big hits!

Staying Afloat: Never Turn Your Back on The Essentials

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"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence..."'

-Although merely the comedy of Oscar Wilde, this line has lately been extremely evocative, for me, of our Department of Education's inertia in light of positive findings in Montessori research:

http://www.montessori.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=422:montessori-rese..

http://montessoricompass.com/blog/new-research-collaboration-provides-big-opportunity-for-montessori

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500368_162-2050676.html

…and our many states’ recent retreat from potential recovery -in the face of pending sequestration which will likely result in extremely damaging federal cuts to education. 

Michael Sargeant’s (Huffington Post) article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-sargeant/north-carolina-education-cuts_b_3785414.html  discusses the efforts by North Carolina's GOP to create new private school vouchers called: "opportunity scholarships". This.$90MM taxpayer contribution drains $500MM out of the public education system sans accountability.

Cuts like these to education budgets (USA TODAY) in order to offset economic shortfalls is like watering the lawn when the roof is on fire:

Read More:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/09/25/7-states-slashing-education-spending/2866529/

I'm reminded of wisdom regarding downsizing in the business world:

"If a firm is able to concentrate it's expenses around the capabilities that make a real difference in terms of winning in the market then great things happen...then they are able to invest in the areas that cause them to thrive and to grow....people, processes and expertise that allow them to out-execute competition" 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8w_aXu2izI

Cesare Mainardi, Managing Director, Booz & Company, How executives should cut costs but often dont.

 

 

 

 

 

Circle Back: Valuable Lessons in Getting Back to Nature

A Montessorial approach to nature, in which the interconnectedness of simple structures is considered, can deepen an understanding and appreciation of many more seemingly complex principles and/or operations within a multitude of fields from business to medicine.

I saw a program on NOVA the other night, the topic of which was "Nanoarchitecture" and it was fascinating to learn that when you reduced the size of a gold particle (to the size of nanometers) you get completely different optical properties. Gold is no longer "gold" in color when taken to the 13 nanometer size. It's ruby red in color. 

 

"...when a particle of gold is made very small...below 100 nanometers, the smaller the particle, the more it begins to absorb shorter wavelengths of light. Toward the blue end of the spectrum..and the redder it appears. When light rays hit a colored material some rays are absorbed and some are reflected."

-Chad Merkin and David  Pogue Nova Series "Making Things Smaller"

The series also discussed "Structural Color...(as found in the iridescence of butterfly wings, beetle shells and peacock feathers). "Once you discover those new properties of nanoparticles, it almost always leads to new applications." Once such application is a new process of sequencing DNA / testing for genetic variations which is capable of being completed in less than 2hrs. One of the experiments which led to this DNA testing breakthough was one in which equal amounts but different shapes of silver nanoparticles were dissolved in vials of water. Different colored liquids were created based solely on the shape of those silver particles. Silver rods turned the water yellow, silver triangles turned the water green and silver prisms turned the water blue. These newly discovered reactions of nanoparticles were used to help develop the test that enables chromosomal abnormalities to be highlighted upon addition of similarly altered nanoparticles to a DNA sample.

There is tremendous value when a parent or business owner is reminded, through a Montessorial observation of the natural world, that visually observed characteristics of things (or people) can be variables depending on applied forces and independent perspectives...and that those observed characteristics don't necessarily dictate substance. Not only does this promote a wider-view perspective but it also reinforces the value in seeking possible factors outside of one's initial consideration. 

If you pause long enough to take a much broader view of your child's development or of your business' operations, you may be fortunate enough to recognize that the natural world and the business world are inexorably bound due to the fact that we ourselves, regardless of how technical our tools or how complex our lives, are merely components born of and operating within the same kingdom as the elephant and the honeybee.

 

After a small amount of research, I quickly learned that applying holistic and systemic approaches to business, social or educational organizations based on principles in nature is not, by any stretch, new thinking... but has certainly been gaining more traction over the last few years.

Business Reinvention with Nancy Lin discusses the fact that scientists and technologists are uncovering innovative ideas and borrow efficient designs from nature. She answers the question: “Does nature offer leadership lessons that can help us manage the increasing level of uncertainty, speed of change and limited resources to achieve such business transformation?" in her January 6th interview with the Denise DeLuca, co-founder and director of BCI, Biomimicry for Creative Innovation.

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Alan Moore, author of No Straight Lines discusses the fact that a non-linear world is one in which we embrace the power and potential of complexity rather than trying to break it down into unconnected bits and that we see the world systemically. A non-linear world is where we have the capacity and the tools (which already exist) to transform our organizations commercially and non-commercially to work with the grain of human nature not against it that run leaner, more efficiently, and are greener. 

Giles Hutchins’ blog, The Nature of Business (one of my newest favorites) is exploring similar understandings of the interconnectedness of all things in nature and writes:

"Knowledge of the core principles of how life works becomes a critical skill for business leaders and change agents wishing to successfully transform their organizations in these volatile times.  It is what  BCI (Biomimicry for Creative Innovation) calls ‘ecological thinking for radical transformation'."

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Most people in business subscribe to an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with the volatile and globally interconnected business world.  What is required for the health and vitality of our businesses and economies is a radical shift in our perceptions, our thinking and our business behavior.  We are witnessing a change in the business paradigm from one suited for the industrial era to one suited for the interconnected era.

At the core of this paradigm shift is a perception shift from ‘seperatedness’ to ‘interconnectedness’.

Just as in science we have discovered that no longer can the universe be viewed as a machine composed of elementary building blocks, so too must we avoid the propensity to view organizations as atomized, silo’ed and tightly managed machines more then we need view them as vibrant, living organisms interacting within emergent, self-regulating and self-organizing business ecosystems."

 

  "Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle for existence, but rather as a ‘cooperative dance in which creativity and the constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces"

-Fritjof Capra / Founding Director / The Centre for Ecoliteracy.

 

Ditto for business evolution and so business people need to shift perceptions from "...seeing isolated, competing aspects of the business environment to seeing the interconnected and emergent nature of the business reality ahead.”

And finally, Fortune Magazine’s Jennifer Alserver significantly contributed to this concept back in her March 2013 article titled “8 Lessons from the Birds and the Bees”:

“The burgeoning field of biomimicry, in which scientists copy nature to solve human problems, has drawn interest across industries -- from energy to consumer goods. 'There is a whole pipeline of people inventing by looking to the natural world', says Janine Benyus, founder of Biomimicry 3.8, a consultancy that has helped Colgate-Palmolive (CLFortune 500), Levis, Nike (NKEFortune 500) and Boeing (BAFortune 500) reformulate products using biomimicry  “.

 

Nicholas Sykes' TED X talk: - Biomimicry 2.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKQvr-RJQeg&noredirect=1


I continue to discover new and exciting aspects of my business since adopting a more Montessorial perspective on any business venture. 



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Impact Fees: The Hidden Costs of Two Income Families

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When both Mom and Dad are both working full-time, it doesn’t leave much time to take care of the basics. Grocery shopping and filling the car up with gas can often prove a challenging fit into one’s schedule… let alone the little things like: laundry, house cleaning, lawn & garden care, dog walking and feeding, picking up the kids because you can’t leave work at 3:00 in the afternoon…little things like that.

The amount of time it takes to run a household adds up fast…especially when you consider the fact that unless you have another family member living with you (like a mother or mother-in-law) you need to pay someone to help with the day-to-day chores and errands.

The bottom line? If you’re thinking about going back to work once the kid(s) are in school full-time, you should consider the direct impact by weighing the tangible expenses of doing so…or rather ensure that your return to the work force will yield an income that outweighs the cost savings of staying home (calculated below).

House Cleaner: $7,200+/yr.

Babysitter / Nanny: $12,000 - $35,000+/yr.

Dog Walker: $7,800/yr.

Summer Camp / Swim or Country Club:  $2,000 - $10,000+/yr.

Landscaping: $1,500 - $4,000+/yr.

Dry-cleaning: $1,000 - $2,000+/yr.

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$31,500 - $66,000+/yr.

In short, unless you’re re-entry into the job market guarantees a salary of at least $50,000+/yr.… it’s likely you won’t break-even (on paper).

But what should also be taken into consideration, if you are one of the very fortunate (and very few) Americans who are in the position to even view a 2nd income as an option, is the fact that people who do what they love are happier people. And happy people not only make better friends and better lovers but better parents too. So, if your family can sustain itself on one (or one and a half salaries) ask yourself what you love more…the fulfillment of keeping a home or the fulfillment of your former line of work.  

The Power of a Secret: Discovering Something Special

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Sanford is recruiting some pretty talented people (like Kimberly Simpson Earle and Chris Orzechowski) and empowering them with phenomenal resources like significant funding and the most technological devices that few places, if any, in the world are able to avail their researchers and physicians…like the 4th and 5th cardiac stent placement robots in the country and the world’s largest tissue bank for breast cancer research. This tissue bank is Denny Sanford’s greatest advantage in his mission to eradicate breast cancer through genetic isolation of the disease as opposed to only focusing on treatment in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. And they’re making significant progress. Already, they have identified many more types of breast cancer that respond better to treatments previously reserved for what were believed to have been “completely different” cancers.

Those of you who watch the Big Bang Theory may also appreciate the fact that the Higgs-Boson particle (dark matter) was also discovered here in South Dakota. (In a lab deep within a gold mine under acres of prairie grass and pines in the Black Hills).

What also surprised us was the fact that Sioux Falls really is a great place to raise a family. Their clean air and clean water (cleanest in the country in fact) is almost as impressive as the culture we’ve experienced at every turn during our visits. It’s been like the Chevy Chase film “Funny Farm”. After every encounter, I catch myself looking over my shoulder to see if the mayor is actually dolling out $100 bills and thanking residents for a “great performance” and reminding them to “keep smiling!”.  

Sioux Falls offers us the opportunity to raise our daughter in, what feels like, more of a community than a city or town. It’s interesting to see that, even with all the various funding, many of the rooms at Sanford Hospital have been donated by local families.

Good to Great: Moving from East Coast to Midwest

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My wife brought home a refrigerator magnet one day that read: ”Life begins where your comfort zone ends.”…and so life is certainly about to "begin".

After a lot of careful consideration, lengthy discussion and exhaustive research we decided to sell our dream home in Pennsylvania and move to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The plan is to pack up the contents of our house in the next few weeks (making most of the headway while my wife takes Catherine to see her sick Grandpa in Tampa next week) and store everything neatly in the back basement.

We will list the house just in time to hit the tail end of the summer market with hopes that it will be an attractive situation for someone looking to move into the area before the school year starts in September. We will be shipping my wife’s car and drive my Suburban with one week’s worth of supplies in our (just purchased) Thule Atlantis 1800 (Sonic XL) rooftop carrier, along with a 2yr old and a 125lb Newfoundland... should be interesting to say the least. Below is my navigational chart which is an example of how over-thinking and over-planning allays most anxiety for me. It took quite a bit of time to determine the best times to travel, how long to travel and where to stop based on a myriad of variables including everything from nap times to doggy’s potty breaks and anti-anxiety meds (the dog’s). I learned a lot in my 1 week intensive course in trip planning…like the fact that zoo keepers and vets most often move animals under cloak of darkness when possible to avoid additional visual stimulus and potential anxiety / motion sickness…but we also wanted to see most of the trip as well since neither one of us could ever imagine needing or wanting to make a drive like this again.

Although this level of organization may seem like the science of qiyas when equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system in my truck, I can’t help but think that a 5-day trip with 5 planned stops for a family traveling with a dog and a baby (neither of which have ever traveled in a car for more than a couple of hours) it’s imperative to identify additional potential stops at dog-friendly hotels in advance. We need alternate targets that can serve as half-way markers between stops in the event Catherine or Lulu just aren’t doing well…AND potential stops / hotels just past our scheduled stops in the event we are able to / need to make up time and can comfortably survive going on a little further….so that explains the thought process a little… 

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Entertaining Clients: Throwing a Birthday Party

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Some nice birthday gifts received from Catherine’s friends today and a wonderful party all around.

My wife did a lot to make it special and I was moved by the beauty of her happily getting lost in what truly was a labor of love…a commitment to excite and thrill our little girl.  

We stayed up pretty late the night before preparing hand-made decorations and favors in order to construct an “Arts & Crafts” themed party. She monogramed white oversized children’s oxfords with different colored fabric letters for guests to use as smocks they could use at the party and then take home. She also put together a “make-your-own party hat” station as one of the activities for the day and “sock puppet kits” comprised of everything from the sock with cardboard mouth pre-glued in to eyes, whiskers, spots and anything else required for the respective animal or creature-in-a-bag. These kits were packed in their goody bags as well. We both really enjoyed thinking of the animals and characters for which we spent hours cutting out their parts from sheets of felt and making a few of our own along the way.

The sample sock puppet my wife made was hilarious! It actually had a Muppet-like personality. Green yarn hair. Black googley eyes (complete with eyebrows), a long pointy nose and a long thin black mustache. I couldn’t stop laughing when she put it on for a trial run and made “Juan” immediately come alive with his Spanish accent and adult humor. 

Support Services: Translating "I can't do it!"

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http://www.janetlansbury.com/2012/09/when-children-cant-do-it-and-how-to-help/

The above link is to a great article which addresses a question my wife and I have had as to why our 3yr old daughter is continually complaining and whining/crying about not being able to put on her shoes or dress herself when we know she can. We have tried everything from: “Come on, show Mommy / Daddy how you can do it.” to “Stop this silliness…I know you can do it.” Which apparently may only be placing more stress on her. (I’ve even noticed that her pretending to be a kitty cat also coincides with her demands for help with tasks she has already mastered…as if she is trying to remove herself from the situation of expectation). When attempting to translate "I can't do it!" we try to look at other potential sources of frustration that may be manifesting themselves during dressing time. We did recently move half-way across the country and she is in a new school….both of which are events mentioned in the article as potentially driving the need for a bit more nurturing.

Lately, we have been trying to practice some benign neglect out of fear that we were babying our daughter and hovering too much. Although we don’t want to contribute to an overly dependent child, perhaps we are now over-compensating and hitting her with higher expectations too suddenly. The fact that she is attending school and thriving has definitely put me in a little bit more of an achievement mode for her and this article has helped bring me back to home base. We are grateful for this new perspective and after only two days of exercising this new approach we are seeing more independence with regards to dressing about 50% of the time. 

Talent Aquisition: Mommy's Job Offer

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As a specialist, my wife receives letters and postcards (sometimes twice a week) from recruiters and health systems all over North America. They never explicitly state which hospital it is specifically but they all guarantee: top salaries, high quality of life, national sports teams, major universities and “…a wonderful place to raise children”.

My wife is working very hard with a practice covering seven hospitals in three states and feels as though her employers’ commitment to her is as not as significant as her commitment to  them. She always says “Your first job is never your last…” So, after 5+ years of interest from Sanford Hospital in South Dakota, we’ve decided to take a look. Although we couldn’t imagine living in South Dakota... we did some research on Sanford Health and decided it was worth the visit. At the very least, it would be an opportunity for my wife to catch up with an old friend and former colleague for whom she has a tremendous amount of respect.

FAST FORWARD 7 WEEKS…  

When we arrived in Sioux Falls South Dakota, we were simply blown away at this hospital’s whisper of a “Talk” and thunderous “Walk”. Thanks to Premier One Bankcard founder Denny Sanford (and his $700MM in gifts so far…), Sioux Valley Hospital has been renamed “Sanford Hospital” (surprisingly) and transformed into a region-shaping health care network with an infrastructure of physicians in leadership and an outreach spanning 126 communities throughout 8 states. They are implementing several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. With both domestic and overseas satellites opening at a record-pace, Denny Sanford is creating an unprecedented momentum of ensuring the highest caliber of healthcare both in the Midwest and in 18 countries throughout the world (now developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico). Organizational growth and development with cutting-edge medicine, sophisticated research and advanced education like this isn’t seen in cities ten times their size.

We arrived the weekend of Sanford Hospital’s Annual Gala ( benefiting the expansion of their cardiac division) and graciously accepted what we believed would simply be an opportunity to meet some folks on the team and have a nice dinner. I’ve been to a lot of these events and they always seem to follow the same syllabus: cocktails followed by a President’s greeting, a few words of promise by the CEO or COO then a video presentation of the good work being done by talented physicians and administration’s plans for the future. Then it’s back to dinner and some dancing afterwards.

The Sanford Healthcare gala we attended not only brought one of the better meals I’ve had this year to our table (a perfect medium rare filet, roasted brussel sprouts and truffled potato gratin), but also tears to my eyes…and handkerchief. Never before have I been so moved by the parents of children whose life-changing stories were shared …or by the teams of dedicated people working orchestrally, from top to bottom, who selflessly make such a monumental difference. But the Sanford story did not end when the lights came back on. This was not a benefit injected with a presentation of “good work being done”. This was simply a spotlight on life at Sanford whose message of “Improving the human condition through exceptional care, innovation and discovery” didn’t end with a video. Improving the lives of children, specifically, didn’t seem like “just a job” people are doing here…it seemed more like a calling. An ingrained way of living life. A belief system that is evident in everything from the conversations between fulfilled guests at every table and the LED-illuminated spinning magic wands handed out on the dance floor (that surely made many a baby-sat children at home delighted in the morning) to the child prodigy pianist who led the orchestra all evening long.

I guess it’s just an overall feeling of genuine commitment to care and to the community of people who provide it…and there doesn’t seem to be a sense of (or pre-occupation with) time clocks, budgets or superfluous layers of administration associated with it. The passion was palpable and contagious. It’s hard to be around people like that and not feel a moral imperative to join them.  It’s hard to be a father and not want an amenity like them for your own child.

Now that some of our preconceived notions regarding the Midwest have been obliterated, we have a lot to talk about on the flight home.

Sources & Uses: Non-Traditional Outlets for Kid Stuff

Being a parent shopping for children's “necessities” like miniature shopping carts or  doll houses can make one feel a bit like an unwitting tourist falling victim to a rapidly changing foreign exchange market. I mean, come on... does miniature plastic fruit really warrant a $69.95 price tag? I recently purchased a build-it-yourself dollhouse. The dolls and miniature furniture to fill it cost almost as much as our real life-sized dining room set.

I ’ve now been finding it very useful to source child-oriented products from non-traditionally child-themed stores.  The impetus for this was my original qualm with paying $8 for what felt like a notebook's-worth of paper that was so narrow, my daughter and her friends couldn’t avoid drawing and painting on the craft table it was intended to cover... and the quality was akin to that of the roll of tissue-paper masquerading as an impenetrable germ barrier protecting our children's naked bodies on doctors' examination tables.

This is a copy of an email I sent to my play-date posse:

FYI for those of you with easels or craft tables: 

HP 24"x150 print rolls are approx 3xs the paper, wider, better quality and

less expensive (even with taking shipping into consideration) per sqft than the Melissa&Doug or ALEX-like brands out there…and require less frequent roll changes.

See below.

Regards,

Josh

Keep Calm

and

Carry On


Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry

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"HP Bright White Inkjet Paper (24 Inches x 150 Feet Roll)"
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"HP Universal Bond Paper (24 Inches x 150 Feet Roll)"
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"HP Recycled Bond Paper, 24 Inches x 150 ft Roll (CG889A)"
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Best Practices: Mitigating the Pain of Traveling with Children

Whenever we fly, most passengers near us are impressed that Catherine is such a well-behaved traveler. Even when she was a baby…we would get off a plane and invariably encounter one or two people who would comment about how nervous they were when they first saw us board with a child. They would then tell us how surprised they were that she was so quiet and well-behaved. The secret then and the secret now is that I only book flights that leave within an hour of her nap time (as long as it's not the last flight of the day when folks like Delta, United and US Air are typically overbooking flights to begin with) so that by the time we actually board the plane, she is ready for a good cuddle and some shut-eye.