It's a frightening world in which we live, a world that I will not even pretend to understand. For example, I will never comprehend how the taking of innocent lives by one individual or more makes the person or people involved heroes according to a religion or any other group affiliation. I will never comprehend how any human being can be hard- hearted enough to say that a two-year-old's life is not that big of a deal, especially since his father is "wealthy" and "privileged." I will never know why children are so cruel to one another, so cruel that many teens take their own lives as a result. So many happenings in today's world are unexplainable through my eyes. The only words I have form the question, "How can it be?" Here's what I do know: *I am a mother to two precious children. *The lives of my kids mean EVERYTHING to me. *I would give anything for the happiness of my children, and by this I do not mean resort to violence or spread any of the uncertainty to which I have alluded above. *I would make great personal sacrifices to know that my children could freely travel and experience the world without fear. *I pray that God--and that means whichever God one wants to worship if he or she even chooses to do so--that God will keep my children safe, even if they choose to venture beyond their own comfort zones. All I as a parent can do is educate my children about the different beliefs that exist in this world. I am not a miracle worker; therefore, I cannot change the minds of others. I can only hope that God follows my children wherever they choose to journey. I can only hope that my children WILL accept the differences of others and respect those differences. I never imagined that in the year 2016 so much human intolerance would be present in our lives and in our world. When I was pregnant with my first child, the Twin Towers were attacked in New York City, attacked, destroyed, decimated. I cried and cried, wondering why I was bringing an innocent child into such an unstable world. At the time, I had no clue that the Twin Towers were only the beginning of what we as humans would endure at the hands of one another. Now, as my children grow older, I realize that they MUST live their lives, despite the growing fears that face us not only as a society but as a world. It is still my belief that no one else has any right to steal the joy and happiness of others, no matter what their opinions and beliefs may be. We live in America; thus, we are free to live our own lives and make our own choices. But, under no circumstances should any one of those choices involve stealing innocent lives untimely. I cannot even fathom where the notion originated that such a practice is acceptable. Life is short and precious. We all should be entitled to live our lives and be as happy as we choose to be, regardless of our religions or beliefs. I will say it again: No human has any right to steal joy, happiness, or breath from any other human being. I can only hope as a mother who loves her children more than anything in this world that they will never be harmed by the hatred that is rapidly breeding and spreading in our own country and in the world. I will be praying each and every day for not only the safety of my own children but for the safety of every human life in the world. My greatest desire is to see my children happy and safe, for they are the greatest gifts God has bestowed upon me, and what God has created and shared with me and others, no one else should feel he or she has the right to steal or destroy. God Bless our world and everyone in it. ~A mother's hopes and prayers for a broken world
My husband, daughters, and I have become Netflix addicts this summer. However, even before my husband and I began our journey with the show Revenge, we pondered this question: Why don’t networks allow some shows to just run for one season? Our thought started back with the show The Slap. Actually, I guess you could say our beef began with the two cancelled shows that we started but never were able to finish: Skin (I think that was the title) and Reunion. Skin was a Romeo-Juliet themed show, and Reunion was about a murdered friend. Anyway, I digress slightly. Back to my point: Some shows would be great if they just lasted for one season. Is there anything so wrong with that? I suppose it’s an issue of money perhaps. However, as a viewer, I believe quality is better than quantity.
I will begin with the show The Slap. In the beginning, my husband and I were intrigued by the concept but not quite sure we bought in to a show about one single incident. We did, however, overcome our doubts and ended up enjoying the show–well, I never did quite get over my annoyance pertaining to the narrator’s voice, but that’s beside the point. No offense to the narrator; I just did not think his voice fit the part. So, as we watched the show, we became even more involved, loving every twist and turn that was well executed. We were not overly thrilled with the babysitter affair, but hey, as Hollywood proves, that’s life! At the end of the show, my husband and I both agreed that it was indeed a terrific program; however, we would be just fine if it ended after one season.
What more could the writers possibly create about one slap? Trust me, as a mother, I would be just as angry as Rosy; however, I just do not see how the show could continue and still be as fascinating as it was the first season. To be honest, I do not even know the show’s fate, but I do know that I wish some programs could be written for just one season. As I said, my husband and I are engrossed in Revenge right now. The writing is amazing; I love the plot twists. I especially enjoy Emily VanCamp’s ability to be sugary sweet on the outside yet so cleverly conniving and ruthless underneath it all. She is truly an amazing actress, and the writers are brilliant. But, again, we looked at the episode list and noticed 20 plus episode titles, just for season 1. Now, even though we are still hanging on to the edge of our seats until the next episode, we are starting to wonder how this show can pull out three more seasons that will be equally as exciting as the first. Without giving too much away in case some readers have this show on their Netflix, Roku, etc. list of to-watch shows, we are beginning to say to one another,”I think this show could have ended successfully shortly after the “Fire and Ice” episode. Quick side note–I just adore Nolan’s character; something about him cracks me up yet cause me to feel sympathy for him at the same time!
Even though we feel this way, that the show could be wrapped up and we would be satisfied, we still plan to watch every episode of every season. But, we are wondering if this show will turn into a 24 for us. Keifer is fabulous, and his show entertained us greatly. But, after a LONG while, we watched just because we started and wanted to see the show through to the end. So, back to the essential question: Would it be so awful if writers merely planned some shows to last for just one season?
As stated in the beginning of the article, just as we wish some shows would finish after one season, we also wish some shows would be forced to at least finish one season. Allow me to explain. One of our biggest viewing pet peeves is when we start watching a show, and it is cancelled after just a few episodes or halfway through the season. One ironic part of this concept: Red Band Society was another one of those shows that ended way before I was ready. The main doctor in that show, Dave Annable, was in two cancelled shows that really upset me–Red Band Society, obviously, and Reunion. Could they not at least have revealed the killer and the victim on Reunion? I think the unknowing is what upset me the most. Goes with the overused saying, “Inquiring minds wan to know…” So, while I would love to see some shows written for just one season, I also wish others would at least make it for a season. I realize some shows are just awful, and I suppose I am biased toward the shows I particularly enjoy.
Anyone else feel the same? Disagree? I would love feedback and interaction with others. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts.
Growing up, my family was somewhat poor. Both of my parents worked, but their incomes were meager. As a family of four, we survived on one car, one car! I can remember my mom, my brother, and I walked everywhere. My dad needed the car more than we did most of the time. So, it is difficult for my children to understand what life was like for me. They have so many more opportunities than I ever had, and my husband and I made that a goal of ours. Although their experiences often leave me fatigued and questioning myself, in the end, I am glad that I can offer my children experiences I never had as a child or teen.
We owned one television set in our home, and it was one of those bulky floor models that did not come with a remote control. One literally had to rise out of a chair to change the channel. And, guess what? Usually, my dad relied upon my brother or myself for this task. He worked all day and was tired. Watching sports was his reward. As a young girl, I watched hockey, baseball, basketball, and football. However, anything we watched revolved around all Philly teams. My husband, though, was grateful to my father for raising a daughter who understood all aspects of the sports he too enjoyed. As an athlete myself, my experiences were limited. I was very involved, but the sports choices were not as numerous as they are today. For example, my school did not even have girls’ soccer. We did have field hockey, but you could only try out for a team in high school. That did not offer much of an opportunity to build the skills necessary to be highly successful. My younger brother ended up being the natural athlete, so I ran track and cross country. I also joined the cheerleading squad. My dad was a bit old-schooled in the sense that certain sports were male sports. Plus, I really was not as talented as my brother in basketball or softball. I accepted my abilities and fared well in the sports in which I engaged.
I am happy to say that today young girls have so many more choices. I’m not sure I agree with starting girls on soccer at the age of three, but my husband and I did just that. We did not want either girl to fall behind the others. So, both girls began their athletic journeys in soccer, gymnastics, and dance. Our girls are two-and-a-half years apart, so their involvement did include–and still does– some juggling of time on our part. We would never survive as a one-car family! As time progressed, each girl formed her own personality and decided which activities she wanted to continue and which she wanted to surrender. The older daughter no longer enjoyed either soccer or dance/gymnastics. The younger daughter stuck with both for a bit but eventually kept soccer while discarding dance/gymnastics. These decisions left our older daughter with a dilemma. Our family rule is two-fold: 1. Neither child may quit in the midst of an activity and 2. Each child must participate in at least ONE activity, just to maintain some sort of exercise and team unity.
So, our oldest thought about the situation and came to us one night and said, “I want to try swimming.” Swimming is a great sport but one that posed a problem for us. Our rural school does not have a pool. Neither my husband nor myself attended a school with a pool, so our knowledge of swimming was quite limited. We started investigating and found an aquatic club she could join 40 minutes from our home. Yes, it was quite a hike, especially when practices are three nights a week and meets are every Saturday and sometimes Sunday. However, we decided to make the sacrifice. Our daughter was nine at the time. She is now thirteen and entering high school. So, even though her school has neither a pool nor a swim team, she is able to attend meets at the school 40 minutes away in order to swim for time and try to qualify for league and state meets. Our youngest also decided to try swimming and is still participating. My husband and I learned the sport quickly and have become very active in swimming. Swimming is a lifetime sport that our girls can incorporate into their lives, even if they never take their participation beyond the high school level. We have taken them to meet numerous Olympic swimmers, including Michael Phelps. I never imagined I would become such an avid fan of swimming, but both my husband and I have added swimming to our list of favorites.
Just as we have added swimming, we have also thrown in soccer. My husband played soccer as a kid and for two years in high school. As I mentioned previously, my school had a boys’ soccer team back in the early 90’s but not a girls’ soccer team. So, yet again, I was introduced to another new sport. I embraced soccer but did not quite grasp all of the rules and plays. Thus, at games, my husband would yell at me, stand away from me, send me texts, and shoot me evil looks when I yelled at our daughter. He told me, “If you want to yell, at least know what you’re yelling. You sound foolish.” He was right–please do not tell him I admitted that one. Anyone, this year, I watched every single World Cup women’s soccer game. I can name every player on the U.S. team and have really come to enjoy watching women’s soccer. I think I watched more games than anyone else in my family. I learned about offsides–which I never understood–and I picked up the term “set pieces.” I think that is the correct term. Anyway, I told my husband that I am ready to cheer this season, now that I am equipped with knowledge and terminology! I became a very loyal fan of Hope Solo and Julie Johnston. In fact, my little one has her very own replica Solo jersey and said she hopes she can play like Julie Johnston this year. Don’t get me wrong–I love the entire team, but these two women play positions similar to those of my daughter. Through my daughters, I am learning so much!
That leads me to another new sport for me. In middle school my oldest daughter joined the field hockey team. I again had to learn a new sport and new rules. She enjoyed the sport for two years, but she’s not the most aggressive child. So, this year, as she approaches high school, we have moved on to golf. As a 13-year-old, she has a mighty swing. Her professional golf trainer informed us that she can hit the ball 200 yards no problem. I was super impressed. I won’t lie; I have always deemed golf to be boring. Yet again, through my kids, I was proven wrong. My husband took my daughter to two days of the Woman’s PGA Golf Tour in Lancaster, PA, and she loved it. She came home with about ten autographs, including big swingers such as Michelle Wie, Inbee Park, and others. Her excitement caused me to tune in to the rest of the tournament, and now I’m following golf! I found myself researching the players and learning all about the sport! NEVER would I have pictured myself as one to become involved in the sport of golf. Children change one’s perspective on so many aspects of life. I love becoming excited with my girls, and I will learn whatever I must to be just as enthusiastic about whatever it is that they enjoy. High School golf has already begun, and the first match is just weeks away. I am really pumped to see what my daughter can do. She is the only girl on her school’s team, and one of only a handful in our entire league.
Before I finish, I cannot forget to mention what the girls have taught me musically. As a child, I tried the violin, but I was not adept at reading music. To me, reading music is difficult. Somehow, both of my girls picked up the knack for it. My oldest played the flute for four years but is giving it up as she enters high school. Although her choice saddens me, I support her. My youngest plays the clarinet, the snare drums, the ukulele, and the guitar. Their talents amaze me greatly. Both girls sing in the chorus program at their schools. My husband and I divide and conquer quite a bit so that they are able to pursue their dreams, talents, desires. And, as I said, Yes, there are times when I feel absolutely drained. But, I would not give up the experiences and opportunities they have gained through the various sports, music, and other endeavors they have attempted. I myself have grown through them and feel that I will continue to do so.
I think one of the funniest aspects of all of this is the transformation that has occurred in my father, the girls’ grandfather. I can guarantee that during my childhood years, he would never have 1. taken me to so many activities and 2. would never have come to swim meets, golf outings, musical performances, etc. My 9th grade year of high school, I performed in the high school’s musical which ran for four nights. My dad showed up to one and informed me that he would not attend another. Both of my girls performed in their fifth grades musicals, and he attended EVERY show. It is indeed amazing what our children are able to accomplish but even more astounding what their accomplishments are able to bring out in the adults around them. I am so proud of my girls and will continue to support their endeavors, no matter how exhausted I may feel. I just hope they never give up their desire to constantly try and learn something new. I truly believe learning is a lifelong process, and I want them engaged in that process always.
I participate in free offerings given through a site known as BZZ Agent–<img src=”http://img.bzzagent.com/image/hero_BonAppetit_403.png?Type=activity&Activity=5591174893&Campaign=4940405380&Uid=1406361&token=f2edb8e9b6cdafed215253760c553916″ alt=””/>
Recently, I have had the opportunity to try one free Bon Appétit pizza using a coupon provided to me through Buzz Agent. Before trying this pizza brand, I would buy the store brand pizzas or the sale priced pizzas. However, I will no longer be doing such for my family.
My husband is a grill master, so this summer, using my free coupon, we tried the Bon Appétit pizzas prepared via our grill. The taste was sensational. And, although I have two very picky daughters when it comes to eating, they tried and enjoyed all flavors. Not only did Buzz Agent provide me with a free coupon for the pizzas, they also sent me coupons for myself and to share with others ($1.00 off product). We experienced all flavors, and my girls actually tried new pizza experiences without complaining! That is truly a milestone in our home. My personal favorite is the spinach pesto pizza; I love veggies and pizza combined. My girls–like I mentioned–tried and enjoyed all varieties–however, when it came down to choosing a favorite, they reverted back to their go-to pepperoni. That’s okay, though. At least they tried the other types and said they would eat them again. I’d include my husband in the review, but he pretty much eats and likes everything! So, as you can guess, he too was pleased. If you have the opportunity, purchase a Bon Appétit pizza product on your next grocery outing. If you enjoy testing products and sharing feedback, you may want to consider joining Buzz Agent. I loved the pizzas, and I cannot get enough of the program! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT: If You Own A Business, This Company Deserves A Look
In today’s technological world, I have become increasingly interested in the writing of code and the creation of software. I do not technically understand either, but I have several friends who operate their own businesses. As an English major, I have the research skills necessary for helping my friends. As a teacher, I have a bit of free time right now to assist with some research. A few of my friends with businesses discussed tasking me with researching companies that write code and create software. As I conducted my searches, the one company that stood out for me was:
ITCRAFT—Agile Software Development, located at:
A tech presence is critical in today’s world of business, and the analytical feedback provided by many types of software is highly beneficial for businesses; however, like my business-owning friends, other company heads do not have the time or knowledge to maintain a web presence or learn how to write the code necessary for creating needed software. That’s the main reason my friends asked me to conduct some research for them.
I myself was unfamiliar with many of the terms I encountered during my search; however, visiting http://itechcraft.com/agile_development/ not only helped me to become more knowledgeable but also aided me in explaining newly learned terminology to my business-owner friends. Basically, Agile Project Management offers businesses various options, choices that differ from the usual methods of managing projects. The software used by this company helps businesses to prepare for and adequately respond to unpredictability in the market where their businesses function. That is a key component to understanding a company’s success or area for growth.
A term I first came across when studying the Agile Development Methodology was “scrum.” Married to a former rugby player, that’s the only reference I had to scrum prior to agreeing to check out multiple sites for my friends’ businesses. However, I discovered that the scrum approach, unlike traditional approaches, helps business to acquire feedback in an empirical manner as well as enforces team self management and working to create properly tested products in a strict and timely fashion. Visiting the company’s site is highly beneficial; one will find numerous training videos that sufficiently demonstrate the project management methodology of ITCRAFT and Agile Software. If I found myself intrigued by all of their informational tutorials, then certainly businesses will think they’ve hit the lottery.
The company has discovered that traditional approaches to project management lack in the area of communication, especially the communication necessary between each specialized group that is involved in completing separate phases of the project. It’s like putting a puzzle together with a friend. You can both agree to complete different sections, but at some point, you must come together to collaborate and make all of the pieces fit together in the correct way. Using traditional methodologies to create and build software can, in the end, cost businesses time and money. Agile Software was developed in such a way that a company’s vision or big picture can be realized before the software is in the completion phase. Thus, the software is created around the company’s vision in order to avoid wasted time and resources.
Agile works in increments, evaluating a project bi-weekly in some cases to ensure precise progress and success. The team revisits every aspect of a business project, meaning that if one part or certain parts of the project are not functioning properly or are not headed in the most prosperous direction, there is time and opportunity for change. Traditional approaches do not permit such flexibility.
Agile’s approach to software development greatly reduces the cost of development as well as cuts down on the time needed for a company’s product to hit the market. With Agile Software, companies are able to see and monitor end results and successes, not stare at brilliant ideas resting on shelves, never brought to fruition. Working with this company, according to my research, means that your business will be in the hands of a company that is people-centered and concerned with customer satisfaction. The company always begins with the client idea and then builds from there. Reading some of the feedback on the site, I noticed very positive and complimentary remarks. Like anything else, everyone must decide for him or herself what is best. I do believe visiting the site may be convincing.
I know I am a novice when it comes to code writing and software development, but I am so glad my friends convinced me to complete this assignment for them. I have learned a great deal, and the company’s website is loaded with informational, tutorials, and knowledge. I am going to continue visiting this site and building my knowledge, even if I don’t own a business or company. Maybe after navigating this site thoroughly, I will!
MY DAUGHTERS: LEADING THE WAY IN OUR DIGITAL WORLD
I am so proud of my two daughters, one newly-turned 10 and the other 12. I have pictures of both of them using technology from abut the age of 2. Now, granted, the technology looks pretty funny, but it was in their little hands. My 10-year-old, on a family trip to New Orleans, is seen in a picture at the New Orleans Airport holding one of the chunkiest ipods I can remember seeing. But, our children are definitely digital citizens, born into the technology world and growing up with it. I guess when it comes to technology, I don’t give my kids enough credit. However, my examples below will demonstrate that they actually know more than I do
Beginning with my first example, a few weeks ago, my daughters’ swim team was looking for an adult to put together the swim DVD for the annual picnic. Obviously we adults are fairly overloaded. Our 12-year-old wanted to volunteer, but both my husband and I thought perhaps the task would be overwhelming for her. So, an 11th grade boy from the swim team took on the job. When I ran into his mother, she was telling me that he was struggling a bit; he was attempting to make the video using only GoogleDocs; however, he could not incorporate any music to the presentation. So, I offered the services of my 12-year-old. When I told her, she was more than thrilled. She and this older swimmer exchanged email addresses and text numbers. They have been working together through GoogleDocs for 3 days now. The tasks she is able to complete are amazing me. He puts together slides in GoogleDocs, sends them to her; and she manipulates them and enters them into imovie, along with the chosen songs. I am seriously thinking about signing up for a class with her before school starts up again! I am a teacher with 19 years of experience, but I am not a digital citizen. Both of my girls are way more knowledgeable in the area of technology than I. My husband is a technology director, so he can rival their skills.
I am so glad I helped her to become part of the project. I am proud of her, and she is loving every minute of the work she is doing. The swim picnic is in 2 days. So I will update everyone in regards to the success of her collaboration efforts. Think about it: not only has my daughter used her technology skills, but she has also collaborated with another student without ever meeting him in person. The power of technology is tremendous, and the example mentioned above is a primary example of how technology can be used for beneficial purposes. In all honesty, I think my daughter may have found her niche; and technology degrees go a long way in finding jobs these days. We all know how tight the job market is and may be when our children are old enough to enter it. So, I am impressed and proud of my kids.
When their grandparents first bought into the idea of the iphone, neither side knew what in the world was happening. My mother-in-law is 73, and my mom and dad are both 61. Technology was and still is a bit daunting for them. But, if they had questions and my girls were around, they were saved. Now, my parents do not even have a home phone anymore; they rely on their iphones. I never thought I would see that day. My mother-in-law was deathly afraid of relying on technology, but with the help of her granddaughters, she now feels comfortable using the technology. In fact, she has an iphone 4 and is thinking of upgrading to either a 5 or 6. Again, I never would have dreamed I would see the day.
Throughout school last year, both girls’ teachers would inform me and my husband of how instrumental each girl was in helping with classroom technology instruction. As a teacher myself, I know how difficult it can be when you have students with all different levels of technological advancement. Some students are basic while others are extremely advanced. It helps greatly to have those other students assist in the learning process. Plus, teaching their peers is a benefit for everyone involved in the educational process. Often times, “kid speak” is much more understandable than adult talk! My husband and I were constantly showering both girls with praise for their ability to help within the classroom setting.
I am also lucky in the sense that my girls are very technologically safe. I taught internet safety for 4 years, and both girls were students in my media specialist classroom. They have come to learn that with the positives of technology also come the consequences. Both girls are aware of online dangers and the realization that nothing online is ever truly private, nor is anything you post ever actually deleted, no matter what you do or think. My girls will come to me and share everything that takes place in their accounts. Part of that is their responsible sides, and part is knowing that I stalk their every tech move. When I say stalk, I mean it with the best of parental intentions! The great part is I know I won’t find anything or have to worry—at least not yet! I am not naïve; I understand that one day that could change. It will probably be a day when I have lost all control, a day when they are off at college without me.
However, until then, I am just proud of my little digital citizens and their abilities and accomplishments in terms of technology. When it comes to school, they always ask the teacher if they may somehow incorporate technology into projects, assignments, presentations, etc. It is a great feeling knowing that my children are ready for the future that lies ahead.
A FIELD TRIP WORTH TAKING
My husband and I are both involved in public education. At one time, we both worked as teachers; now, I remain a classroom teacher, but my husband has moved on to serve as a director of technology/technology integrator. However, we are both very passionate about education and how it impacts children, especially our own. As educators, we both see the value of field trips, as long as they tie in to the curriculum being taught to students and contribute to the learning of students. So, when our 4th grader brought home a permission slip to attend a baseball game during the educational day, we both questioned the educational value of the trip. No reasonable explanation could be given, and no curricular connection could be made. WAIT….the connection was this: it was EDUCATION DAY at the ballpark. In our minds, that was not suitable justification, so we took matters into our own hands.
From the time that our 9-year-old had been 4, her passion centered around pandas. My husband and I discussed what we could do rather than send her to the ballgame. It was decided that my husband would use a personal day to journey to D.C. with our daughter so she could meet Bao Bao, the baby panda residing inside the National Zoo walls. It was the best decision we could have made.
Before leaving for the trip, my husband created an assignment for our daughter. He told her to select 3 to 4 animal for her focus. She would take her ipad mini on the trip in order to collect as many photos and videos as she could. Upon returning home, she would create an ibook and an imovie featuring her trip and the many photos and videos she captured. Not only did she meet Bao Bao, but she was in for a special treat: six lion cubs were also living at the zoo.
When I finally caught up with her that night at swim practice, she was so excited to share her day with me. She gushed over the baby panda and all the other animals she encountered. Additionally, it just so happened that a panda trainer was on site providing interviews at certain times for anyone interested. My daughter interviewed the trainer and learned a great deal about working with pandas. Her intervie is documented on her ipad mini. Although she’s only a 4th grader, she now knows what courses are required for becoming a panda trainer/caregiver. She would have to study biology and offer at least a year of free internship services. She was also told that working with exotic animals would offer a better chance of obtaining a job working with pandas, a job that does not require relocation to China.
So, our child could have attended a baseball game with her classmates. Some classmates chose not to go on the fieldtrip. They remained behind and spent the day in scattered classrooms throughout the school. If you talk to any of the students in her grade level—either those who attended the game or those who stayed behind– and ask what was learned, I doubt their answers would match those of our daughter. Not only did she create a photo album and an imovie, but she is also planning to enter several of her panda photos into the technology digital photo show hosted by her school district each year.
Field trips can be a great asset to the educational process if they contribute to a student’s learning. However, fun field trips, in our opinion, should be reserved for summer time. My husband is a baseball aficionado, so we travel to many ballparks over our summer vacation. The zoo trip was a phenomenal experience for our child. Bao Bao will only be a baby for so long, and after a certain amount of time, baby pandas must be returned to China.
We made a personal choice for our child, and we could not be happier. Reminds me of one of my favorite Robert Frost poems, “The Road Not Taken.” The two roads diverged in the yellow wood, and the speaker chose the one less traveled by. According to the speaker, that choice made all the difference in his life. The less popular choice certainly paid off for our family as well.