392: Three Wishes for a Hopeful Spring — Connect, Connect, Connect …

r. Rob Pasick, author of “Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced Times,” practices what he preaches. I woke up early in the morning to join Rob and a circle of corporate CEOs for a special breakfast he hosts once a month to share coffee and encouragement — because a big part of Rob’s concept of “Balance” is that we need to work on rebuilding community and connecting with colleagues.

    As he coached this group over breakfast, he said: “I had to laugh in the presidential campaign when the word ‘maverick’ came up as a popular term. Like, that’s a good thing?
    “No!” he said. “When you begin to see yourself as a maverick — going it all alone in a different direction — you’re getting into trouble.
    “It takes a community to make good leaders. We can’t do it alone.
    “Face it, leaders!” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about building a team. It’s about connecting with a community.”

    Rob is absolutely dead-on correct in his analysis, which is why we host his Web site as one section of ReadTheSpirit magazine. One of our own core principles is: “It’s about connection, not competition.” But we’re not alone in saying this. TODAY we’re going to share with you …



    “Years ago there was a little boy who had the solar system on his wall.”

    That’s the opening line of Mark Haddon’s new book, “Footprints on the Moon,” released this week by Candlewick Press.
    If you’re in your mid-40s or older — you remember July 21, 1969, when everyone sat around grainy television images of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon for the first time. If you were a child in the 1960s, then you’ll “get” this book in a heartbeat.
    As we all watched that footage (which you can see below on this page, today), so many cultural associations were humming through our minds and hearts — the wonderment of outer space, the culmination of John Kennedy’s pledge to reach the moon within that decade, hope for a better future in the aftermath of so much violence and tragedy in the 1960s.
    Neil Armstrong’s footsteps on the lunar surface literally lifted our eyes to the heavens.
    Mark Haddon captures the awe of that moment as he recalls his own childhood thoughts, hopes and dreams. The landing was so exciting that: “He stayed awake all night and went to bed at dawn. The sun was coming up outside his window, and the moon was fading fast. He fell asleep, and in his dreams he walked with them.”
    If you lived through this chapter of history, you’ll feel the shivers through Haddon’s simple prose and the gorgeous illustration by Christian Birmingham.
    Sure this looks like a children’s book — but buy it for yourself. And, certainly, find some children and share it with them, too.


    Times are tough and millions are thinking about cutting out travel this
year — but doing something with your family, even if it’s a one-day
drive to a regional destination is well worth the effort. And, yes, I
know that families come in various shapes, sizes, ages and blended
    Another brand-new book this week comes from the family-friendly and globally savvy folks at National Geographic. It’s a big, thick paperback called, “An Ultimate Guide for Travelers: The 10 Best of Everything: Families.”
    If you can’t find something in this book that moves you to hit the road, then nothing will budge you!
    There are many great new travel books out there. (Earlier we recommended Frommer’s “500 Places to See Before They Disappear,” for example.)
    What I like about this book is that it’s not organized by place — it’s organized by traveling motivation!
    Do you travel to see “Nature and Science,” well there are 24 lists with 10 items each — 240 great ideas for people who mainly get up and go because the natural world is calling them. My favorite in this section? “10 Best Famous Trees” The list includes “Witness Trees,” especially the venerable trees that “witnessed” the battle at Gettysburg and Lincoln’s address there after the war.
    Other categories include Arts, History, Seasonal Celebrations. There are even lists here on cooking programs, great movie theaters, music festivals, civil rights landmarks and Asian heritage sites.


    Finally, the EarthWorks Group has been expanding very successfully upon its idea of equipping ordinary folks with ideas to help out our planet. For spring, there’s a brand-new edition of “The NEW 50 Simple Things Kinds Can Do to Save the Earth.”
    We’re recommending it because it’s in keeping with the multi-generational, family oriented ideas today. Community should involve all of us — of every age.
    I was intrigued that John Javna, founder of the EarthWorks Group, involved his daughter Sophie in this new edition. Javna points out that Sophie wasn’t even born when the first edition of this “Simple Things Kids Can Do” was published in 1990.
    So, it’s a family-written book that’s a great resource for real families.
    I suggest that you think of buying this book along with the National Geographic travel book for families. The travel guide will lure you out on the road at some point this year. The EarthWorks book is all about projects you can tackle together around your home and neighborhood.
    Both of these books are Web-friendly and understand that all of us want to “read more online” these days. Hundreds of Web sites are sprinkled through both books. Think of this 208-page book as a guide to re-exploring the natural world starting in your own backyard — with a little help from your home computer.
    I’m eager, once the frost warnings pass in Michigan, to try building a “Toad House” as described in the book — with more ideas provided from Web sites. I also want to try the cool rubber-band-and-wire “Smog Detector” shown in the book.
    The only word of warning I’ll offer to parents is this: Leave a copy of this book lying around where your kids can find it — and you’re likely to start learning from them in a big hurry. There are lots of places in this book where cool online resources will draw their eyes and ears — and they’ll be urging you to change the way you use batteries, or light your house, or wrap your sandwiches for lunch.


    You should see a video screen below. Just click on the controls to play the clip. (If you don’t see a video screen in your version of this story, then CLICK HERE to visit YouTube and watch the video.)


    We also are “home” to another Web site that has fostered a rather remarkable community of people who like to talk about American values. It’s Dr. Wayne Baker’s www.OurValues.org Web site. Every day you’ll find an intriguing article about some aspect of contemporary values — a probing question to get you thinking — and readers commenting on the ideas of the day. Join in!

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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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