This column first appeared in The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on November 29, 2020:
This year, it starts with a small family Thanksgiving.
Although I love seeing my extended family, there’s something special this year about not having to cook and clean up after a small army. I’m hopeful we’ll be back together next year, all vaccinated and COVID-19-free.
This year, we’ll check Black Friday deals from a distance, and shop our favorite local spots on Small Business Saturday.
Sunday, we’ll rest before scrolling for Cyber Monday deals.
While all of this family time and shopping is exhausting, I often wonder if the importance in which we’ve ordered our annual spending spree is somehow backward...
Read the rest of this column at https://www.tribtoday.com/life/lifecovers/2020/11/making-case-for-giving-tuesday/ (may encounter paywall).
This column first appeared in The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on November 22, 2020:
Raising four kids is tough.
Raising four kids in an age of constant access to a flurry of media content is impossible. Or at least it feels that way some days.
I liken it to a day at the beach. Saying those words “day at the beach” should conjure images of sun and fun, sand and water, a good book under an umbrella, with an adult beverage nearby. When I’m alone or with my wife at the beach, it’s the ultimate picture of relaxation.
As we head into colder weather, as the pandemic raging on, I suspect many of us are having dreams of relaxing beach vacations.
However, most parents will tell you that a day at the beach is anything but relaxing. You’re on constant patrol, slathering protective sun screen on your kids, standing in ankle-deep water while your kids play wannabe surfers trying to catch a “killer” (2-foot high) wave while you’re scanning the sea for fins like its Shark Week on the Discovery Channel...
Read the rest of this column at https://www.tribtoday.com/life/lifecovers/2020/11/we-can-all-use-some-more-common-sense/ (may encounter paywall).
This column first appeared in The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on November 15, 2020:
Teachers are amazing and adaptable humans.
They’ve prepared, as best they can, for the uncertainties of each new school day. Most prepared by going to college to learn modern teaching strategies, pedagogical techniques and how to make engaging lesson plans.
However, while the teachers are well-equipped, the classrooms are often not. Some just don’t have the supplies necessary to give students the best shot at learning.
Teachers ask for supplies. When requests are denied, teachers turn to fundraising. The problem, of course, is that teachers are not fundraisers. Apparently, Fundraising 101 is not a required class when preparing for state teacher licensure exams.
Thankfully, others have stepped up. For some, it means voting to support levies to fund classroom needs. Some donate time and supplies. Others donate funds to schools through charitable organizations.
For example, actor Reese Witherspoon made headlines last week when she fully funded teacher projects through the website DonorsChoose.org. Her gift provided project funds for 17,000 students in Nashville...
Read the rest of this column at https://www.tribtoday.com/life/lifecovers/2020/11/teachers-are-amazing-and-adaptable-humans/ (may encounter paywall).
This column first appeared in The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on November 8, 2020:
My kids think I’m a genius.
In truth, I probably sound a lot smarter than I really am.
My “smart dad” charade has been tested lately. Like many parents, I’m forced to be a pseudo-homeschool teacher’s assistant, answering endless questions about second-grade social studies, fifth-grade science and seventh-grade math.
Some of the questions I get make Common Core look like, well, the ABC’s.
I’m thankful our 10th-grader learned long ago that, no, Dad is not “smarter than a fifth-grader.” She’s a very perceptive 15-year-old...
Read the rest of this column at https://www.tribtoday.com/life/lifecovers/2020/11/help-keep-wikipedia-free-so-we-can-be-smart/ (may encounter paywall).
This column first appeared in The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on November 1, 2020:
We’re good at celebrating friendships on social media.
Although the act of friending might seem little more than adding someone to a list of contacts, we cultivate friendships on social media with likes and shares, images and tags, greetings and comments of love and support.
Calling someone a “friend” elicits feelings of connection, even if you might never actually meet an online friend face-to-face.
In rare cases, the friend isn’t even a real person. I’m not really Facebook friends with our local Dairy Queen. Yet my belly and wallet would suggest we have a deep, personal connection.
Facebook quantifies our friendships through the pictures we post that represent our connections as well as old posts we’ve shared about one another...
Read the rest of this column at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/11/cultivating-friendships-through-social-media/ (may encounter paywall).
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.