Shaping Young Minds…..Again

It’s that time of year again. Untold numbers of  children and young people are returning to the hallowed halls of public education. There are those, of course, with the means and/or opportunity to pursue another path; private or religious schools or home schooling. But the majority will trudge back to endure or enjoy the public school process, as my wife and I and our children did.

It seemed like a good time to write again about education as my younger grandson entered the “system” as a kindergarten student just yesterday. He was somewhat excited at the idea ahead of time which gave me pause as to whether we were actually related.

My public education years, which numbered only 12 since there was no mandated public kindergarten in those pre-historic days, would never be described with the words excited or eagerly anticipating. I have tried to find a suitable descriptive phrase and remembered  a Paul Simon lyric from “Kodachrome.” It goes like this. “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” Now, admittedly  that is not totally correct since I did have a wonderful English teacher my senior year whom I was privileged to get to know as a friend and neighbor. Alas, she was the exception.

Were I  to divide my 12 years into 2 segments; one being elementary and the other combining junior  and senior high; the former rates considerably higher than the latter but mainly by comparison. But, to close  on  a somewhat more positive note, the above referenced grandson now has three school days under his belt and still “loves” school and his teacher. That is the good news. The not so good news is that his bus riding experience has been utterly chaotic all  three days and in  a different way each day. Certainly hope that his school and who ever else is responsible for this gets their act together and soon! At this point, I  will refrain from mentioning the names of the school or school system, with my hope being that things change for the better.


September 3, 2011 Posted by | education, Family | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Putting Your Mouth Where Your Money Is

Mea culpa to my favorite high school teacher, Betty Barker, for my grammatical inconsistency in the title of this post. It just seemed so apropos given my topic. Normally the above phrase would read something like put your money where your mouth is. But not  for Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey who has apparently put his mouth where his money isn’t. Seems that Mackey has issues with Obamacare and  had the audacity to publish an op-ed to that effect in the Wall Street Journal. (Now, before we proceed, let me mention these tidbits. Whole Foods,  a Fortune 500 company, has a very good health care plan for its own employees. For those 89% of their work force who work more than 30 hrs/wk,  all of their health care premiums are paid.) Further he opined that many health problems are self-inflicted and could be  alleviated by  a better diet, etc. That  would tie in very well with his own company’s  organic  food  products, would it not?

Seems that Mackey has   alienated  a bit of his liberal base with many customers taking to the web to voice their displeasure. One comment  in particular  stood out to me. Christine Taylor, a New Jersey customer  of Whole Foods said her shopping days there were over. She told ABC News this. “I think a  CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs  reflect at least the majority of his clients.” Now I could say something like, if you eat like a  liberal your should talk like a liberal . That might be  a bit out of line  since all people  who eat healthy are not liberals. Anyway, does Ms Taylor have a valid point? What if the CEO has views that do not dovetail with his/her clientile?  Should they just keep silent? Good question.

Some consultants say it is better if the  CEO keeps a lower profile because his comments  often become   a two -edged sword with pros and cons. The question from a business perspective would then be which edge, the  good or bad, will have more impact. Consultant Robert Passikoff is founder of Brand Keys, Inc., a New York based consulting firm. He advises clients to not  speak out on polarizing issues such as health care. And in Mackey’s case, it could have a greater effect than say the  CEO of Kellogg’s who hasa  larger and  broader based clientele. So says Lynn Upshaw of  Upshaw Brand Consulting in Kentfield ,CA She says that Mackey’s  customers tend to be more of the activist type who are already going out of their way to buy  a more expensive product.

I wanted to compare this situation with that of outspoken celebrities and their  politics and how it can affect them, but that

John Mackey, outspoken CEO (courtesy esquire.com)

John Mackey, outspoken CEO (courtesy esquire.com)

may be another day. There is just so much material there.

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Shopping | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments