The Power of Communication

Tealplanet Your work can be a force for great good or great evil. You yourselves know the dangers, as well as the splendid opportunities open to you. Communication products can be works of great beauty, revealing what is noble and uplifting in humanity and promoting what is just and fair and true. On the other hand communications can appeal to and promote what is debased in people … All the media of popular culture which you represent can build or destroy, uplift or cast down. You have untold possibilities for good, ominous possibilities for destruction. It is the difference between death and life – the death or life of the spirit. And it is a matter of choice. The challenge of Moses to the people of Israel is applicable to all of us today: "I set before you life and death.... Choose life" (Dt 30:19).   Pope John Paul II

Address to 1,600 policy makers in television, radio, motion pictures and the print media – Registry Hotel, Los Angeles, September 15, 1987

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Courage, comfort, inspiration are the values in preserving our pandemic experiences

In his president’s note for the spring issue of Preservation Magazine, Paul Edmondson, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Comfort annie spratt photo-1451471016731-e963a8588be8Preservation writes, “Now more than ever, we can look to our history for courage, comfort, and inspiration. As a nation, we have overcome existential challenges in the past, and we will overcome this one as well. In so many ways, our historic sites and cultural landscapes embody our resiliency and our fortitude, and they serve as places of comfort and inspiration in both ordinary and extraordinary times.”

The same can be said of our families and our homes. This time challenges our fortitude and our creativity in handling profound changes required to adjust to life done differently. Our homes are our harbors, our schools, our playgrounds and cultural landscapes. As our families grow up, our homes will also become our historic sites where life was lived amidst difficulties buoyed by love.

The many ways in which we navigate these times deserve to be memorialized in some way so as not to lose the wisdom of the moments that enabled us to move forward and grow as individuals, as families and communities.

Consider creating a box of mementos including photos and children’s drawings and thoughts from family members. Start a daily journal or keep an on-line scrapbook.

Preserve the memories. There is someone in the future who will find courage, comfort and inspiration in how you came through a difficult time.

In the meantime, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has assembled a collection of resources to help communities and those struggling as parents to keep the family engaged with learning, those concerned about supporting local businesses or those who are missing a visit to a favorite historic site.

To see their many resources visit

The site includes links for virtual visits to historic places, links to information on how to help businesses  on your community’s Main Street  (shop local, shop safely) and links for families and caregivers (excerpt below) and much more:

The National Park Service provides kid-friendly resources and activities online for a range of themes including women's history.

Take a few minutes to visit the site and explore the inspirational opportunities they've included.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.


Navigating the changing media landscape with increased discernment

This insightful and informative piece was excerpted from an larger article from IREX, a global development and education organization. While Idea the information is directed primarily to students and teachers, in this day and age, these are essential steps for all those who wish to hone their skills for navigating the changing media landscape.

To read the full article visit

Media literacy needs to expand its scope to be truly effective

If you and your students are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. The complexity of creating and consuming information has radically increased, but most approaches to teaching media literacy have not kept pace with the times.

In the information-flooded world we live in today, media literacy needs to have a different scope to be truly effective. Through practical classroom activities, Learn to Discern emphasizes the following principles:

  • Engage your analytical mind and dig in for the long haul. There is no one technological tool that will clean up your algorithm searches or your social media feeds. There is no “simple way to spot fake news.”
  • Take personal responsibility. It’s easy to point to others who need this type of education. However, as human beings, we are all susceptible to manipulative information. Media literacy is not just for “them”—it’s for all of us. We all have a role to play.
  • Sharpen your critical thinking. Improve your ability to identify markers of misinformation and manipulation. Check multiple sources, engage in practical media analysis, learn and practice visual and textual verification.
  • Check your biases. We all have them. What truths might yours blind you to? Do you only seek out information that confirms your beliefs, or are you challenging your own ideas? Are you reacting with outrage, or engaging in dialogue?
  • Step back and reflect on your own information habits. What do you consume? How much time do you spend on digital information? How much of what you interact with is something you consciously chose to do? Does your behavior reflect your values?
  • Strengthen your emotional resilience by defusing your own responses. When you come across information that provokes a strong reaction in you, pause in the moment. Identify your emotional response. Take back your rational brain before you act on the information.
  • Learn and improve. Continually reflect on your media literacy practice. What can be improved? What does the evidence show?
  • Share what you learn. Be a media literacy leader by teaching others the skills you learn.

What message does the quality of your customer service send?

The past few weeks have included a number of frustrating experiences in businesses where I am a frequent customer – the pharmacy, the Mike-wilson-188132supermarket, the bank, and in other local stores which I visit rarely, but have now crossed off my list entirely, including two local fast food establishments.

The problem in all cases was horrendous customer service – ranging from staff being snarky, impatient, disrespectful, engaged in conversation with other staff instead of waiting on customers, texting while waiting on me, the use of profanity by employees while in earshot of customers, having a lack of information about products they were selling or promoting or giving me incorrect information which ultimately cost me time and money.

In one instance the manager admitted the problem was a lack of adequate staff training because the store recently underwent a major managerial change and reduction in staff which necessitated hiring a good number of employees quickly and getting them to work as soon as possible.

I appreciated his acknowledgment of the problem and his plan to fix it.

However, with the extent of such poor customer service across so many venues I believe the problem is more one of a basic lack of civility, manners and serious work ethic among potential employees before they are even hired.

Employers today have a challenge when it comes to customer service training, but it’s a challenge that must be met if they don’t want their businesses, and their revenues, to suffer.

Employers must ask themselves, “What kind of message am I sending to my customers about the company’s mission and vision, and the importance of our customers in both?"

Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash