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Opinion Editorials

Growing trend of minimalist parenting in a tech-reliant world

(OPINION/EDITORIAL) With the natural progression of tech-reliance parenting there is a new trend toward minimalist parenting. Are you parenting right?



children and entrepreneurship

Captain’s log

I am eighteen weeks away from giving birth to my first baby. I am pregnant, exhausted, and weird things are happening to my body that I never thought I would have to worry about. Parts of me ache and swell. Heartburn is now an everyday occurrence, and when I wake up in the morning, my first thought is of my afternoon nap.

This, as far as I can tell is not the worst part of having a baby; the hardest part comes when you get home from the hospital and you have to actually raise a human.

Which one is right?

Every generation must grapple with new challenges of parenting, but that seems especially true of this generation. As parenting advice spreads across the web and self-help books like wildfire our generation is rife with contradictory ideas, too many articles where fact and opinion are interchangeable, and truths are accepted without condition.

It’s no secret that many parents are skeptical of the effect technology is having on their children.

Studies have shown that leaving a child in front of an iPad or television can have detrimental long lasting effects such as delayed speech, and deferred emotional and social development. Now a new trend, borne of the minimalism movement (see the great success of the art of tidying up and a focus on experiences over things) is suggesting that children need far less than we’re giving them, and that kids with fewer toys are able to explore their imagination free of distractions.

Raised Good is a compassionate blog that questions our dependence on the many things we need to raise our children. One blog post discussed a German kindergarten that removed toys from the classroom and allowed students to explore their day completely unstructured. The children began confused at their bare surroundings, but soon they played with the classroom’s chairs and blankets making little forts. Then they began engaging with each other, communicating and creating intense and imaginative worlds.

Boredom and lack of stimulation breeds creativity. Ask any artist ever.

But is stringent minimalism the best solution in a world full of things? If our children don’t use technology will they be at a disadvantage when they start school, or worse yet, spend hours consuming screens when their exposure eventually becomes unavoidable?

Fear of doing it wrong

I was recently gifted some baby hand-me-downs and found to my surprise the sheer number of things I now have just for the baby to lie down in. But what do I know about babies?

This is exactly the problem.

Perhaps our reliance on proprietary things comes from a deep insecurity in what it will be like to parent.

Our fear of doing it wrong, or not giving our child enough overwhelms our pragmatism; our gut feeling that says, “Isn’t this excessive?”

The internet says we need these various apparatus and tools while experts demand we play our baby Mozart in the womb, let our baby cry themselves to sleep, teach our infant to sign, to code, or to use the toilet at three months old. It doesn’t take long to find experts that tell you to do exactly the opposite.

When we are nagged by the thought that either we are doing too little, or that we are giving too much, how can we listen to our guts and raise our children in the way that feels right to us?

More than one way

As millennials begin to raise generation Alpha (born 2010-2025) we will likely see more of a push toward minimalism in child rearing, and likely more diverse and divisive theories about parenting, and that’s okay.

Perhaps the new breadth of parenting information that this generation is blessed and cursed with will give new parents permission to follow their guts.

When my little nugget shows up in November, I plan on making parenting choices slowly. I will learn with my baby as my baby learns with me, and I will keep in mind that every parent, child, and family is different.

Maybe that will be millennials mark on parenting, that our very treasured uniqueness requires a variety of parenting styles, and that we may take parenting advice with a big grain of salt.


C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Paul O'Brien

    July 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    “It’s no secret that many parents are skeptical of the effect technology is having on their children.”

    Great article.

    I’m skeptical of the need schools seem to have to fund tablets so kids can be exposed to technology. I’m skeptical of the VAST difference between a kid watching and learning from a television show OR learning to make a computer work vs. learning to wiggle their finger to play Candy Crush.

    That said…
    Building with minecraft? Figuring out how to create a website? Playing coding or math games? Producing a movie with their smart phone? Figuring out how to podcast? Playing with robotics?
    Worth all the time in the world.

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Opinion Editorials

The truth about unemployment from someone who’s been through it

(EDITORIAL) Unemployment benefits aren’t what you thought they were. Here’s a first-hand experience and what you need to know.




Have I ever told you how I owed the government over two grand because of unemployment in 2019, and only just finished paying it back this year?

This isn’t exactly the forum for memoirs, but this is relevant to everyone. So I’ll tell y’all anyway.

It all started back in 2018 when I came into work early, microwaved my breakfast, poured coffee, and got pulled into a collaboration room to hear, “We love you and your work, April, but we’ve been bought out and you’re being laid off.”

It was kind of awkward carrying my stuff out to the car with that Jimmy Dean sandwich in my mouth.

More awkward still was the nine months of unemployment I went through afterwards. Between the fully clothed shower crying, the stream of job denial, catering to people who carried rocks in their nostrils at my part-time job (yes, ew, yes, really), and almost dying of no-health-insurance-itis, I learned a lot!

The bigger lesson though, came in the spring of the following year when I filed my taxes. I should back up for a moment and take the time to let those of you unfamiliar with unemployment in Texas in on a few things that aren’t common knowledge.

1: You’re only eligible if you were laid off. Not if you had quit. Not fired. Your former company can also choose to challenge your eligibility for benefits if they didn’t like your face on the way out. So the only way you’re 100% guaranteed to get paid in (what the state calls) “a timely manner”, is a completely amicable split.

2: Overpayments have to go back. Immediately. If there’s an error, like several thousand of Texans found out this week, the government needs that cash back before you can access any more. If you’re not watching your bank account to make sure you’re getting the exact same check each time and you have an overpayment, rest assured that mistake isn’t going to take long to correct. Unfortunately, if you spent that money unknowingly–thought you got an ‘in these uncertain times’ kinder and gentler adjustment and have 0 income, you have a problem. Tying into Coronavirus nonsense is point three!

3: There are no sick days. If ever you’re unable to work for any reason, be it a car accident, childbirth, horrible internal infection (see also no-health-insurance-itis), you are legally required to report it, and you will not be paid for any days you were incapacitated. Personally, my no-health-insurance-itis came with a bad fever and bedrest order that axed me out of my part time job AND killed my unemployment benefits for the week I spent getting my internal organs to like me again. But as it turned out, the payment denial came at the right time because–

4: Unemployment benefits are finite. Even if you choose to lie on your request forms about how hard you’re searching for work, coasting is ill-advised because once the number the state allots you runs out…it’s out. Don’t lie on your request forms, by the way. In my case, since I got cut from my part-time gig, I got a call from the Texas Workforce Commission about why my hours were short. I was able to point out where I’d reported my sickness to them and to my employer, so my unpaid week rolled over to a later request date. I continued to get paid right up until my hiring date which was also EXACTLY when my benefits ran out.

Unemployment isn’t a career, which is odd considering the fact that unemployment payments are qualified by the government as income.

Ergo, fact number five…

5: Your benefits? They’re taxed.

That’s right, you will be TAXED for not having a job.

The stereotype of the ‘lazy unemployment collector burdening society’ should be fading pretty quickly for the hitherto uninformed about now.

To bring it back to my story, I’d completely forgotten that when I filed for unemployment in the first place, I’d asked for my taxes NOT to be withheld from it–assuming that I wasn’t going to be searching for full time work for very long. I figured “Well, I’ll have a tax refund coming since I’ll get work again no problem, it’ll cancel out.”

Except, it was a problem. Because of the nine month situation.

I’d completely forgotten about it by the time I threw myself into my new job, but after doing my taxes, triple checking the laws and what I’d signed, it was clear. Somehow…despite being at my lowest point in life, I owed the highest amount in taxes, somewhere around the 2k mark.

Despite being based on a system that’s tied to how much income you were getting before, and all the frustrating “safeguards” put in place to keep payments as low and infrequent as possible, Uncle Sam still wants a bite out of the gas-station Hostess pie that is your unemployment check. And as I’m writing this, more and more people are finding that out.

I’d like to end this on a more positive note…so let’s say we’ve all been positively educated! That’s a net gain, surely.

Keep your heads up, and masked.

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Opinion Editorials

COVID-19 acts are unfortunately too short sighted

(BUSINESS NEWS) The biggest flaw in the CARES act is simply that it won’t last. Numerous issues have extended the life of COVID-19 but the act hasn’t matched it.



rev pay issues act

The CARES act gives an additional $600 weekly to those on unemployment assistance. The idea being that, combined with the $380 already granted by unemployment, the payments would roughly equal the wage of the average worker prior to the pandemic- about $1,000 weekly.

But on July 31st, the expansion that CARES provides will expire, and benefits will return to pre-pandemic amounts. Those currently receiving the maximum payment will see a 61% decrease in their income. In states that offer lower benefit payments, that percentage goes even higher. All of this comes during a national rental crisis, and moratoriums on evictions across the country are also nearing their ends or being extended last minute.

This isn’t the first or only “yuge” hole in the federal government’s COVID-19 safety net. Many Americans (this writer included) have seen neither hide nor hair of their promised stimulus checks. The HEROES act, which is being billed as a second round of stimulus money, remains under debate- as it has been for several weeks.

And the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires certain businesses to provide two weeks of paid leave to workers who may be sick (or caring for someone who is) has plenty of problems too, namely the laundry list of exceptions to it.

This is just the most recent push to return to the pre-virus economy before effective protective measures have been put in place for workers and consumers alike. After all, with cases of COVID-19 spiking again in the US, it’s apparent that the act is still absolutely necessary. Our lawmakers either lack patience, or compassion – take your pick. Frankly, I say it’s both.

Not only have countless health experts warned that reopening too early will be disastrous, but if a second lockdown is in our future, all of the time, money, and human lives that went into reopening will be wasted.

There is a silver lining among the storm clouds on the horizon. Because ballooning unemployment has created long wait times for benefit applicants, unemployment assistance programs are shelling out retroactive back payments to those deemed eligible.

Good news, at least, for laid off workers who have been waiting months to hear their fate.

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Opinion Editorials

Women-owned businesses make up 42% of all businesses – heck yeah!

(EDITORIAL) Women-owned businesses make a huge impact on the U.S economy. They make up 42% of all businesses, outpace the national growth rate by 50%, and hire billions of workers.



women-owned business

Women entrepreneurs make history in the U.S as female-owned businesses represent 42% of all businesses, while continuing to increase at DOUBLE the national growth rate!

Women are running the world, and we are here for it! The 2019 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, states 13 million women are now self-employed entrepreneurs. From 2014 to 2019, women-owned businesses grew 21%. Think that’s impressive? Well, businesses owned by women of color grew 43% within the same timeframe, with a growth rate of 50%, and currently account for 50% of all women-owned businesses! Way to go! What this also means is that women employ over 2.4 million workers who together generate $422.5 billion in revenue.

What can we learn from these women that’ll help you achieve success in your businesses?

  1. Get informed: In a male-dominated business industry, women are often at a disadvantage and face multiple biases. So, know your stuff; study, research, and when you think you know it all…dig deeper!
  2. Stay hungry: Remember why you started this journey. Write down notes and reminders, goals, and inspirations, hang them up and keep them close.
  3. Ask for advice: Life is not meant to go through alone, so ask questions. Find a mentor and talk to people who have walked a similar path. Learning from them will only benefit your business.

Many of these women found ways to use their passion to drive their business. It may not be exactly what they thought it would be when they started out, but is it ever? Everyone has to start off small and rejection is part of the process. In fact, stories of rejection often serve as inspiration and encouragement to soon-to-be self starters.

Did you know J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book was turned down TWELVE times? Seven books later with over 400 million copies sold, the Harry Potter brand is currently valued at over 15 billion. While you might not become a wizard-writing fantasy legend like J.K Rowling, you sure as heck can be successful. So go for it, and chase your dreams.

If you want to support women-owned businesses, start by scrolling through Facebook or doing some research to find women-owned businesses in your community. Then, support by buying or helping to promote their products. Small businesses, especially women-owned, black women-owned, and women of color-owned, are disproportionally affected by the current economic crisis ignited by a health pandemic. So if you can, shop small and support local. And remember, there’s a girl (or more) doing a happy dance when you checkout!

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