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April 23, 2010
Making and Keeping it Fun

The world of social networking can be a great way to reconnect and communicate with old friends or it can be a colossal waste of time.  It really depends on the person using it.

I am a member of Facebook, but I can honestly say that I rarely log onto the site.  Perhaps once or twice a week, mostly when I am prompted by an e-mail that there is a message waiting for me.  I’m not a Twit nor do I play Farmtown or Mafia Wars (or whatever the games are called).  I always seem to have better things to do with my time.

The one thing that Facebook does provide me is a way to stay in contact with old friends that I’ve lost touch with over the years.  Without social networking sites, it is highly improbable that I would have found old friends, classmates, fraternity brothers, or people I met while in the employ of others. 

One such friend that I’ve recently had the pleasure of reacquainting myself with is my friend Mike.  Mike and I were college roommates, fraternity brothers, from the Bay Area, big SF Giants fans and once even dated the same girl (no...at the same time).  To say that we were once good friends in college would be an understatement. 
Many years have since past since our college days and many of my good friends have gone off elsewhere.  Some 25 years passed before I received an email from Facebook telling me that I had a "friend request" from Mike.  I quickly accepted his invitation and have now been able to rekindle a friendship long thought dead.

Recently Mike and I were talking.  As he was giving me an update on regarding his family, we told me a story where his daughter’s high school basketball team began their season with a lack-luster 2-5 start but went on to win 15 straight games, finishing their season at an impressive 17-5 mark.  
As he unfolded the story, he commented to me how the girls, by the end of the season, were not physically exhausted but rather mentally spent by the intense pressure of winning yet another game and keeping the streak alive.

Being in the spotlight of fame (however fleeting) can bring stress and anxiety to a person not accustomed to such attention.   The fun of playing the game was long gone for many of the girls but the pressure of "not screwing up" was with them always.  

Children are not meant to have this type of pressure thrust upon them.  Adults sometimes have a way living their lives through their children’s lives.  Kids have a hard enough time these days living their own lives.  It’s even more difficult for them to try and live up to the expectations of the adults as well. 

Very few people thrive in the spotlight.  They are celebrated with their own reality TV shows and photo-shoots in People Magazine.  There are countless stories of child-stars who have been relegated to obscurity after their 15 minutes of fame are over.  Many of their stories are tragic in the end. 

Most of us are content to live our lives in relative obscurity.  We have friends who like us for who we are.  Families that are a bit quirky and maybe somewhat dysfunctional (all families...as well as people... have a bit of dysfunction in them... this is what makes us human).  We help others and make a difference in the lives of people.  We are loving and caring.  We play to win but we never stop our love of the game.  These are the expectations we should push upon our children...

Our children are just that...children.  Let them enjoy the short time that they have as kids.  There will be plenty of time for them to be adults later.  Love them for who they are.
Mike, thank you for that reminder.
Thank you very much for your continued support of OptiFuse as try to learn from other’s experiences.

Jim Kalb
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