Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Importance of Work, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

One of my favorite things to do at Little Pickle Press is to interview children about the topics that we have been discussing during the month. Today, I interview three children about the importance of hard work and how it plays a role in their own lives.

Work ethic is when someone believes in the value of hard work. Do you think work is important? Why?

Alex (6 years old): Yes. Hard work makes you learn better. It teaches you what you are working on, so you can be better at it. You can learn more about it.

Ryan (8 years old): Yes. I think work is important. Because if none of any of us worked, we wouldn’t get anything done.

Mark (8 years old): I think work is important because it’s what you do when you’re older. Also, though, it teaches you about being careful with your allowance. Because sometimes I will want something and my dad will say ‘you can have it if you help in the garden’. And then I have to really want it. Or else, no way am I falling for that one.

What work do you do to help around the house?

Alex: I do chores. I make lunch, and read. We used to have a chore chart.

Ryan: I help to put away things from the dishwasher and stuff. Sometimes I sweep under the table. I like fun responsibility. I don’t like boring responsibility. I think a fun responsibility is when I help to carry boxes to the car, because I like the weight. Like, I carried 27 pounds!

Mark: I do things like make my bed and clean my room.

What about at school? Do you help out at school? Do you have homework?

Alex: Yes, but I didn’t get it now because its ski week. When I was in kindergarten, I only had to read for 5 minutes instead of 20 minutes.

Ryan: We don’t get grades at my school, but we get character cards. They have words like ‘respect’. If you get 20 character cards, you get a prize. I got one. The best part was that it was the morning that we were going to go to the symphony. It was just a special morning. It was a dark morning— a special morning. It was on a Friday.

Mark: Oh yeah, I have homework. It’s not always bad because some of the time we do fun things.

What is something that you do outside of school that you have had to practice at to become better?

Alex: I do painting, drawing. At school I take art classes. We mix colors and we make self-portraits of ourselves, and we make clay fish. When I was my brother’s age, I would draw squiggles, but now I am better. Practice makes perfect.

Ryan: I don’t play any instruments or sports, but I do swim. In swimming, I earned all my ribbons. And now I am on the swim team. I play one song on the piano. And I want to horseback ride. My mom said ‘maybe’ and my dad said he would be happy to pay for it, which is awesome.

What do you want to be when you are older?

Alex: An artist. When I grow up I want to be a pottery artist. I have the blood of an artist. My grandparents work at an art gallery.

Ryan: I want to work in a marine clearwater hospital, and I think I would do that for two reasons 1) because dolphins are clearwater animals, and 2) I want to help to save animals’ lives. My other thing is I want to be the first woman president. We have never had a first woman president. But the only thing is that I would have to wait until I was really old, like 28 or even 48! Ugh!

Mark: I think I want to be a doctor or an architect.

Who do you know in your life who has the most work ethic?

Ryan: I know about three people. But I think the first one is my mommy. And she just gave me a look like “I think I’m the best”.

Mark: I still don’t really know what that means, but I think my dad. He works really hard at his job. And he does things around the house. So, probably him.

Image Credit: doityourself.com

The Importance of Work, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

One of my favorite things to do at Little Pickle Press is to interview children about the topics that we have been discussing during the month. Today, I interview three children about the importance of hard work and how it plays a role in their own lives.

Work ethic is when someone believes in the value of hard work. Do you think work is important? Why?

Alex (6 years old): Yes. Hard work makes you learn better. It teaches you what you are working on, so you can be better at it. You can learn more about it.

Ryan (8 years old): Yes. I think work is important. Because if none of any of us worked, we wouldn’t get anything done.

Mark (8 years old): I think work is important because it’s what you do when you’re older. Also, though, it teaches you about being careful with your allowance. Because sometimes I will want something and my dad will say ‘you can have it if you help in the garden’. And then I have to really want it. Or else, no way am I falling for that one.

What work do you do to help around the house?

Alex: I do chores. I make lunch, and read. We used to have a chore chart.

Ryan: I help to put away things from the dishwasher and stuff. Sometimes I sweep under the table. I like fun responsibility. I don’t like boring responsibility. I think a fun responsibility is when I help to carry boxes to the car, because I like the weight. Like, I carried 27 pounds!

Mark: I do things like make my bed and clean my room.

What about at school? Do you help out at school? Do you have homework?

Alex: Yes, but I didn’t get it now because its ski week. When I was in kindergarten, I only had to read for 5 minutes instead of 20 minutes.

Ryan: We don’t get grades at my school, but we get character cards. They have words like ‘respect’. If you get 20 character cards, you get a prize. I got one. The best part was that it was the morning that we were going to go to the symphony. It was just a special morning. It was a dark morning— a special morning. It was on a Friday.

Mark: Oh yeah, I have homework. It’s not always bad because some of the time we do fun things.

What is something that you do outside of school that you have had to practice at to become better?

Alex: I do painting, drawing. At school I take art classes. We mix colors and we make self-portraits of ourselves, and we make clay fish. When I was my brother’s age, I would draw squiggles, but now I am better. Practice makes perfect.

Ryan: I don’t play any instruments or sports, but I do swim. In swimming, I earned all my ribbons. And now I am on the swim team. I play one song on the piano. And I want to horseback ride. My mom said ‘maybe’ and my dad said he would be happy to pay for it, which is awesome.

What do you want to be when you are older?

Alex: An artist. When I grow up I want to be a pottery artist. I have the blood of an artist. My grandparents work at an art gallery.

Ryan: I want to work in a marine clearwater hospital, and I think I would do that for two reasons 1) because dolphins are clearwater animals, and 2) I want to help to save animals’ lives. My other thing is I want to be the first woman president. We have never had a first woman president. But the only thing is that I would have to wait until I was really old, like 28 or even 48! Ugh!

Mark: I think I want to be a doctor or an architect.

Who do you know in your life who has the most work ethic?

Ryan: I know about three people. But I think the first one is my mommy. And she just gave me a look like “I think I’m the best”.

Mark: I still don’t really know what that means, but I think my dad. He works really hard at his job. And he does things around the house. So, probably him.

Image Credit: doityourself.com

Guest Author Penny Warner and Mystery Awards

I was recently surprised to learn the first book in my new middle-grade mystery, The Code Busters Club: Secret of the Skeleton Key, has been nominated for an Agatha Award! If you’re not familiar with the award, it’s given out at the annual Malice Domestic Mystery Conference, held in the Washington DC area in the spring. My competition is tough—I’m up against some big names, including Harlan Coben and Chris Grabenstein—but it’s a thrill to be nominated and I’ve even had “Nominated” stickers made for my books!

The Code Busters Club features four kids—two boys and two girls—who find a secret message drawn on the window of “Skeleton Man’s” house across the street in their Berkeley, California, neighborhood. The coded message leads the kids on a search for a possible hidden treasure, while they try to avoid being caught by a couple of nefarious gold-diggers. The book is filled with codes for young readers to solve, making it an interactive story that engages kids from seven to twelve years old.

Although my books have won several awards—Dead Body Language won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery and was nominated for a Barry Award and an Agatha award, Mystery of the Haunted Caves won an Anthony Award and an Agatha Award, and The Official Nancy Drew Handbook was nominated for an Agatha Award—I didn’t necessarily submit them for awards. Often my publishers will send in a copy or a title will somehow find its way onto a list of possible nominees. I never write a book hoping it might be nominated or win an award. That’s just icing on the cake.

Once one of my books is nominated, I let my friends and fans know, but I don’t do a lot of promotion beyond what I normally do. I love to give out mystery-related goodies to readers at book signings and conferences, but those items are more a “thank you” for buying the book than a bribe to vote my way.

If you’re interested in getting your mystery book nominated for an award, there are plenty of opportunities, including the Edgar Awards (Mystery Writers of America), the Anthony Awards (Bouchercon), Macavity Awards (Mystery Readers International), the Derringer Awards (Short Mystery Fiction Society), Shamus Awards (Private Eye Writers of America), Barry Awards (Deadly Pleasures magazine), and the Hammett Prize (International Association of Crime Writers). But there are lots of wonderful books out there with no award nominations—and I think they’re all winners!

Penny Warner is the author of THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB for middle-grade readers, and an adult mystery series featuring a party planner. Her latest book is HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE. If you’d like to participate in a drawing for a copy of either book, leave your email in the comment section.

Penny Warner can be reached at http://www.pennywarner.com or via email. You can purchase her books at your local bookstore, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.

Guest Author Penny Warner and Mystery Awards

I was recently surprised to learn the first book in my new middle-grade mystery, The Code Busters Club: Secret of the Skeleton Key, has been nominated for an Agatha Award! If you’re not familiar with the award, it’s given out at the annual Malice Domestic Mystery Conference, held in the Washington DC area in the spring. My competition is tough—I’m up against some big names, including Harlan Coben and Chris Grabenstein—but it’s a thrill to be nominated and I’ve even had “Nominated” stickers made for my books!

The Code Busters Club features four kids—two boys and two girls—who find a secret message drawn on the window of “Skeleton Man’s” house across the street in their Berkeley, California, neighborhood. The coded message leads the kids on a search for a possible hidden treasure, while they try to avoid being caught by a couple of nefarious gold-diggers. The book is filled with codes for young readers to solve, making it an interactive story that engages kids from seven to twelve years old.

Although my books have won several awards—Dead Body Language won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery and was nominated for a Barry Award and an Agatha award, Mystery of the Haunted Caves won an Anthony Award and an Agatha Award, and The Official Nancy Drew Handbook was nominated for an Agatha Award—I didn’t necessarily submit them for awards. Often my publishers will send in a copy or a title will somehow find its way onto a list of possible nominees. I never write a book hoping it might be nominated or win an award. That’s just icing on the cake.

Once one of my books is nominated, I let my friends and fans know, but I don’t do a lot of promotion beyond what I normally do. I love to give out mystery-related goodies to readers at book signings and conferences, but those items are more a “thank you” for buying the book than a bribe to vote my way.

If you’re interested in getting your mystery book nominated for an award, there are plenty of opportunities, including the Edgar Awards (Mystery Writers of America), the Anthony Awards (Bouchercon), Macavity Awards (Mystery Readers International), the Derringer Awards (Short Mystery Fiction Society), Shamus Awards (Private Eye Writers of America), Barry Awards (Deadly Pleasures magazine), and the Hammett Prize (International Association of Crime Writers). But there are lots of wonderful books out there with no award nominations—and I think they’re all winners!

Penny Warner is the author of THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB for middle-grade readers, and an adult mystery series featuring a party planner. Her latest book is HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE. If you’d like to participate in a drawing for a copy of either book, leave your email in the comment section.

Penny Warner can be reached at http://www.pennywarner.com or via email. You can purchase her books at your local bookstore, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.

Crystal Kite Awards: Round One of Voting Ends Soon!

By Cameron Crane

Little Pickle Press loves the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) for numerous reasons. Every year, we attend their annual conference, where we connect with talented authors, illustrators and industry professionals who are members of SCBWI from all over the world. This year, we are very excited that What Does It Mean To Be Safe?, written by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Sandra Salsbury, has been nominated for a Crystal Kite Award in the California: San Francisco East/North Bay Area region.

The Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators each year to recognize great books from 15 regional SCBWI divisions around the world. Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers. Each member of SCBWI is allowed to vote for their favorite book from a nominated author in their region that was published in the previous calendar year.

Round one of voting ends on February 29, 2012, so if you are an SCBWI member, don’t forget to vote for your favorite title in your region. Voting is easy — simply log in to your SCBWI account, click on the “Regions” tab and select your region, then click on the “Crystal Kite” tab. You will have the opportunity to select your favorite title from a list of those nominated.

We would like to express our gratitude to SCBWI for continuing to recognize authors and illustrators. We would also like to thank YOU for taking the time to vote and support the hard work of the authors and illustrators in your region. Best of luck to all those nominated!

Crystal Kite Awards: Round One of Voting Ends Soon!

By Cameron Crane

Little Pickle Press loves the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) for numerous reasons. Every year, we attend their annual conference, where we connect with talented authors, illustrators and industry professionals who are members of SCBWI from all over the world. This year, we are very excited that What Does It Mean To Be Safe?, written by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Sandra Salsbury, has been nominated for a Crystal Kite Award in the California: San Francisco East/North Bay Area region.

The Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators each year to recognize great books from 15 regional SCBWI divisions around the world. Along with the SCBWI Golden Kite Awards, the Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers. Each member of SCBWI is allowed to vote for their favorite book from a nominated author in their region that was published in the previous calendar year.

Round one of voting ends on February 29, 2012, so if you are an SCBWI member, don’t forget to vote for your favorite title in your region. Voting is easy — simply log in to your SCBWI account, click on the “Regions” tab and select your region, then click on the “Crystal Kite” tab. You will have the opportunity to select your favorite title from a list of those nominated.

We would like to express our gratitude to SCBWI for continuing to recognize authors and illustrators. We would also like to thank YOU for taking the time to vote and support the hard work of the authors and illustrators in your region. Best of luck to all those nominated!

Social Entrepreneurship as an Extension of Work Ethic

By Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press

I am a third generation Italian American. All of my great grandparents were born in Italy and came to this country to create a better future for my grandparents. They worked very hard to provide for my grandparents who, in turn, worked very hard to create opportunities for my parents. My beloved Babbo, my maternal grandfather, worked three jobs contemporaneously to be in a position to afford to build a home for his family, which he did with his own hands. He had an eighth grade education yet his daughter, my mom, went to college, got her masters degree, and later her Ed.D. It’s the perfect example of the American Dream come true.

I learned at a very young age that if you wanted something, you had to work for it. When I was 7 years old, I earned my allowance by cleaning the bathroom of our home, vacuuming, and dusting each week. When I was 10 years old, I started to babysit. When I was 14 years old, I worked in my parents’ restaurant. By the time I was 16 years old, I spent my summers on Martha’s Vineyard working various jobs from caring for children to being a hostess at restaurants. When most students relied upon their parents’ largess to support their spending habits, I had jobs all the way through college and law school. I am grateful for the work ethic my parents fostered in me.

Growing up, my dad especially donated his time and talent to various nonprofits that benefitted people in need—Training Through Placement (an organization that helped special needs kids find gainful employment and suitable housing), The Samaritans, and Habitat for Humanity, to name a few. After long hours in the office, he would attend meetings at night and events on weekends. As children, my brother and I asked questions about his involvement. We learned that in order for a community to thrive, each member has to give back to support those who need it most. Without realizing it at the time, my parents planted the seeds of social entrepreneurship in me.

When I started my professional career, first as a lawyer, then as an investment banker, I had precious little time to donate to the causes in which I believed. So, I made leadership donations to them. When I started to germinate the idea for Little Pickle Press, I knew that I wanted to be a B Corporation, to be the change we seek. We got certified as a B Corp within our first year of operation. From inception, I also wanted to align the Company with a specific child-related cause in which I believed. After an exhaustive search, our team picked Starlight Children’s Foundation as our cause. We gave Starlight a material donation and also committed to donate ten percent (10%) of the book revenues from What Does It Mean To Be Global?, What Does It Mean To Be Green?, and What Does It Mean To Be Present?.

We remain ardent supporters of Starlight and the important work they do to support critically ill children and their families cope with illness. For the balance of the month we are offering FREE SHIPPING on any order that includes The Starlight Collection , the first three award-winning titles in the What Does It Mean To Be . . . ?® series. Just enter LPPStarlight at checkout to take advantage of this promotion.

Children are our future. We need to invest in them. We need to practice what we preach. If we desire to raise children who are socially responsible and conscious, we must start by fostering a strong work ethic in them. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.
Image Credit: http://bit.ly/xyZn1t

Social Entrepreneurship as an Extension of Work Ethic

By Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press

I am a third generation Italian American. All of my great grandparents were born in Italy and came to this country to create a better future for my grandparents. They worked very hard to provide for my grandparents who, in turn, worked very hard to create opportunities for my parents. My beloved Babbo, my maternal grandfather, worked three jobs contemporaneously to be in a position to afford to build a home for his family, which he did with his own hands. He had an eighth grade education yet his daughter, my mom, went to college, got her masters degree, and later her Ed.D. It’s the perfect example of the American Dream come true.

I learned at a very young age that if you wanted something, you had to work for it. When I was 7 years old, I earned my allowance by cleaning the bathroom of our home, vacuuming, and dusting each week. When I was 10 years old, I started to babysit. When I was 14 years old, I worked in my parents’ restaurant. By the time I was 16 years old, I spent my summers on Martha’s Vineyard working various jobs from caring for children to being a hostess at restaurants. When most students relied upon their parents’ largess to support their spending habits, I had jobs all the way through college and law school. I am grateful for the work ethic my parents fostered in me.

Growing up, my dad especially donated his time and talent to various nonprofits that benefitted people in need—Training Through Placement (an organization that helped special needs kids find gainful employment and suitable housing), The Samaritans, and Habitat for Humanity, to name a few. After long hours in the office, he would attend meetings at night and events on weekends. As children, my brother and I asked questions about his involvement. We learned that in order for a community to thrive, each member has to give back to support those who need it most. Without realizing it at the time, my parents planted the seeds of social entrepreneurship in me.

When I started my professional career, first as a lawyer, then as an investment banker, I had precious little time to donate to the causes in which I believed. So, I made leadership donations to them. When I started to germinate the idea for Little Pickle Press, I knew that I wanted to be a B Corporation, to be the change we seek. We got certified as a B Corp within our first year of operation. From inception, I also wanted to align the Company with a specific child-related cause in which I believed. After an exhaustive search, our team picked Starlight Children’s Foundation as our cause. We gave Starlight a material donation and also committed to donate ten percent (10%) of the book revenues from What Does It Mean To Be Global?, What Does It Mean To Be Green?, and What Does It Mean To Be Present?.

We remain ardent supporters of Starlight and the important work they do to support critically ill children and their families cope with illness. For the balance of the month we are offering FREE SHIPPING on any order that includes The Starlight Collection , the first three award-winning titles in the What Does It Mean To Be . . . ?® series. Just enter LPPStarlight at checkout to take advantage of this promotion.

Children are our future. We need to invest in them. We need to practice what we preach. If we desire to raise children who are socially responsible and conscious, we must start by fostering a strong work ethic in them. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.
Image Credit: http://bit.ly/xyZn1t

Brannon Beliso: Encouraging Work Ethic in Children

By Cameron Crane

“It’s not whether you can or can’t, it’s whether you do. A lot of work ethic is doing.”- Brannon Beliso


What was the first thing you did this morning? Brannon Beliso woke up and told himself that he was a white belt. Of course, this could not be further from reality. Professor Brannon Beliso is the owner and head instructor of One Martial Arts, an extremely successful martial arts school in San Francisco, and the creator of One Merit Badges, a green-based company that provides an innovative life skills education program for children. He began his martial arts training at the age of five, with his father as his first instructor, and in his career he has won over 150 championships.

Still, this morning Brannon Beliso woke up and told himself that he was a white belt. Why? Because he believes in having a learning and growth mindset, and believes that this can only be facilitated if you wake up in the morning with a sense of humility.


“I developed work ethic by being present in the moment. What I need to learn today, I will learn today,” Brannon says, “The black belt is the one who woke up earliest this morning.”

It is this mindset that has helped Brannon and his company to become so successful. One Martial Arts is designed to help children in a variety of ways, and in all areas of their lives. Self-defense is just the surface of what kids will learn in one of Brannon’s classes. In mastering martial arts they are also taught skills like focus, respect, dedication, and commitment. Brannon’s program is also designed to help children apply these disciplines to their efforts at home and in school.


His One Merit Badges program encourages children to apply core skills both inside and outside of the One Martial Arts studio. Similar to the program implemented by Girl Scouts of America, Brannon’s students can earn different badges for the skills that they develop. The majority of the time, the children earn badges for the actions they take when they think nobody is looking. Parents are also offered the ability to print the badges and implement the program into the dynamic of their household.

“Almost everything in our program is about developing work ethic. Hard work means always doing your best, whether you are in class or at home,” Brannon says, “A big problem in our culture is a sense of entitlement. We are teaching kids to earn things. In our program, they learn to earn. Hard work, never giving up, always doing your best. Isn’t that work ethic? If children do this they can create the type of life for themselves that they want. But our grandparents were willing to flip burgers. We need to learn that work, no matter what we are doing, is noble. It deserves respect.”

This respect for work is implemented not only into the classes at One Martial Arts, but in the staff, and in Brannon’s own structure at home. Brannon’s staff are all working toward one common goal: to be better people through One Martial Arts.

“Every day I tell my staff, we can always do and be better.”

At home, Brannon teaches his children by leading by example, and by not being afraid to let his children work. If he is outside digging a hole, he gives his son a shovel. If he is washing the car, he gives his son a sponge. Hard work is recognized with a system of checks and balances, and occasional rewards like an ice cream. Brannon also believes in getting his children involved in sports, and activities that require patience.

“Make your children learn piano,” Brannon says, “If you ask your child ‘would you like to develop work ethic’, they won’t understand. That’s why I say ‘make’. It’s not always about what they want. Do you make them? Yes. Why? Because it’s good for them. As a parent or teacher, you have to take ownership. Will there be playtime? Yes. Will there be Disneyland? Yes. That is part of it. But failure is not an option. Quitting is not an option. Every time we allow our children to quit, we diminish their self-esteem.”

Growing up, Brannon was never allowed to quit. At a very young age, he learned a work ethic that has stuck with him his entire life. Today, he passes his wisdom on to his students and staff at One Martial Arts, and his children. But he believes that “in order to be a good teacher, you must forever be a student”, so this morning he is a white belt. Are you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Learn More!

Interested in enrolling your child in One Martial Arts or taking a class yourself? Sign up by clicking here. Be sure to also look for the Life Skills Workshop on March 10th, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

You can hear more from Brannon Beliso by following his blog.

Brannon Beliso: Encouraging Work Ethic in Children

By Cameron Crane

“It’s not whether you can or can’t, it’s whether you do. A lot of work ethic is doing.”- Brannon Beliso


What was the first thing you did this morning? Brannon Beliso woke up and told himself that he was a white belt. Of course, this could not be further from reality. Professor Brannon Beliso is the owner and head instructor of One Martial Arts, an extremely successful martial arts school in San Francisco, and the creator of One Merit Badges, a green-based company that provides an innovative life skills education program for children. He began his martial arts training at the age of five, with his father as his first instructor, and in his career he has won over 150 championships.

Still, this morning Brannon Beliso woke up and told himself that he was a white belt. Why? Because he believes in having a learning and growth mindset, and believes that this can only be facilitated if you wake up in the morning with a sense of humility.

“I developed work ethic by being present in the moment. What I need to learn today, I will learn today,” Brannon says, “The black belt is the one who woke up earliest this morning.”
It is this mindset that has helped Brannon and his company to become so successful. One Martial Arts is designed to help children in a variety of ways, and in all areas of their lives. Self-defense is just the surface of what kids will learn in one of Brannon’s classes. In mastering martial arts they are also taught skills like focus, respect, dedication, and commitment. Brannon’s program is also designed to help children apply these disciplines to their efforts at home and in school.


His One Merit Badges program encourages children to apply core skills both inside and outside of the One Martial Arts studio. Similar to the program implemented by Girl Scouts of America, Brannon’s students can earn different badges for the skills that they develop. The majority of the time, the children earn badges for the actions they take when they think nobody is looking. Parents are also offered the ability to print the badges and implement the program into the dynamic of their household.

“Almost everything in our program is about developing work ethic. Hard work means always doing your best, whether you are in class or at home,” Brannon says, “A big problem in our culture is a sense of entitlement. We are teaching kids to earn things. In our program, they learn to earn. Hard work, never giving up, always doing your best. Isn’t that work ethic? If children do this they can create the type of life for themselves that they want. But our grandparents were willing to flip burgers. We need to learn that work, no matter what we are doing, is noble. It deserves respect.”

This respect for work is implemented not only into the classes at One Martial Arts, but in the staff, and in Brannon’s own structure at home. Brannon’s staff are all working toward one common goal: to be better people through One Martial Arts.

“Every day I tell my staff, we can always do and be better.”

At home, Brannon teaches his children by leading by example, and by not being afraid to let his children work. If he is outside digging a hole, he gives his son a shovel. If he is washing the car, he gives his son a sponge. Hard work is recognized with a system of checks and balances, and occasional rewards like an ice cream. Brannon also believes in getting his children involved in sports, and activities that require patience.

“Make your children learn piano,” Brannon says, “If you ask your child ‘would you like to develop work ethic’, they won’t understand. That’s why I say ‘make’. It’s not always about what they want. Do you make them? Yes. Why? Because it’s good for them. As a parent or teacher, you have to take ownership. Will there be playtime? Yes. Will there be Disneyland? Yes. That is part of it. But failure is not an option. Quitting is not an option. Every time we allow our children to quit, we diminish their self-esteem.”

Growing up, Brannon was never allowed to quit. At a very young age, he learned a work ethic that has stuck with him his entire life. Today, he passes his wisdom on to his students and staff at One Martial Arts, and his children. But he believes that “in order to be a good teacher, you must forever be a student”, so this morning he is a white belt. Are you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Learn More!

Interested in enrolling your child in One Martial Arts or taking a class yourself? Sign up by clicking here. Be sure to also look for the Life Skills Workshop on March 10th, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

You can hear more from Brannon Beliso by following his blog.

Are Americans Getting Lazy?

By Dani Greer
Recently, President Obama created a few rough airwaves about Americans getting soft and lazy. Well! He didn’t really say that, but his detractors had a field day with the suggestions that America had lost its competitive edge, and the public was to blame.
The idea really got me to thinking about how our society has changed in the past 100 years. I live in the country, and certainly farming is a lot different than it was a century ago. It is now an industry largely rooted in growing huge quantities of a few commodity crops like corn and wheat, as conveniently and efficiently as possible using large pieces of equipment, a process made possible by the availability of cheap oil.
Let’s look at life 100 years ago in 1912. People tended to work close to where they lived. The women’s suffragette movement was just gaining steam, and the 19th amendment hadn’t yet passed. Mass produced cars were just beginning to roll off assembly lines. 
Americans raised a lot of their own food, and what they didn’t grow themselves was often locally supplied. Chocolate, like other imports, was reserved for holidays!
Long distance travel was mostly by train, or by ship if one ventured to other continents. Exercise was usually part of one’s daily activity, either walking to work or doing the work. Leisure revolved around friends and family activities, amateur sports, radio, and the latest dance crazes. 


People earned, and needed, a lot less money to maintain a simpler lifestyle. But as a society, Americans were beginning to think and move in the direction of safe work for fair wages, with comfort and fun as  a regular part of daily living.

As the century progressed, we became ever-more industrialized and technology-based, all fueled by cheap oil. The resulting mass-produced and affordable goods, fueled by consumer demand through mass marketing, resulted in endless accelerating cycles of want, need, and supply.
Today, we work largely away from home, and though our homes are larger and filled with amenities, we spend most of our time earning the money that affords us these comforts we don’t have time to enjoy. This is true whether we are two-income families or the more than fifty percent of single family homes. Most of us travel daily in our own cars, and when we travel long-distances which is frequent, we use airplanes. 
Our food is largely out-sourced and often prepared by others and we eat at restaurants or buy processed foods that skip the need for at-home preparation. We schedule special times to exercise for health either by going to a gym or buying special equipment for our homes, and we pay for all this my making as much money as we can to support our increasingly complicated lives. Our lifestyle continues to be fueled by cheap oil and by marketing that convinces us this is what we need and want.
But we’re also stressed and tired. Why? Because we work hard? Well, maybe and maybe not. I think our minds work hard, in large part simply because they are over-burdened with too much information. We are unfocused, because our gadgets and the relentless influx of information keeps us so.
Are we soft? In a society where chronic overweight has become the norm, maybe so. Perhaps our president didn’t actually say we are lazy and soft, but maybe we should all look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves. Are we healthy? Are we happy?
I challenge you to think about new ideas for your lifestyle, outside of the media brainwashing you are exposed to all day long. Let’s pretend and imagine what your future might look like.
Let’s say you work fewer hours at your money-making job, and you instead use those hours to grow your own vegetables. It’ll get you away from your gadgets, out into the fresh air and sunshine. It will give you total control over a healthy food source.  It probably will also save you money.
Gardening is great exercise. You’ll have more incentive to cook and your children can be part of the process. You might even discover they aren’t such finicky eaters after all, when they’re more in touch with where their food came from!

That’s just one idea. Sound crazy? Too weird? Too hard?

Why not start now and try it for one summer? You might decide you like the physical challenges and the many rewards. Nobody will think you’re soft and lazy when they see your thriving garden, or when you bring them some of the harvest along with a recipe of how to prepare the homegrown bounty. You’ll be able to tell them just how you accomplished it: a little less TV, a little less texting, no more overtime at work. It’s all about shifting focus.

Consider this idea, too: must having a good work ethic translate only into dollars earned? Please think about this and leave us your comments.

Are Americans Getting Lazy?

By Dani Greer
Recently, President Obama created a few rough airwaves about Americans getting soft and lazy. Well! He didn’t really say that, but his detractors had a field day with the suggestions that America had lost its competitive edge, and the public was to blame.
The idea really got me to thinking about how our society has changed in the past 100 years. I live in the country, and certainly farming is a lot different than it was a century ago. It is now an industry largely rooted in growing huge quantities of a few commodity crops like corn and wheat, as conveniently and efficiently as possible using large pieces of equipment, a process made possible by the availability of cheap oil.
Let’s look at life 100 years ago in 1912. People tended to work close to where they lived. The women’s suffragette movement was just gaining steam, and the 19th amendment hadn’t yet passed. Mass produced cars were just beginning to roll off assembly lines. 
Americans raised a lot of their own food, and what they didn’t grow themselves was often locally supplied. Chocolate, like other imports, was reserved for holidays!
Long distance travel was mostly by train, or by ship if one ventured to other continents. Exercise was usually part of one’s daily activity, either walking to work or doing the work. Leisure revolved around friends and family activities, amateur sports, radio, and the latest dance crazes. 


People earned, and needed, a lot less money to maintain a simpler lifestyle. But as a society, Americans were beginning to think and move in the direction of safe work for fair wages, with comfort and fun as  a regular part of daily living.

As the century progressed, we became ever-more industrialized and technology-based, all fueled by cheap oil. The resulting mass-produced and affordable goods, fueled by consumer demand through mass marketing, resulted in endless accelerating cycles of want, need, and supply.
Today, we work largely away from home, and though our homes are larger and filled with amenities, we spend most of our time earning the money that affords us these comforts we don’t have time to enjoy. This is true whether we are two-income families or the more than fifty percent of single family homes. Most of us travel daily in our own cars, and when we travel long-distances which is frequent, we use airplanes. 
Our food is largely out-sourced and often prepared by others and we eat at restaurants or buy processed foods that skip the need for at-home preparation. We schedule special times to exercise for health either by going to a gym or buying special equipment for our homes, and we pay for all this my making as much money as we can to support our increasingly complicated lives. Our lifestyle continues to be fueled by cheap oil and by marketing that convinces us this is what we need and want.
But we’re also stressed and tired. Why? Because we work hard? Well, maybe and maybe not. I think our minds work hard, in large part simply because they are over-burdened with too much information. We are unfocused, because our gadgets and the relentless influx of information keeps us so.
Are we soft? In a society where chronic overweight has become the norm, maybe so. Perhaps our president didn’t actually say we are lazy and soft, but maybe we should all look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves. Are we healthy? Are we happy?
I challenge you to think about new ideas for your lifestyle, outside of the media brainwashing you are exposed to all day long. Let’s pretend and imagine what your future might look like.
Let’s say you work fewer hours at your money-making job, and you instead use those hours to grow your own vegetables. It’ll get you away from your gadgets, out into the fresh air and sunshine. It will give you total control over a healthy food source.  It probably will also save you money.
Gardening is great exercise. You’ll have more incentive to cook and your children can be part of the process. You might even discover they aren’t such finicky eaters after all, when they’re more in touch with where their food came from!
That’s just one idea. Sound crazy? Too weird? Too hard?

Why not start now and try it for one summer? You might decide you like the physical challenges and the many rewards. Nobody will think you’re soft and lazy when they see your thriving garden, or when you bring them some of the harvest along with a recipe of how to prepare the homegrown bounty. You’ll be able to tell them just how you accomplished it: a little less TV, a little less texting, no more overtime at work. It’s all about shifting focus.

Consider this idea, too: must having a good work ethic translate only into dollars earned? Please think about this and leave us your comments.

Being Global : The App Trailer

Check out the new trailer for our interactive app, based on our award-winning title What Does It Mean To Be Global? by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Chris Hill – click to view:

For more information, or to download Being Global, click here.

Featured Customer of the Month: Laurel Book Store

By Cameron Crane
Laurel Book Store
4100 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619


As we take a look at work ethic, it is important to recognize the hard work and dedication it takes to run a business. This month we recognize Laurel Book Store as our featured customer of the month —not only because we appreciate their business —but also because we admire Luan Stuass for all that she does to make this book store special. Today please welcome Luan, owner of Laurel Book Store.
How did Laurel Book Store come to be?

After working in the book field in various jobs, I met some wonderful people who owned stores. I saw that my own neighborhood didn’t have a book store and after talking with the seasoned pros, I realized that if I really wanted to have one, I had to create it myself. So I did.

How has Laurel Book Store evolved since it first opened in 2001?

The mix of products has changed. The children’s section has grown to be nearly 24% of our space and sales.

What makes Laurel Book Store unique?

I think that being in one of the most demographically diverse cities in the country means that our selection has to be pretty broad. We have customers whose tastes run from urban fiction to sustainable gardening — from literary fiction to cookbooks. We try to have a little bit of everything and promote our ability to find anything else.


What is the most challenging part about owning and running Laurel Book Store?

Finding the time to do everything with a small staff. I love talking with customers, but have to also pay the bills, create the orders, plan for events, and clean the bathroom. And then there’s finding time to read!

What is your favorite part about owning and running Laurel Book Store?

Talking with customers, adults and kids alike, about what they’re reading, showing them new arrivals, sharing our reading experiences and finding something that they’ll like. I also really like talking with authors and finding out how they do what they do and what’s behind each story.



Why did you decide to carry our books?

I learned of them when a local school was having one of the authors in to talk, and I was contacted to sell books. After seeing what else you published, I began carrying them all. They’re special books that are easy to sell. They hit topics that are easy to understand and are presented in a beautiful way.

Which book is your favorite?

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain because it’s a difficult concept presented in an easy-to-understand way. It plants the seeds of keeping your brain active in young kids and helps them to understand why that’s important. It also reminds adults that kids are growing and stretching all the time, and we have to keep them active and challenged.

This month our theme for the blog is fostering work ethic in children. As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give?

Try to break things into manageable tasks. Begin something, carry it through to the best of your current abilities, and finish it. Always be looking for the next step or the next task, and take it on before being asked. I have a great deal of admiration for kids who think about what comes next and do it, even if it’s just cleaning up your workspace before starting something new or realizing that someone else might need help to finish something. Initiative is very important but often kids aren’t given the freedom or confidence to just do something without being told.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Laurel Book Store?

I love my store, and it wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing people who have worked there and work there now, or without the incredible mix of people who come through our doors every day. Everyone adds a little color to the mural that has become Laurel Book Store, and I hope to keep at it for a long time to come.

If you are ever in Oakland, we recommend stopping by Laurel Book Store to browse the wonderful collection.

Thank you, Luan!

Featured Customer of the Month: Laurel Book Store

By Cameron Crane
Laurel Book Store
4100 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619

As we take a look at work ethic, it is important to recognize the hard work and dedication it takes to run a business. This month we recognize Laurel Book Store as our featured customer of the month —not only because we appreciate their business —but also because we admire Luan Stuass for all that she does to make this book store special. Today please welcome Luan, owner of Laurel Book Store.
How did Laurel Book Store come to be?

After working in the book field in various jobs, I met some wonderful people who owned stores. I saw that my own neighborhood didn’t have a book store and after talking with the seasoned pros, I realized that if I really wanted to have one, I had to create it myself. So I did.

How has Laurel Book Store evolved since it first opened in 2001?

The mix of products has changed. The children’s section has grown to be nearly 24% of our space and sales.

What makes Laurel Book Store unique?

I think that being in one of the most demographically diverse cities in the country means that our selection has to be pretty broad. We have customers whose tastes run from urban fiction to sustainable gardening — from literary fiction to cookbooks. We try to have a little bit of everything and promote our ability to find anything else.

What is the most challenging part about owning and running Laurel Book Store?

Finding the time to do everything with a small staff. I love talking with customers, but have to also pay the bills, create the orders, plan for events, and clean the bathroom. And then there’s finding time to read!

What is your favorite part about owning and running Laurel Book Store?

Talking with customers, adults and kids alike, about what they’re reading, showing them new arrivals, sharing our reading experiences and finding something that they’ll like. I also really like talking with authors and finding out how they do what they do and what’s behind each story.


Why did you decide to carry our books?

I learned of them when a local school was having one of the authors in to talk, and I was contacted to sell books. After seeing what else you published, I began carrying them all. They’re special books that are easy to sell. They hit topics that are easy to understand and are presented in a beautiful way.

Which book is your favorite?

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain because it’s a difficult concept presented in an easy-to-understand way. It plants the seeds of keeping your brain active in young kids and helps them to understand why that’s important. It also reminds adults that kids are growing and stretching all the time, and we have to keep them active and challenged.

This month our theme for the blog is fostering work ethic in children. As a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give?

Try to break things into manageable tasks. Begin something, carry it through to the best of your current abilities, and finish it. Always be looking for the next step or the next task, and take it on before being asked. I have a great deal of admiration for kids who think about what comes next and do it, even if it’s just cleaning up your workspace before starting something new or realizing that someone else might need help to finish something. Initiative is very important but often kids aren’t given the freedom or confidence to just do something without being told.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Laurel Book Store?

I love my store, and it wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing people who have worked there and work there now, or without the incredible mix of people who come through our doors every day. Everyone adds a little color to the mural that has become Laurel Book Store, and I hope to keep at it for a long time to come.

If you are ever in Oakland, we recommend stopping by Laurel Book Store to browse the wonderful collection.

Thank you, Luan!

The Girl Scout Approach to Work Ethic

By Cameron Crane


It is no surprise that Little Pickle Press loves Girl Scouts of the USA. Not too long ago, we attended Girltopia, where we had the pleasure of interacting with the bright young girls who participate in the program. Girl Scouts of the USA is an organization with a strong set of core values geared toward success, and recently they have incorporated a new system that encourages a strong work ethic in their girls, by giving them the tools and inspiration they need to become future entrepreneurs and creative thinkers.

This system is composed of redesigned badges, which supplement traditional Girl Scout badges with business-savvy values, and encourages the girls to organize their own projects to bring their ideas to life. Girls have the opportunity to earn badges like the Product Designer badge, for ideas for the design and development of a product they dream up. Other badges, like the Business Plan badge or the Customer Loyalty badge, are related to the famously successful cookie sales. Each badge focuses on a different skill tailored to the age level of the girl trying to earn it.

We love these new badges for inspiring young girls to take a stab at business. What stands out to us is that this system achieves something that we have been reaching for this month — the development of work ethic in children. The great thing about the program is that it applies to both boys and girls of all ages. Boy Scouts of America employs the same strategy with their merit badges.

Key to the Girl Scout badge strategy is not the badge itself, but rather the value placed on the badges by the scouts. The badge itself has little tangible value; rather, it is the accomplishment associated with the badge that the children strive for. The program is successful because it maintains a balance between internal reward and external results for accomplishments. The lesson is twofold: (1) you work hard enough, and you will build confidence in yourself and your ideas; (2) you invest enough time, you will get to see your ideas become a reality and will be recognized for your efforts. It’s simple really. Is this not the exact formula that drives many of us to succeed in our own lives?

A reward system can also be a great way to employ work ethic within the household or in a classroom. Do you have a reward system for your children or students? Have you found it to be successful? Please share your thoughts with us!

Image Credit: holykaw.alltop.com

The Girl Scout Approach to Work Ethic

By Cameron Crane

It is no surprise that Little Pickle Press loves Girl Scouts of the USA. Not too long ago, we attended Girltopia, where we had the pleasure of interacting with the bright young girls who participate in the program. Girl Scouts of the USA is an organization with a strong set of core values geared toward success, and recently they have incorporated a new system that encourages a strong work ethic in their girls, by giving them the tools and inspiration they need to become future entrepreneurs and creative thinkers.

This system is composed of redesigned badges, which supplement traditional Girl Scout badges with business-savvy values, and encourages the girls to organize their own projects to bring their ideas to life. Girls have the opportunity to earn badges like the Product Designer badge, for ideas for the design and development of a product they dream up. Other badges, like the Business Plan badge or the Customer Loyalty badge, are related to the famously successful cookie sales. Each badge focuses on a different skill tailored to the age level of the girl trying to earn it.

We love these new badges for inspiring young girls to take a stab at business. What stands out to us is that this system achieves something that we have been reaching for this month — the development of work ethic in children. The great thing about the program is that it applies to both boys and girls of all ages. Boy Scouts of America employs the same strategy with their merit badges.

Key to the Girl Scout badge strategy is not the badge itself, but rather the value placed on the badges by the scouts. The badge itself has little tangible value; rather, it is the accomplishment associated with the badge that the children strive for. The program is successful because it maintains a balance between internal reward and external results for accomplishments. The lesson is twofold: (1) you work hard enough, and you will build confidence in yourself and your ideas; (2) you invest enough time, you will get to see your ideas become a reality and will be recognized for your efforts. It’s simple really. Is this not the exact formula that drives many of us to succeed in our own lives?

A reward system can also be a great way to employ work ethic within the household or in a classroom. Do you have a reward system for your children or students? Have you found it to be successful? Please share your thoughts with us!

Image Credit: holykaw.alltop.com

Book Review—Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love

Review by Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

by Kara LaReau, pictures by Scott Magoon
Reading level: Ages 2 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Roaring Book Press (December 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159643483X
ISBN-13: 978-1596434837
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
As today is Valentine’s Day, it is ever-so-appropriate to review one of my children’s new favorite books, Mr. Prickles. It is a special honor for me to review this title as its author, Kara LaReau, is the razor-sharp editor of my award-winning What Does It Mean To Be . . . ?® series of children’s picture books.

The Story: Mr. Prickles tries way too hard to fit in with the other forest animals. That is, until he meets Miss Pointypants. The cuspated couple grow quite fond of one another, and the exclusionary forest animals no longer matter to them.

The Rhythm: I love the cadence of this story. It is so much fun to read out loud. The word choice and emphasis not only serve as the metronome for the story but also help the young audience to feel the internal condition of the protagonist. The alliterations are clever and propel the plot.


The Artwork: It is obvious that Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon have a symbiotic working relationship and enjoy creating together. Scott’s artwork has facial expressions, especially in the eyes, that conveys great meaning and provides amusement value. As the relationship between Mr. Prickles and Miss Pointypants blossoms, so do their signature flowers. There are many delightful artistic details and humorous elements to notice throughout the book, so the audience will be captivated with each reading.

The Layout: We take great pride in thoughtfully laying out our books, so it is especially wonderful to find a book that has a layout that adds to the story. The placement of the copy alone distinguishes the characters and taps the tempo.

The Message: There are several great messages in this story. The first is about self-acceptance. The second is an effective approach to handling exclusionary play. The third, and why the book is especially relevant today, is that life is richer, sweeter, and more fulfilling when you share it with someone you love.

The Conclusion: Please support your local bookseller and buy this book from them, or find it on Amazon, or borrow a copy from your library, but by all means read it to the little p(r)ickles in your life. From all of us at Little Pickle Press to all of you, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy celebrating the love you are blessed to have in your life.

Book Review—Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love

Review by Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press

by Kara LaReau, pictures by Scott Magoon
Reading level: Ages 2 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Roaring Book Press (December 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159643483X
ISBN-13: 978-1596434837
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
As today is Valentine’s Day, it is ever-so-appropriate to review one of my children’s new favorite books, Mr. Prickles. It is a special honor for me to review this title as its author, Kara LaReau, is the razor-sharp editor of my award-winning What Does It Mean To Be . . . ?® series of children’s picture books.

The Story: Mr. Prickles tries way too hard to fit in with the other forest animals. That is, until he meets Miss Pointypants. The cuspated couple grow quite fond of one another, and the exclusionary forest animals no longer matter to them.

The Rhythm: I love the cadence of this story. It is so much fun to read out loud. The word choice and emphasis not only serve as the metronome for the story but also help the young audience to feel the internal condition of the protagonist. The alliterations are clever and propel the plot.


The Artwork: It is obvious that Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon have a symbiotic working relationship and enjoy creating together. Scott’s artwork has facial expressions, especially in the eyes, that conveys great meaning and provides amusement value. As the relationship between Mr. Prickles and Miss Pointypants blossoms, so do their signature flowers. There are many delightful artistic details and humorous elements to notice throughout the book, so the audience will be captivated with each reading.

The Layout: We take great pride in thoughtfully laying out our books, so it is especially wonderful to find a book that has a layout that adds to the story. The placement of the copy alone distinguishes the characters and taps the tempo.

The Message: There are several great messages in this story. The first is about self-acceptance. The second is an effective approach to handling exclusionary play. The third, and why the book is especially relevant today, is that life is richer, sweeter, and more fulfilling when you share it with someone you love.

The Conclusion: Please support your local bookseller and buy this book from them, or find it on Amazon, or borrow a copy from your library, but by all means read it to the little p(r)ickles in your life. From all of us at Little Pickle Press to all of you, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy celebrating the love you are blessed to have in your life.

The Value of Work

By Cameron Crane

What comes to mind when you hear someone described as having a good ‘work ethic’? If you are like most of us, you probably picture someone who spends the majority of their life dedicated to work, striving to achieve excellence, and often at the price of sacrificing the fun in life. And while it is true that ‘work ethic’ is an adjective often attributed to those who work hard, that is not necessarily the true meaning of the word. In fact, if you look the definition of work ethic up in the dictionary, you find the following:

So what does it truly mean to have work ethic? Does it mean working hard, or simply believing in the value of work? Are they one in the same?

Personally, when I think of worth ethic, I think of a saying that my mother grew up hearing from her father. “Don’t be a nurse, be a doctor,” he used to say, “Don’t be a secretary, be a lawyer.” And a lawyer she became. What my grandfather meant by these words was not to condemn nursing or secretarial work as professions. These roles are significant, and imperative, in fact, in running a business. Rather, what he meant was, don’t limit yourself. Why not push yourself to go all the way? And so from a very young age, my mother believed that if she worked hard enough, she could accomplish anything. Through her years of studying, she learned that her efforts shaped her to be stronger and more confident than she could have ever imagined. Thus, her experience was not only appreciated by the results of her work (a law degree and a successful law practice), but rather the impact hard work itself had on her character.
In my opinion, it is the way one values the experience of work, rather than the quantity of the work itself, that determines whether they have ‘work ethic’. They are not one in the same. In fact, when we are so consumed in the act of working, sometimes we forget to appreciate its value. Understanding the importance of why we wake up and go to work in the morning is sometimes lost in the monotony of the routine. We start to believe that we go to work because we have to, and by doing this, we limit ourselves. The only reward we receive from our work then is financial gain and the ability to survive. If, however, we understand that work can help us grow and make a difference, we not only survive, but we also feel accomplished. And this is where I believe that the confusion comes in: those who feel accomplished by what they do, are more likely to excel in the workplace.
So this month, as we explore the concept of work ethic, I challenge you to foster it your own life, by considering the true value you place on work. What do you gain from going to work in the morning? What is your attitude? What do you truly believe are the benefits of hard work? We would love to hear your thoughts!

The Value of Work

By Cameron Crane

What comes to mind when you hear someone described as having a good ‘work ethic’? If you are like most of us, you probably picture someone who spends the majority of their life dedicated to work, striving to achieve excellence, and often at the price of sacrificing the fun in life. And while it is true that ‘work ethic’ is an adjective often attributed to those who work hard, that is not necessarily the true meaning of the word. In fact, if you look the definition of work ethic up in the dictionary, you find the following:

So what does it truly mean to have work ethic? Does it mean working hard, or simply believing in the value of work? Are they one in the same?


Personally, when I think of worth ethic, I think of a saying that my mother grew up hearing from her father. “Don’t be a nurse, be a doctor,” he used to say, “Don’t be a secretary, be a lawyer.” And a lawyer she became. What my grandfather meant by these words was not to condemn nursing or secretarial work as professions. These roles are significant, and imperative, in fact, in running a business. Rather, what he meant was, don’t limit yourself. Why not push yourself to go all the way? And so from a very young age, my mother believed that if she worked hard enough, she could accomplish anything. Through her years of studying, she learned that her efforts shaped her to be stronger and more confident than she could have ever imagined. Thus, her experience was not only appreciated by the results of her work (a law degree and a successful law practice), but rather the impact hard work itself had on her character.

In my opinion, it is the way one values the experience of work, rather than the quantity of the work itself, that determines whether they have ‘work ethic’. They are not one in the same. In fact, when we are so consumed in the act of working, sometimes we forget to appreciate its value. Understanding the importance of why we wake up and go to work in the morning is sometimes lost in the monotony of the routine. We start to believe that we go to work because we have to, and by doing this, we limit ourselves. The only reward we receive from our work then is financial gain and the ability to survive. If, however, we understand that work can help us grow and make a difference, we not only survive, but we also feel accomplished. And this is where I believe that the confusion comes in: those who feel accomplished by what they do, are more likely to excel in the workplace.

So this month, as we explore the concept of work ethic, I challenge you to foster it your own life, by considering the true value you place on work. What do you gain from going to work in the morning? What is your attitude? What do you truly believe are the benefits of hard work? We would love to hear your thoughts!