posted: 01/09 at 08:00 PM
The people of Southern Sudan are voting in a referendum this week for their independence from the north.
While it not the most popular story in America these days, it is a big deal and an important event for us to know about.
Among the many atrocities that the southern Sudanese people have experienced at the hands of the north is the popular story of the Lost Boys. They are written about in books such as Dave Eggers’ What is the What and many others.
The extremely over-simplified version of the story of the Lost Boys is this: a huge number of boys escaped southern Sudan when the north came through and violently destroyed their villages. Many of them fled on foot, walking hundreds of miles. The ones who lived sometimes made it to refugee camps in Kenya or Ethiopia. Most of them never saw their families anymore. Some of them were brought to the United States through various programs to start over again. With nothing.
There are organizations (such as Nashville’s) here in the United states that support some of these Lost Boys in some ways. But their stories are amazing. They help show us what it means to lose everything you know and then start over in a strange place.
It serves as an important real-world lesson in what really matters.
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posted: 12/09 at 04:34 PM
Why we’re giving 50% of all our profits to the Rally Foundation for the rest of December (12/10/2010 - 12/31/2010)...
You may have seen our post about the excess and commercialism of “Chri$tma$” as the retail business sees it. Some of this is certainly okay (after all, we’re in the retail business!). But we also think it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that giving can occur in many different ways, and that some ways are more satisfying than others.
Many of us have experienced the ‘holiday rush’ when we have to end up buying a product for someone who doesn’t really need or want it. Sure, the thought counts, but the experience of giving can be a lot more satisfying when you know you’re helping to meet an important need.
If you’ve ever known anyone who has battled cancer, you know what an awful thing it can be. And, having met families who have had children with cancer, I am not sure that I could even truly begin to imagine how awful that experience would be. Organizations like the Rally Foundation exist so that we might some day reduce childhood cancer to the status of an easily treatable disease or, better yet, a disease of the past. But this takes research, and research takes money, and that money has to be put in the right places in order to be effective. Luckily, the Rally Foundation spends its time finding the best and most effective places to put this money so that it might someday eliminate the awful experiences this disease causes every year.
We believe our album is a wonderful thing to give anyone during a season of giving.
We believe that giving money to organizations that do good things is a great way to give.
And we believe that drawing attention to the fact that we do this helps draw attention to causes that deserve more attention and helps encourage other businesses to do the same.
There are many good charities out there that could do great things with money that might otherwise be spent on something less meaningful. So please, this holiday season, help us spread the word of giving in this way.
Happy Holidays from Good Gang Music Factory!
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posted: 12/06 at 05:51 PM
Next time you get upset about waiting for something, think about reasonable you’re being.
Every piece of technology has the potential to fail. There were times when people couldn’t dream of such things; when patience was easier to come by. Well, patience is still easier to come by. You might have to adjust your attitude a little as well as your expectations, but if you come at things from the perspective of how amazing they are, you don’t get as depressed and upset all the time. The alternative is a bunch of kids learning to feel entitled, angry, and impatient, who grow up to become adults with the same attitudes. This applies to money, leisure time, entertainment - pretty much everything. Kids who know how to appreciate things grow up to be better adults.
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posted: 12/04 at 10:00 AM
...More on Gustavo Dudamel and El Sistema as it spreads to the United States…
El Sistema, a “system” (literally) of teaching kids how to play classical music in Venezuela has succeeded because of the culture it has created. Kids learn, from an early age, about high standards and the rewards that come when high standards are pursued.
Gustavo Dudamel (this quote from the video below):
“It’s a discipline, and if you have this kind of discipline from the beginning of your life, it’s something [great].”
Kids can do amazing things, but only if we show them how to motivate THEMSELVES.
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posted: 11/28 at 12:00 PM
Just watch TV for a few minutes to see how many commercials are geared toward gadgets, videogames and other kinds of technology. Log on to Amazon.com to see how good they (and many others) have become at figuring out what other products we might like based on what we buy. People forget sometimes that Christmas actually does have meaning for a lot of us, apart from spending money on more and more and more stuff. And it’s amazing how much stuff people buy every year that is just geared toward mindless our own mindless entertainment.
To be sure, entertainment is generally a good thing. Its impact on our lives is immeasurably important. And technology is a wonderful thing. It helps us accomplish tasks every day that we couldn’t have dreamed of just a few years ago - tasks that shouldn’t take a long time to accomplish (checking your bank balance or checking the weather in your destination city). However, technology is a means to an end and we must be aware of how easily it can be used to distract us from our goals when we start becoming obsessed with what it can do. As creatures of habit, we can literally be changed by what we do day in and day out…
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