Category Archives: Causes and Friends

Posts regarding causes–mine and those of some friends.

A Community Celebrating Veterans

thank-you-veteransWhat better way is there to celebrate and thank our Veterans than to join in a community event featuring them? Once again this year, the students and staff of M.S.A.D. 4 are planning a gala celebration in honor of and appreciation for our Veterans on Monday, November 10 2014 at Piscataquis Community Secondary School in Guilford starting at 1:00 p.m. sharp. This long-standing tradition just gets better every year!

2013 File Photo
2013 file photo by Mr. Boomsma

Veteran’s will be greeted by a receiving line of third graders and the program will be facilitated by members of the PCSS National Honor Society. There will be lots of music, including several stirring numbers by the combined PCSS Band and Chorus under the direction of Band Leader Mr. Carey. The Marine Corps League will again this year serve as honor guard. This year’s event is truly “multi-media” and will include a live “Skype” session with Elaine Riitano, a 2013 PCSS graduate who is currently serving our country.

The regular feature of the Armed Forces Theme Song Salute gives us a visual reminder of our community’s contribution to our country as people stand to acknowledge their connection to each branch of service, hearts swelling with pride and lumps in the throat.

The multi-media aspect is being taken to the maximum and the event will be “live-streamed” thanks to technology. Those who are truly unable to attend can watch events unfold on the SAD 4 website.  In fact, Legion Halls and assisted living centers to might consider making the program available this way.

But if possible, join your friends and neighbors for an hour of celebrating our freedom and those who make it possible while supporting our very talented kids. See you in the gym!

2013 file photo by Mr. Boomsma
2013 file photo by Mr. Boomsma

Mr. Boomsma Makes Mag!

SR Mag Clip“Mr. Boomsma” is the subject of a special article in the October Issue of Maine Seniors Magazine. The article was originally going to focus on the Grange, but as her research developed, writer Donna Halvorsen found a slightly different focus. She writes, “Each Grange can choose its own projects, reflecting local needs and interests. That’s how the Valley Grange, whose area stretches from Monson to Milo, came to focus so strongly on children. And how Boomsma—who talks with his hands and quotes Socrates—built a life around it.

I knew I quoted Socrates, but didn’t realize I talk with my hands. Although it makes sense because I happen to believe that a teacher can and should be his own greatest visual aid. I like to draw, too! (I didn’t say I was good at it… in fact I’ve been working on forming my letters correctly so I don’t embarrass myself in Kindergarten.)

One interesting side bar story… when the article was going through it’s final edits, Donna requested some pictures of me “working with kids.” Since I’m usually the photographer at school, I didn’t find very many so we decided to have a photo shoot. But who to invite?

I remembered how several years ago Kendall Kimball (then a second grader) announced to me she is going to be a “pop star” when she grows up. She also provided a detailed explanation of the difference between a “pop star” and a “rock star” and her determination has not waned. Needing a young model, it occurred to me that we might launch her career and establish her identity as a media darling. When you see the photo of us on page 35, I think you’ll agree–the camera loves her.

As for me… well, when the magazine hit Park Danforth–an assisted living center in Portland–my Aunt called to inform me that some of her girlfriends think I’m a real “hunk.” So I guess I’m popular with the eight year olds and the eighty-somethings.

Maine Seniors is a high quality magazine published right here in Maine and distributed throughout the state featuring “community icons” and “prime movers”— seniors who are making a difference in their communities and state. The article features some of Valley Grange’s initiatives such as Words for Thirds, Bookworming, and the GrowME project while telling some of my favorite stories about working with kids. But it also makes clear the fact that Mr. Boomsma believes it’s not about programs. The programs I like “are really just an excuse to do the real work.”

I would quickly add that it’s hard to think of something that’s this much fun as work. If  you  haven’t guessed what “the work” is, read the article.

A  complete digital copy is available on http://wboomsma.com. (Thanks to the publisher for generous reprint rights.) The entire issue will be accessible at http://meseniors.com before the month of October is over.

An outtake of the pop star and the hunk!
An outtake featuring the pop star and the hunk!

All work and no play is bad for your health. So says Jack.

What follows is the work of friend and colleague Jack Falvey–who many will recognize as the author of the “blurb” on the back cover of my book, Small People–Big Brains. Jack’s authoring this online investor program for Saint Anselm College… a free daily investor brief. See the bottom for additional information… try ’em! The price is right and I think you’ll enjoy Jack’s style. As a bonus you’ll learn a lot! Subscribe here.


Jack F HeadshotWorking smart is harder to do than working hard. To learn the application of this principle, read a few biographies. They are usually written about people who have accomplished things. Most pay a high price for being recognized in print. The lesson well could be that it is best not to be biographical material.

For all those who focus and lead the world, there are some impressive members of the pack who have not done badly. At times, hard work, long hours and dedication are justified and indeed are the smartest strategy. Biologically, we have reserves that make this possible. Realistically, we are better off if we can come down off of an adrenaline high and figure out how to even out things in a healthy way that will produce acceptable results.

Good financial planning has never required master-of-the-universe efforts. Being in a hurry is not a workable guiding principle. Progress is seldom smooth. Fits and starts seem to be the rule. Being smart enough to know when full forward is required and when reasonable cruising speed is best is the challenge. Having physical reserves to commit when needed means that you must get each day to work for you without having to force it to do so. How best to use the division of labor is a “work smart” skill. What must be done by me, by when? cannot have an “everything right now” answer.

Technology now requires around-the-clock commitment. Getting off the grid is a new life discipline to be mastered. Eventually, we all will learn how best to deal with this challenge. Working smart, while often requiring a lot of hours and effort, eventually translates into a strategy of setting priorities and doing only what must be done. Patience is a rare virtue. Take some time off to think about that. Thinking time is very important.

Investor Education Briefs is an online investor education program provided by the Institute for Politics at Saint Anselm College. It goes out each business day of the year at no charge. The editorial opinions of Jack Falvey, a Fellow of the Institute and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, are provided for investor education only and are not offered as financial advice. Anyone may enter or exit the program at any time. There are no tests or academic credits involved. It is designed as a free program which will recycle and be updated every twelve months. Subscribe here.

 

Few Are Free…

What follows is the work of friend and colleague Jack Falvey–who many will recognize as the author of the “blurb” on the back cover of my book, Small People–Big Brains. Jack’s authoring this online investor program for Saint Anselm College… a free daily investor brief. See the bottom for additional information… try ‘em! The price is right and I think you’ll enjoy Jack’s style. As a bonus you’ll learn a lot! Subscribe here.


The best things in life are priceless. Few are free!

There is a balance to the universe that theoretical physicists attempt to codify as a theory of everything. They may be in a bit over their heads, but they are far enough along in their quest to indicate that actions have consequences and, while sometimes difficult to see at first glance, that there is an order to things which may appear to be unconnected or random.

As we seek financial stability in our economic lives, it becomes obvious that our efforts are somehow related to our results. We do not have to study physics to see cause-and-effect relationships between hard work and return on that investment. We know that goals and focus pay off. We accept the discipline of economic life without fully understanding everything involved.

There are, however, other aspects of our lives that produce a different kind of return on investment. Our challenge is to attempt to gain the rewards of economic prosperity at a price that does not blot out the sunshine of a healthy existence.

Our culture dictates that we divide our lives chronologically into play, education and work. It has been suggested that things may work better by mixing all three all the time. Our income producing years do require focus and dedication, but the priceless parts of life should not be the price we pay for financial progress and security, such as it is. We mix play and learning naturally as children. Education leads us to our work life. Those who learn to work hard at continuing to mix the three aspects of life seem to do better at all three. Intellectual curiosity should always be with us. Physical health does not require organized athletics, but it does require dedicated time and some discipline. Work discipline is better defined as knowing how to stop! So financial planning requires life planning. See if you can get all the aspects of life working together. Perfect balance is not the objective. Try for the mix. That’s a reasonable goal.

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Investor Education Briefs is an online investor education program provided by the Institute for Politics at Saint Anselm College. It goes out each business day of the year at no charge. The editorial opinions of Jack Falvey, a Fellow of the Institute and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, are provided for investor education only and are not offered as financial advice. Anyone may enter or exit the program at any time. There are no tests or academic credits involved. It is designed as a free program which will recycle and be updated every twelve months. Subscribe here.

“Yesterday…”

handprintsI’ve never been a big fan of the lyrics to the Beatles’ tune even though I enjoy the melody. “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away… now it looks as though they’re here to stay… I believe in yesterday.”

No thanks, I prefer to live in the present.

But there was a yesterday and my yesterday was one of the more interesting ones I’ve had in some time. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a lot of detail. Suffice it to say it was one of the more difficult days I’ve had a substitute elementary school teacher. At one point, I caught one of the kids doing something out of the corner of my eye. I turned so my back was fully to her and said, “You kids should know that I have eyes in the back of my head and I can see what [student’s name] is doing.” Admittedly, this might be considered “lying” to the kids–something I don’t do, but I was also at my wit’s end. They were getting on my last nerve.

Later, while we were lined up waiting for bus dismissal, one of the kids came up and tugged on my sleeve. “Mr. Boomsma, you need to open those eyes in the back of your head so you can see what [another student’s name] is doing.” I’m laughing even now as I consider the possibility that he went home and announced to his parents that I really have eyes in the back of my head. Let’s hope his parents find it equally amusing.

As I reflect on yesterday, the troubles are growing faint. I find myself remembering the good stuff and the funny stuff. It was a long day–in the evening I attended an award’s assembly for grades three through six and saw a number of “my” kids honored for their academic accomplishments. Some were nervous; some were acting like it didn’t matter but beneath the facade you know they are proud of their accomplishments. So am I and I’m willing to allow myself to think I might just have contributed to their achievement in some way.

I know that the challenges I had yesterday will continue to grow dimmer and dimmer. But before they are totally gone, I’ve reflected on the day–a habit that’s pretty deeply ingrained. Part of the reason for reflecting is to decide what I can do differently tomorrow. Some of it is to relive the fun and good stuff. Thinking about yesterday, I came to this conclusion–not for the first time, certainly, but in another way that has even more meaning. I am so lucky to work with these kids. I don’t want to forget that they are that–kids. Small people with big brains… and (this might be the title of my next book) small people with big hearts. For the most part, any aggravation they cause is purely unintentional on their part. In the adult world, people like that are a lot harder to find.

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Every day, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”