March 26, 2017

A Brilliant Cross-Over From Real Life Fitness to Video Game Play

NBA 2K17 Screen Shot

I just read an article that I believe is an absolute brilliant type of cross-promotion and marketing between two companies.

Earlier this year my wife got me a fitbit HR as a gift for my birthday. I thought back then that the integration between the device and my phone and my online profile was a good measure. You see I can connect with my friends and family members that may also have a FitBit device and challenge them to certain levels of activity. The most common of these is just a simple step count. The somewhat standard challenge goal for most people is to get 10,000 steps a day.

Well, fitbit has partnered with video game developers for NBA 2k17 to give you in-game player development perks if you obtain a 10,000 step goal in real life. That’s right! Brilliant right? I know when I was playing Tiger Woods golf on the Xbox regularly, just about the only thing I could think of was doing whatever I could to get my custom player’s skills up as high as I could so I had an advantage on both the game itself and anyone I might play against, including my wife! The downfall to that relationship was that it required me to spend as much time as possible playing the game, sitting on my butt in front of the TV.

With this branding crossover, you start to reward kids with a direct exchange of being more active in real-life to gain something in the virtual video game. What if we started finding more crossover promotions that promoted healthy activities instead of bad ones? Imagine Subway giving away power up codes for eating a low-fat sub and not ordering a soda? Granted, that’s going to go against their bottom line with the no soda thing, but you get my point.

What if parents could get little credit codes they could give their kids for positive behaviors that were directly related to health and fitness, or maybe even just good grades. Finish all your vegetables on your plate at dinner, here’s 25 booster points. Get an A in science this semester, here’s 1000 booster points.

The biggest challenge once this became popular would probably be working on ways to keep people from gaming the system. Because whatever system is out there for rewards, people will be looking to game it.

What are your thoughts on this type of marketing cross-promotion?

Original Article: Here’s Why Harrison Barnes Always Gets in his Steps Before Sitting Down to Play

Following the Leader, He Knows the Way

An Update and Backstory on Our Lives

The Bean Family

This post has been a long time coming I know, but honestly getting our own thoughts around all the details of the changes that have occurred in our lives over the last few months has taken us awhile to digest and think about ourselves. The content of this post was developed as a I wrote and shared an update with family members on both mine and my wife’s side of the family.

As many of you are probably aware of now, our family is in the process of relocating to Nashville, TN. As Kim said last night on the phone, our lives have come full-circle. I’m back in Nashville, and she’s in Indianapolis. The big difference is that it’s been almost years since this was the case before and we’ve had two children together since then. I’m currently in Nashville staying with some friends and looking for a full-time employer. As soon as I do, Kim and the kids will be joining me immediately.

But that’s now, what got us here?

In November of last year I found out that my job and role with Deep Ripples in Indianapolis would be over at the end of the year. This came as a shock to me (Kim felt a change was coming the month before) I was more upset about no longer being able to work with my older brother Bill than I was about losing my job. The company was basically going to give me a couple of months severance pay at the end of the year, so I wasn’t too worried about finding something else in Indianapolis before we’d need to worry about that money. It turns out the end of the year isn’t the best timing for looking for a job so there wasn’t a lot of activity in November and early December. Kim came to me early in the process and said that if relocating for a job would be what we needed to do, she wanted to let me know that she was open and supportive. That opened up lots of new leads for me to pursue. One of which was for a company I was very familiar with through the work that I do and it was based in Nashville, TN. When I submitted my application for the initial position they had listed, the response from the hiring manager was “Somehow I knew that we would be hearing from you! You’ve been a big fan for a long time, and I’m happy that you’ve thrown your hat into the ring.” Things seemed to be going very well in my pursuit of the opportunity with them, they brought me down to Nashville to meet the team and have a half-day of interviews with various folks. Everything went great and I headed back to Indy thinking I’d be joining the organization shortly and we’d soon be moving our family south. They ended up going with another candidate and I was pretty disheartened. It seemed like a great fit and a sure thing.

As we had pursued that opportunity, Kim came to me the weekend before the interview in Nashville and said. We have to move somewhere, let’s just plan on it being to Nashville. So, the majority of my job searching has been focused on Nashville. I was still pursuing leads in Indianapolis, and looking for jobs in some other cities we had thought about living in, but Nashville was in our sites. I told Kim I was fine with that idea, but that it would be much easier for me to go back to Nashville where I’d lived before and had some friendships and family, than it would be for her and the kids moving to a completely new city for them. We were both in peaceful agreement though that Nashville seemed to be the setting for the next chapters in our lives to be written.

You said “we had to move somewhere”, why?

Long story short, Kim and I have wanted out of our house for a long time. We had been praying for some kind of option to become available to us, we just had no idea what it would be, and then this opportunity seems to have dropped into our lap out of nowhere. It was our first home and it was small. We felt very cramped in it as a family and it wasn’t the home we both wished we had to be more welcoming to our kid’s friends and our own friends as a warm and inviting place to host people. Up until this point we had worked to remain content with what we had and to realize that we probably couldn’t find any better options at this point in our life. With the housing market as it was and with the repairs we knew we’d need to make to sell it (garage door, flooring, water heater and other items) we thought if we were ever able to sell it we’d probably need to plan on losing money on it at the closing.

Well, God provided us a way to get out of our home and even make some money in the deal. So we agreed and pursued it. Our biggest concern really was the timing of when we’d need to be out of the house. I talked to the realtor that had been assigned to our offer and he advised that in his experience this company didn’t do anything fast and that it would probably be 3-4 months at the earliest before our move out date. I didn’t want to worry about moving in February or March with potential winter snow on the ground, so we signed the papers on December 29th. I planned on continuing my job search and having an answer and new location to move to before we needed to be out of our house in Indy. On January 7th we got paperwork back in the mail that said our move-out date had been set for 02/13, yeah the following week. We flipped out a bit, but our realtor helped us get a 1 month extension, so we were going to be out of our house on 03/13. Much sooner than we had planned initially.

Now what? Relax and Know He’s in Control

We’re homeless. All of our possessions currently fit in a 10×20 storage unit in Indianapolis, aside from what we have with us. I have no full-time employer. And Kim and I have a peace and a calm about our current place in life that we’ve never had before.

You see for the first time in our lives I believe I’m truly trusting in God to take care of me and my family. The last time Kim and I were in a situation like this I had been downsized out of my position with the travel management company I had been working with for almost 7 years. I ended up taking a 60% salary cut. Many marriages would have strained and even crumbled under similar circumstances, Kim and I drew closer to each other. Here we are again and we’re both trusting and truly know that even though we’re not really sure what the final details are in all of this, we know our God is in control and it’s going to be a wonderful story when it’s all finished.

What’s been kind of weird is the challenge we’ve experienced from some individuals regarding the place we’re at. What was wrong? How could this be the right thing to be doing when there were no answers and everything seemed to be falling apart? Kim and I have experienced some amazing sermons and messages recently from various sources that seem to confirm our own feelings though. God never promised a smooth ride. He never assured us that we’d have all we wanted, just what we needed. We believe He has been helping us strip away the unnecessary and the other items that we’ve felt secure in instead of trusting Him to provide everything we’ve needed. Here’s a recent post I wrote about some of my thoughts on God’s will for our lives, “God’s Will Is A New Map, Not A Set Road“.

There have been so many little things that have occurred over the course of the last few months where looking back it all makes sense to us in why we believe it’s all been happening together. Many families where the father has lost a job and has had to look at the option of relocating to a new city have to worry about selling a house or somehow affording two mortgages. We don’t have to worry about that now. Many families looking at moving to a new city worry about finding new schools for their children. We’re in our 4th year of homeschooling our kids and loving it. We don’t have to worry about switching schools. Many families are comfortable and secure in their church involvement at church and their friendships there. For whatever reasons, Kim and I had started to feel more disconnected from the church we’ve attended for 11 years together. Friendships that had been integral and crucial to our lives up to this point have seemed to enter a season of change and separation. Many other, smaller little “strings” of our lives in Indianapolis have seemed to be cut in preparation for us to make a big move… we truly believe Nashville is where God is choosing to use us next.

Why Nashville?

As I said before our original reconnect with Nashville was for a job that ended up not working out. But as we looked at Nashville thinking it was most likely where we were going to end up because of this job, we started to see there were a lot of logical reasons for why we should continue to explore Nashville options:

  • Financial: overall the cost of living is lower in Nashville, utilities are cheaper, gas is $.50/gallon cheaper, etc. AND.. no state income tax in Tennessee. The only thing more expensive is housing, and that’s because business in the city is BOOMING! Leading to more opportunities for work for me
  • Location: in Nashville we’ll be within 4-5 hours of all of our family members in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, and the Memphis area
  • Education: Tennessee is friendly to homeschooling families, very similar to our freedoms and options in Indiana
  • Climate: our family really enjoys being outdoors together: camping, biking, and more months of baseball for Ethan!

So, Nashville it is. Since I’ve been down here and looking for work I’ve already connected with a number of great individuals and have already picked up quite a bit of extra work I’ve been doing on the side as I continue to look for a full-time employer. I’ve connected with a number of individuals involved in various aspects of ministry in both local churches, charitable organizations, movie industry and of course the music industry.

Right now the biggest struggle for us as a family is that we’re not together. Kim has been doing an amazing job being forced into the role of single-mom with two kids living out of suitcases while I’m here in Nashville working hard to nail down the right employer for me and my skills. We just need to be back together as a family here in Nashville somehow. The obvious answer to that question is for me to land a job. It will be the first time I’ve had a job with benefits in over a decade. That will be nice! But because of the way God has worked in our lives up to this point in all these changes, I don’t think I would be surprised to find some type of housing situation that we could walk into and afford even if only temporarily that would get us back together as a family. I think sometimes we forget we serve a God who created a universe, He’s got this too!

As you can tell, I’m not one to write and share big letters like this with the family very often. If you’d like to stay in touch with us, send us an email and of course follow-us on Facebook.

We request and appreciate your prayers. God is guiding us. God will protect us and He will provide. We just need to TRUST.

A Dad’s Involvement in Homeschooling

On Disney Bus

This post is compromised of a collection of thoughts I shared from someone else asking me about my involvement as a father with homeschooling. They may be published somewhere else in some kind of format, but after writing them I decided I wanted to share them here  as well. I believe I’ve touched on a lot of areas that are important and should be heard by fathers and mothers. Would love to hear your feedback about them.

The Teacher or the Principal?

My wife does do the vast majority and over-site of the homeschooling of our two children. However, what we have tried to do from the beginning is equip them to be self-supportive in their efforts with each subject. My wife will setup and workout the plan, and then allow them to execute it as needed. I have provided more direct involvement with the kids in their lessons in math and science. Since I’m also self-employed I’ve enjoyed the flexibility to work from home frequently and provided support as needed for all subjects during the day when I’ve been available or when home after work.

I don’t know of many dads that are the “primary” educator for their children in homeschool efforts. Much of what I see are dads that are supportive from the effort through their role as provider for the family and working hard to allow their wife to stay home and provide the homeschool education. As we have become more involved in the homeschool community around as well I see more and more dads that are actively engaged in the process, even though they may not be the “primary” educator in the home.

Being Welcomed in a Mom Dominated Community

I would say I haven’t felt unwelcome by women in homeschooling by any means. I believe there is too much of an absence of fathers being actively engaged in the effort, so this provides both a general discomfort when there is a man involved in a group primarily dominated by women. However, I also see an excitement from many of those same women to see a husband and father actively engaged in that family support of the wife.

The biggest issue I see is just a division of effort and a feeling of being alone by both husband and wife. Homeschooling (along with just about every other effort as a family) has got to be a team effort between the husband and wife. The husband and wife won’t necessarily perform the same roles and tasks, but they should be in agreement of the end goals and strategies being implemented in the home. The classic issues between male and female relationships will creep into the homeschooling effort as well if there’s not that agreement. As I heard recently, the end of communication is the beginning of resentment in a relationship. I believe this is very much true if parents aren’t on the same page. I very much support the “traditional” home model of a man working to provide for the family and the wife staying home to take care of the family. However, I don’t believe it’s a must. Each family can establish that environment for what works best for them. But, in any scenario, I believe both roles need to be equipped and willing to handle the tasks needed: working for income, laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning, taking care of the kids, etc., etc.

Different Educational Expectations

I think that men in general are more willing to take risks and allow failure to happen as a method for teaching. Not to say men should be insensitive, but I believe that’s how a man and a wife balance things for each other. I believe women can get too caught up in the emotions surrounding the success or failure of their children and may over-compensate in one way or another to offset those feelings. In our household I know my wife worries about how our kids are measuring up to other kids their age and their knowledge at the time. I’m concerned with that as well, but I look at the larger picture and ask myself, “Are they learning?” Even if it’s on their own pace and engagement level, are they further along today, than they were yesterday. In the end, I’d rather I succeed at teaching my child how to learn, how to be disciplined and how to work hard to accomplish a task, rather than if they know all the specific details of the Pythagorean Theorem before they hit high school.

Be Involved. Period!

I don’t believe dads should be involved in homeschooling because they should be involved in homeschooling. I believe dad’s should be involved in homeschooling because dads should be involved in every facet of their family’s lives. Dad’s are important and need to be involved in spiritual matters, intellectual efforts, physical efforts, professional goals, personal relationships, inner workings of the home, etc. I don’t believe a father’s involvement in homeschooling is any more important because there are sons in the family than they should be if there were only daughters. Dads are important! Period. A dad is just as important to the development of his daughter as he is to the development of his son. It’s just different. If they’re not there, including not being physically there but not involved, there is a loss in the family and a gap that has to be filled. If that gap isn’t filled by a father, it WILL be filled by something else. Many times that “filler” isn’t what we’d really prefer it to be.