WOW Word-Of-the-Week #285: Participation

January 5, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Participation – taking part or sharing in something.

Are you one who sits back and watches from the sideline? Do you like to participate in activities with others? Does getting out and doing something make you feel good?

Legoland Experience
Legoland with Nikki

Are you ready to make 2010 a great year? This past year has been pretty tough for a lot of people. There have been plenty of negatives but there are also some positives that came out of it. A New York Times article titled, “Experience consumption on the rise” states, “Nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online.”

“But Americans aren’t just getting by with less. They’re also doing more. Some are working longer hours, but a larger proportion are spending additional time with family and friends, gardening, cooking, reading, watching TV and engaging in other hobbies.”

“It’s a different kind of recession. People seem to be keeping up with experience consumption and cutting back on other necessities. Psychologists have been saying for years that shared experiences such as vacations lead to more long-term happiness than the latest bauble. And many Americans described motives beyond pure economic necessity.”

I really connected with this article on several levels. One of the changes that I have made over the last 10 years is to not give gifts on birthdays or Christmas. You can buy and give a present on any other day.  It makes gift giving a lot more FUN! Also, our grandkids get so many presents that we put money in their college fund and instead give them experiences all year long.

This week focus on participation. What activities can you do with your friends, family or staff?  What hobbies or experiences have you always wanted to take part in? Are you doing enough gardening, cooking, reading, etc?

Reader Responses

When you mentioned participation, the image of the late George Plimpton came to mind. He made participatory sports journalism fashionable. His tryout for quarterback for the Detroit Lions and other sports made him famous, in addition to his great writing. His April Fools Day story in Sports Illustrated on the fictional Sidd Finch was a classic. I was fortunate to meet him when he appeared at one of the Sidd Finch Restaurants in the Chicago area. As he signed my copy of Sports Illustrated, I asked him what sport he would be participating next. He thought a minute, then said, “Wrestling.” He never did get the chance before he passed a few years ago. But the point is that we should not be spectators in life, but get in there and be a part of what is happening. I think too many would just like to sit on the couch, pick up the remote and click from channel to channel. My wife and I spend a lot of time reading with our girls and with each other. Yesterday I took my eight-year-old Erin Grace to a Marquette University women’s college basketball game. It was her second time, and even though it was a frigidly cold day, she enjoyed the stadium, the game, the atmosphere, and meeting the basketball coach and the players, who all signed her poster. A couple of weeks earlier, I took Erin to the American Girls store for a father-daughter luncheon. Erin brought her newest doll, Chrissa, who sat in her own chair at our table. My wife and I are hopefully going to see James Taylor and Carole King when they come through the Chicago area for a show on their “Troubadour Tour.” Most nights our television is not turned on. We are busy doing things with the girls or ourselves. Susan, there is too many great things out there to experience. And we are trying to do it to EXPERIENCE LIFE as fully as we can each day. Great word, Susan. Have a great time. Take care. “Warrior” Joe