Inspire & Aspire

Don’t just play video games… Make them

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Video games. They’re controversial, and they’re also something that kids love. Psychologist Dr. Isabela Granic has long studied video game use in children and adolescents, and has come to the conclusion that interacting in a video game world can have real world benefits (Bowen 2014). According to Granic, both complex strategic games (Legend of Zelda)…

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Inspiration Through Failure: Elon Musk and SpaceX


AHH the abort button is so close to his hand! Careful, buddy. from l How many times to we fail and then give up? More than anything, failure keeps us from driving forward. But what if we looked at failure in a completely different way? What if instead of being afraid of failing, we…

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The ‘Season of Giving’ is Year Round – Fostering Compassion Beyond the Holidays

Meal Kim

It’s the classic image of celebrities helping the disadvantaged around the holidays – serving meals to the homeless. Spend twenty minutes spooning mashed potatoes in a cute apron on Skid Row, just long enough to get that photo, and they get to pat themselves on the back all year long. Just as celebrities go back to their lives, so…

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What do you get the kid who has everything? [+giveaway]

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What do you get the kid who has everything? [+giveaway]


Seriously. Between tech gadgets, LEGOs, video games, and clothing, what do you get the kid who has everything?

Or a better question may be... do kids really need more stuff?

I'm not saying don't give any gifts. I'm saying consider the fact that our kids might not need more stuff just for stuff's sake. For a minute, consider incorporating a new kind of gift: an experience.

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You know what they say... Give a toy, play for a day; Give an experience, make a memory that lasts a lifetime.

OK so I just made that up. But it's true, right? My daughter will not be able to list the number of dolls she's outgrown since she was younger. But she will most definitely be able to describe every piece of clothing she created in her Fashion Design camp last summer. My son only wears one of the five pairs of sneakers he owns, but he can recall every pitch he threw to help bring his baseball team to the playoffs last year. Of course they enjoyed the dolls and the sneakers at the time, so it's not like I'd go back in time and deprive them, but I'm just thinking about how all the experiences they've had are the things that have really settled into their hearts. I want to give them more of those.

But... what if those two things could come together in perfect harmony?

This year we are doing something different. The kids' "big" gifts are going to be activities. My daughter wants to take an immersion Spanish course this summer, my son wants to do some kind of outdoor adventure, and my youngest daughter - well she wants to do everything under the sun :)

I use Thrively to get recommendations for them. Thrively is a strength-based activity finder for kids. It helps me find unique and highly rated activities, plus filters for what's going to be a good fit for both their strengths and interests. I entered "Backpacking" as an interest for him, and "Spanish" as an interest for her. Thrively then scans the thousands of activities in the directory to find the ones that match those interests as well as their strengths from their Strength Profile.

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Here's the recommendation that popped up for my son (umm can I go too?):

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Perfect. Now don't tell my kid. Here's where the "stuff" comes in. I went to and found:

The "stuff" here is not the experience in itself; but it facilitates the experience. My son may not remember the shoes themselves when he gets older. But he will remember the way they stood up to mud, he'll remember cinching them tight at the start of a long day on the trail, and he'll remember taking them off after a week of exploring the outdoors and looking at stars.

I plan to print a little framed card of the camp and tie it with a ribbon to his new boots. I can't wait until he opens it :)

Join us on this adventure. 

Sign up for and find that perfect adventure for your kids, whether it's a class or a camp. Then enter to win one of eight $50 Gift Cards from, so you can get the right gear to match the perfect activity you find through Thrively.

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Fine print: giveaway ends 12/14 at 11:59pm. Open to United States residents only, age 13 or up. No purchase necessary. 

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Investment bankers: don’t you know they’re human, too?*

dog banker meme

Editor’s note: I thought of the title. Don’t hate us for cheesiness. *Sung to the tune of that at-first-catchy-but-now-stuck-in-my-head-please-make-it-stop pop song. Perhaps the greatest, most consistent lesson I have learned throughout life is the importance of helping others and being of service to the community at large. This was engrained from the early years, where community…

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Not bad for a farm girl from Fargo


As a young girl growing up on a farm outside of Fargo, ND, I spent many of my days dancing around my living room (listening to Xanadu over and over) and dreaming of becoming a famous actress someday. Thankfully, my parents allowed me to dream and were willing to help me any way possible. They…

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Gamers Made Good Profile: Alan Wolfe, Senior Software Engineer at Blizzard Entertainment

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We asked, they answered. Team Thrively owes a big thanks to our gamer guest blog contributors who shared their gaming upbringing. Alan’s is the third gaming success story in our series.

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Gamers Made Good Profile: Steven Green, Shriek Studios


We asked, they answered. Team Thrively owes a big thanks to our gamer guest blog contributors who shared their gaming upbringing. Steve’s is the second gaming success story in our series.

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Gamers Made Good Profile: Keith Z. Leonard, Sword and Spirit Software, LLC


We asked, they answered. Team Thrively owes a big thanks to our gamer guest blog contributors who shared their gaming upbringing. Keith’s is the first of many gaming success stories team Thrively would like to share.

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The Power of Goofing-off


In that year something happened for me. I learned how to laugh, in a real way that made crazy divorced parents fade deep in the background. I learned how it was okay to be funny. When I reached middle school I joined the yearbook staff and as one of the editors I worked hard to slip in jokes where no one would find them except for a few of us on the ‘inside’. It was my own Mad Marginal.

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