A Publication of WTVP

Talk to a Human
We’re all familiar with the annoying reality of calling customer support. Plan on adding 20 or 30 minutes to your call while you wade through automated menus and are put on hold before actually getting a real person on the line., a web-based directory of phone numbers, can get you in touch with customer service reps from a thousand providers with minimal wait times. The site tells callers how to quickly make their way through automated menus and reach real people. It also allows consumers to rate the customer service at each company.

The Importance of Self-Control
A study published earlier this year reported that self-control may be the key to health, wealth and happiness. Researchers studied 1,000 people from birth to age 32, noting that those with less self-control as children were three times as likely to develop health problems and addictions, earn less money, become single parents, or commit crimes as adults than those who were able to delay gratification and wait their turn in line. The good news, researchers said, is that self-control, unlike poverty and IQ, can be taught through good parenting, to redirect the paths of impulsive children.

Use Video to Land a Job
At a time of high unemployment, job applicants can stand out from the crowd by taking some advice from author and international speaker Maribeth Kuzmeski. “If you really want to capture the attention of a potential employer,” she says, “record a quick video.” Kuzmeski suggests sending a link to a one-or two-minute video of yourself with your resume or post-interview thank-you note to better introduce yourself and let the employer know why they should hire you. Be sure to keep it short, and make sure both you and the background look professional.

On Social Media: Letter from a Concerned Parent

Editor’s Note: The following is a real-life letter sent to a high school principal in Illinois earlier this year. Written by a concerned parent who also happens to be an interactive media professional, it serves as a reminder to parents and educators alike to be vigilant about the potential dangers of social networking websites.

Dear [Principal],
I’ve been seeing a lot (LOT) of [school name] students on Facebook. As an interactive professional and one who spent a few years in educational technology, I am desperately concerned. In my opinion, the only reason a parent would allow their child on Facebook is out of sheer ignorance of what they’re exposed to. COPPA laws are there to protect the identity of children while online, yet these young girls give their first and last names, where they go to school, the town they live in…I see them sharing websites and public chat rooms with each other, and leaving themselves wide open in a highly predatory environment where they are prematurely exposed to adult and sexual content.

I went through an issue a couple of years ago with my high schooler. She had been online and was being wooed by a boy who posted a misleading photo of himself. She was corresponding with who she thought was a cute boy her age who was saying very flattering things to her. He turned out to be an adult male from [a nearby city]. All of this was going on without my knowledge. One day I was home sick and found her coming home much later than she should have from school. He had picked her up at school. She still won’t tell me the details of what happened, but she ended up being hospitalized with severe depression and the male was arrested, though not convicted. Jurisdictions regarding Internet and IP law are still very vague areas for the police.

And this happened with a mother who is acutely aware of what social media exposes kids to! She was not allowed to be on MySpace or Facebook, but she had started an account at the [school name] computer lab. When I made her show me the account, I opened an inbox to pages and pages of highly inappropriate propositions from random adult males. Social media is a candy store for pedophiles. That sounds extreme, but it’s true. As an experiment, I took an old photo of myself and set up a fake account claiming to be 16 as well. Literally within the hour, I had messages from several men asking personal questions. I can’t exclaim strongly enough what a highly predatory environment this is. Parental controls do not create a perfect seal of safety.

I am desperate with alarm for these kids. If their parents knew what a predatory environment they’re putting their kids in, they’d never do it. I know parents who won’t let their children walk around the block alone, but will allow them to be on Facebook and other social networking sites.

I implore you to please push an awareness program in the school. COPPA laws do not allow for these kids to be on social networking sites to begin with, but they, the kids and parents, need some educating. I know that no loving parent would knowingly allow their child to be exposed like this, and I know we all love our children.

Please feel free to keep an ongoing dialogue with me if I can help further this cause.

Thank you.
[A Concerned Parent]


Paul Herzog has been a Chartered Financial Consultant with MassMutual Financial Group for three decades, but he may be more widely known as the “Voice of the Bradley Braves” and the IHSA Boys State Basketball Finals.

Herzog recently completed his 35th year announcing for BU—511 games so far!—and was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame in February. Born and raised in Troy, Illinois, Herzog has settled in Germantown Hills with this wife, Colleen, and children, Bradley (aptly named) and Alyssa. He attends their sports and music activities in his spare time, and volunteers with many organizations in central Illinois.

My Favorite Quotes
Over the years, having attended countless meetings, seminars and presentations…my favorite quotes are missing authors, but nevertheless, are very meaningful.

  1. “The quickest way to stop a conversation, is to begin with: ‘Back when I was your age.’”
    I saw this at Agatucci’s restaurant years ago, when they posted a “thought for the day.”  I didn’t fully appreciate the accuracy of the statement until we had children…It’s hard not to say it, especially as an older parent having young children.
  2. “Life is a series of choices—choose wisely.” My children tire of hearing this one, but it does reinforce a system for decision-making, and helps to establish accountability.
  3. “Be a sponge, not a faucet.” Learning is often best accomplished by listening, observing, absorbing.  
  4. “If you think you can, or think you can’t…you are correct.”
    The power of thought or “self-talk” is manifested with that phrase—for positive or negative thinking.
  5. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”
    It’s hard to break a habit, or to form a new one, but in
    the end, this quote reinforces the outcome. iBi