With changing habits and interests, we've been hearing a lot about how retail is moving toward being "experiential." This is also leading many brands to get creative in how they connect with families, and that means creating the experiences themselves. For the folks at Whirlpool Corporation, that meant a fresh approach to their World of Whirlpool in Chicago, now open to the public as a new consumer experience center. At the media preview this week, I had the opportunity to experience it first-hand, and my immediate thought is that this is exactly what companies need to be doing because it's going to allow the general public to learn in ways that have in many cases been limited to media or expensive courses. Whirlpool is going well beyond the typical appliance showroom by teaching "life hacks" and culinary literacy that will help people save time, save money, and most importantly - improve the time spent with family.
I think it was last year that I said it (being nearly six years into parenting, things blur together), but I’d referred to the mid-year months as our “first true summer break.” Thing is, it’s not really a “break” at all. Gone are the true three-month runs of warm weather adventure that my wife and I knew as children - the ones filled with days that seemed to last forever. My first “back-to-school” pitches were hitting my office before June 1st, and the reality of the matter is that with kindergarten ending in June and the kids back at it in August, the summer is a blip, and a busy one at that.
Funny thing happened when I looked at a school calendar on the fridge earlier this month while the whole family was gathered around the table for dinner… I realized that we have an official “Spring Break” now. While Spring Break has always been there, it’s a new thing for us since Addie is in kindergarten. This is the first year of “big girl school,” so it seemed like the concept just crept up on me with no real fanfare. Since I work from home and still have Little Finn here as well, I think we should celebrate by doing something… I’m just not sure what.
If you take even a passing glance at this site right now, you can see that Christmas is a big deal around here. Each year, around mid-November, I deck my virtual “halls” just as I deck the real ones here at home. As a big kid, the holidays have always been important to me as a magical time filled with sparkling lights, glistening snow and the festive sounds of the season. As parents, it's a chance for my wife and I to create lasting memories for our girls as we stake out new traditions while sprinkling as much of that “magic” into our little ones' lives as possible. Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference, and it's not always things that we, as grownups, make note of.
As parents, it's the little things that my wife and I do for our girls that will likely have the biggest impact on their lives – from shaping their opinions and habits, to helping guide them toward the right choices down the road. Reality is that we're winging it, just like everyone else – there is no road map for what we do, and each day brings its own set of struggles and triumphs. The constant is that we each play our own role in providing for the little ones. From my wife's long hours working outside the home to my weird schedule that often allows for minimal sleep, there's a yin to the yang that makes it all work. While the bigger whole may go unnoticed, it's the smallest parts that make the biggest differences.