Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monthly Report: International Communiques

First and foremost I would like to announce the birth of our second son. Thank you all for the supportive emails. I have been away from the blog for a few weeks due to heath complications of the mother and the child. Your kind words and prayers have been a source of additional strength.

Unlike the media doomsayers I still believe in this country and its currency. Thus I have a nice monetary stamp up here to keep the spirit alive. We'll make it through this silliness just like other challenges in the past. Don't bet against America.

The club has been making contact with international new outlets and other clubs to spread the word and discover what others are doing out there in their stamp world. I have been learning to appreciate the extensive expertise and passion of Indian collectors and their clubs. Very impressive sites, stamps and products. Plus it helps (me) they speak English. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I placed a few Indian stamp sites for others to explore and educate themselves.

We have also been putting together a proposal to support a few children's hospitals to assist very sick children with stamp collecting. One of the features is to include total kits that have vario pages, binders and credit card magnifiers. Children in these unfair circumstances need something positive to focus on. Perhaps something they can perform solitary in order to help them regain a sense of independence normally lost to chemo, medication, nursing and parades of people and programs also trying to lend a hand.

Welcome our friends from Canada. We are getting more inquires from that wonderful place high in the North. Always excited to hear from our international parents seeking to broaden their children's scope on education, history and world affairs. In so many instances parents worldwide often face the same issue: finding the best way to guide their children's past time in the most constructive manner. And many want to keep their children's minds out of the modern gutter of sex-laden and violent movies and video games. This hobby is one solution towards that end.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Promoting Public Health Through Postage Stamps

There's a long tradition of postal authorities using postage stamps to promote issues involving the public health. Stamps are also used to raise funds for disease-fighting entities such as "Easter Seals" or internationally "Various Charity Stamps." Recently China released "Earthquake Stamps" to raise money for the victims of the massive quake. And actually used the money to help the victims.

Ironically, there was actually resistance to placing "matters of private concern" on postage stamps. The feeling ran that it was exploitative of victims to express support of their condition. We now understand that publicity of such conditions, {Breast cancer, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, AIDs, etc} can dramatically assist sufferers by validating their experiences and rallying the medical community for treatments and cures.
There can be no higher social calling for stamps than promoting the public health in the United States and around the World. Though this is not confirmed I heard a story that suggested immunization shots were more acceptable in certain Third World countries after a stamp was released showing a child getting a shot. Maybe it's a stretch but the lowly stamp just might have saved thousands of lives around the globe.

Knocking down stigmas of terrible afflictions should truly be the province of the medical community but like anything today in the modern world you need exposure and quite frankly the news media prefer death and destruction over prevention and progress. I am personally proud to witness stamps being used in such a powerful and positive manner to help effect change in the community-at-large. I deeply disagree with the stamp purists (foreign and domestic) who rather stick monuments, military generals and exotic animals on every stamp ever printed. I have nothing against that and yet more can be done to allow stamps to become trusty vehicle and sharp instrument in the minds of those who need valuable information now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thoughts For Parents Of First-Time Stamp Collectors

Stamp collecting is a wonderful and creatively inspiring past time. It can also be a solitary. KNS (Kids Need Stamps) strives to bring parents together with children to make stamp collecting a shared joy; not another activity to shove them in the corner.

Consider the following thoughts:

1. Go the traditional route; buy some stamps (or get some here for free), buy a stockbook or buy a dedicated stamp album (US, World or a Single Country)

2. Collect Topicals: trains, planes, shells, animals, etc. and buy a stockbook

3. Buy some used stamps and create collages with other artwork, photos, letters, etc. (now this will ruin the stamps value but you will create something unique with its own value.

4. Buy some stamps (ones that mean something to you), mount them on a cardboard and place in small frames for hanging on the wall.

5. Dream up some other ideas but stay in the picture. There are times when we are the best parents when we are not on the sidelines. This is one of those times.

6. Seek advice if you are running out the ideas or don't have any to start. I will be happy to help and I am sure other folks on other sites will do the same.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Building Great Memories: Parent and Child

You probably heard the old adage, "be a parent to your child; not their friend. Otherwise it becomes very confusing when time for discipline." I know firsthand this statement is very true but like anything in one's life you cannot take it to the extreme. Too much parenting causes the child to shut off communication and turns your presence into a giant rule maker and not someone who listens or cares about their concerns--real or imagined. That's where stamp collecting comes into play.

As discussed previous in "fellowship" article, the parent/child relationship is strengthened in the area of trust when dealing with stamps. The child is allowed to learn from stamps by making their own decisions about what, how and where to collect. Each stamp session or lesson is another building block of fruitful memory the child carries the rest of their lives. Some of my finest memories of my father, may God rest his soul, revolve around stamp collecting. Our trips to New York stamp shows, the United Nations, pulling out the albums on unscheduled rainy days and just pouring hours into figuring out this and that about stamps and about each other. We were building great memories. My father was still my father but I felt deep down inside he figured out a way to be my friend for a few hours and that lightened the load for both of us considering our respective roles and responsibilities.

I think I got to be the grown-up by making decisions and my father got to be the kid again and sat back and enjoyed not having to direct every facet of every thing in the universe. I' m remembering what I learned then and applying it to my sons in the present day. I will never stop being a father since that role today is more critical than ever before but I will find ways to be his friend whenever possible and whenever it doesn't compromise my primary role. Stamp collecting is going to be another highly useful vehicle to communicate for all parties involved.

Another excellent stamp approach is to take the stamp collecting from the indoors of your home and bring it on the road. We went to museums (Navajo heritage), planetariums (space stamps), zoos (exotic animal stamps), stamp shows (United Nations), conventions (NYC), etc, etc. that spot-lighted the educational angle of stamps. These trips also built great memories that made stamp collecting an exciting adventure. It brought my father and I closer and suddenly made me realize how fortunate I was when other neighborhood kids complained how little they saw of their parents. Some of those kids went on to school problems, behavior problems and eventually legal problems. Neglect, in my opinion, is a form of abuse. Stay active, stay involved and your children will probably stay out of trouble. Stamps might just do the trick.