In this world there are few times where you can have your cake and eat it too. Is there a way you could give your employees a bonus that you get to deduct and they don’t have to claim as income? The answer to that is almost always “no” but this year, there might be a way.
COVID-19 and the president’s earlier declaration of a federal disaster for the states and territories of the United States of America invoked Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code and the ability of an employer to make qualified disaster relief payments. Under the code, an employer can make relief payments to their employees that are both deductible to the employer and non-taxable to the employee. Most commonly, we see these declarations and payments made during the time of natural disasters, but the pandemic by way of the President’s declaration also qualifies.
Granted, an employer just can’t write a bonus check and call it a relief payment. The employer must do some due diligence about what qualifies as a qualified employer provided relief payment in order to provide tax-free funds to impacted employees. These relief payments do not have to be the same for each employee (but may be) nor do they have to be given to every employee. In other words, the employer has the discretion to help an employee that has been impacted more by the disaster than another by giving more to that employee.
A qualified disaster relief payment is for the following purposes:
A key here is that the payments made are reasonable in nature and for necessary expenses. They also cannot be for something that has already been accounted for by insurance or other means. (For example, if your health insurance plan covered testing of your employees, you couldn’t include the cost of the testing in your relief payment.)
The payments do not have to have significant documentation. In addition, proof of these expenses does not have to be provided by the employee.
Personally, I have seen money spent on protective gear, cleaning supplies and sanitizers as a result of the pandemic that I would not have normally spent. I have seen my home utilities increase as work and school from home happened. I have seen family members need to be tested and quarantine while awaiting results from possible exposure or symptoms and miss work. I have seen counseling visits and other therapy to help with the stress and anxiety that have come from the pandemic. All of these costs would not have been incurred absent the pandemic.
It is my belief that as long as the amounts are reasonable and for necessary expenses related to the pandemic and the purpose of the payment is documented, an employer can make pandemic related qualified relief payments to their employees for these and perhaps other expenses.
While not technically a bonus, providing a qualified relief payment to employees at this time of year provides a great tax deduction to the employer and tax-free money to impacted employees.
The Year in Review
It has been a busy year for Federal Income Taxation. In response to the pandemic, President Trump declared a nationwide emergency which allows states and territories to receive federal aid without needing to make individual requests. It also means certain losses under the disaster can be deducted in the prior year and certain assistance received is not taxable.
Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and created certain credits for certain employers (50-500 employees, less than 50 employees – participation is not mandatory) including emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave.
Congress then passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) which included aid to individuals and provisions to assist businesses. A key component of this act was the Payroll Protection Program Loan. This was a low interest rate loan that had the potential of forgiveness if spent on certain expenses including payroll. Congress had intended these loans to be non-taxable but failed to incorporate the proper language in the bill and the IRS is currently deeming any expenses paid for with a forgiven loan amount as non-deductible, essentially making the forgiven loan taxable. We hope that Congress corrects the language before adjourning for the year.
The CARES Act also provided individual stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per person, ($2,400 for a married couple and $500 for each qualifying dependent subject to income limitations). The amount paid is actually an advance payment of a 2020 tax return credit. As it was based on 2018 or 2019 income, there will be a true-up on your 2020 tax return. If you are entitled to a higher amount than received, you may get it as part of a refund or credit on your 2020 return. If you were overpaid based on your 2020 income, you will not owe the government.
Under the CARES Act, required minimum distributions from retirement plans were waived in 2020 allowing an individual to leave funds in the plan and keep 2020 income lower. The Act also allowed for certain loans from plans, temporary removal of early distribution penalties, and income staggering for Coronavirus-related distributions.
Net Business Loss limitations were also suspended for 2018, 2019 and 2020. This would allow claims for refunds where the business loss may have been limited. The limitation returns in 2021.
The CARES Act also created a $300 above the line charitable deduction for individuals who do not itemize. It also removed the 60% AGI limitation for 2020 and individuals can deduct up to 100% of their income (AGI) from made charitable contributions in 2020.
Several payroll related credits were also created for businesses including the Employee Retention Credit (for those who did not receive PPP loans) and Deferral of Employer Component of Payroll Taxes. Other business tax related items included in the Act are Corporate AMT Credit Refund, NOL Carryback extension, Bonus Depreciation, Business Interest Expense limitation adjustments and a temporary increase to the corporate charitable deduction.
2020 Tax Planning
As long term capital gains are taxed favorably compared to short term capital gains, you should consider holding capital assets for at least 12 months and a day to take advantage of the favorable rates (0%, 15% or 20% depending on income level). You may also consider gifting appreciated stock to charity or relatives in lower tax brackets who may pay less or no tax when the shares are sold. You may also want to harvest unrealized losses in your portfolio to offset current year gains.
Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT)
A 3.8% tax is assessed on net investment income (interest, dividends, capital gains, rental income and passive activities) if income is more than $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for married couples. The impact of this tax can be lessened by using installment sales to spread income over many years thus potentially keeping your income below the threshold. You may also harvest unrealized loss positions in your portfolio to lower harvested gains. You may also consider investing in tax-exempt income as it is not subject to the NIIT.
Small Business Owners
As a business owner you have additional tools to assist in minimizing your tax bill.
If you file using the cash basis method on your taxes, you may consider deferring billing and collections until year-end thus pushing the receipt into 2021. If you file under the accrual method, you can delay shipping products or delivering service.
You may also accelerate your expenses by paying for business expenses by year-end. Remember that credit card charges are deductible in the year made rather than paid.
You may consider hiring your child. Having your child work in the family business allows them to pay tax on their wages at their tax rate and if they are under age 17, their wages are exempt from social security, Medicare and federal unemployment taxes. They should be paid through payroll, given a W-2 and be paid reasonably for the age and skills of the child. They can make up to $12,000 a year before they will pay income tax and $18,000 a year if they make an IRA contribution (maximum is $6,000).
If you have a home office that is used primarily for business activities, you may be able to take the home office deduction as a self-employed individual. Owners of S-Corporations, Partners or Multi-Member LLCs can be reimbursed for necessary home office deductions under an accountable plan and the business may take the deduction. You may also choose to reimburse these costs of your employees if they were working from home during the pandemic.
You may also consider acquiring assets you need for the business. It never makes sense to buy an asset solely to get a tax deduction but if you need it for your business, it is better bought in December than January. With Section 179 and bonus depreciation rules, you may be able to deduct the entire purchase in the current tax year.
If you itemize your deductions, you can deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Medical expenses that qualify are health insurance premiums (not deducted elsewhere), long term care insurance premiums, medical and dental services, prescription drugs, mental health services and prescribed medical equipment. As such, you may consider bunching elective medical procedures into 2020 if it will help you exceed the 7.5% limitation. The threshold will likely be increased to 10% in 2021.
With the additional $300 charitable deduction for those who do not itemize and increased limitations for those do, 2020 is a great year to donate to charity. Consider making your annual giving for next year in this year. Donate appreciated stock and avoid paying the capital gains tax and get a fair market value deduction for stocks held more than one year. You can also do the inverse and sell depreciated stock, harvest the loss and donated the cash proceeds to charity. This allows you to keep the loss and help the charity. (Remember the $3,000 per year capital loss deduction limitation.)
You may also max out your retirement contributions to lower your tax bill, whether it is your 401k or IRA. Remember contributions to ROTH accounts are not deductible but still a good savings vehicle.
Spending and Savings Account Contributions
If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you may contribute up to $2,750 and have it excluded from income. While generally these funds are “use it or lose it”, your employer may allow you to carryover $500.
If you qualify to make contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA), you may contribute up to $3,550 as a single individual or $7,100 for family coverage. If you are 55 or older you may make an additional $1,000 contribution ($2,000 for a married couple both 55 or over).
Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD)
If you have reached 70 ½, you can donate up to $100,000 per year from a IRA account directly to a qualified charity. The donation meets the minimum distribution requirement but is also excluded from your income. (Keep in mind that you cannot take a charitable deduction for this distribution. For 2020, you do not have a minimum distribution requirement.)
You can make up to $15,000 of tax-free gifts to individuals. Gifts over that amount in a calendar year are subject to gift tax. Married couples can elect to split gifts and therefore give up to $30,000 to an individual in 2020.
With the economic troubles caused by the pandemic, many individuals lost their jobs and were able to receive unemployment benefits including additional federal funds. While a lifesaver while unemployed, you should be aware that unemployment benefits are taxable and should be reported on your income tax return. You should plan for the tax hit if you have not already.
States have also made tax changes as a result of the pandemic including income sourcing, nexus and residency rules.
We are bound to see new tax changes as Congress looks to add stimulus and we start a new administration with a new tax policy. As Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”
From what we can tell, when lawmakers originally passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), they thought that under its provisions, two things would be true; you did not pay taxes on the forgiveness amount, and you also could deduct the expenses that you paid with the PPP money.
In late April, the IRS issued Notice 2020-32, which asserts that PPP loan recipients may not deduct business expenses paid using the PPP monies that gave rise to forgiveness (defined payroll, rent, utilities, and interest). This was contrary to the intent Congress thought they had provided.
In response the the IRS Notice, in a May 5, 2020, letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Senator Chuck Grassley (chairman of the Committee on Finance), Senator Ron Wyden (ranking member on the Committee on Finance), and Congressman Richard E. Neal (chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means) jointly stated that the IRS got this wrong and that the intent of the CARES Act was for the PPP to be a tax-free grant.
The letter seems to make sense. You can read it here.
The IRS was unmoved by the lawmakers’ letter. The IRS position was clear: no deduction for the expenses paid with the PPP money. The IRS understood that perhaps lawmakers didn’t mean that to happen, but in the eyes of the IRS, the way that the lawmakers enacted the law created the problem. To fix it, lawmakers simply need to pass a new law.
We thought that lawmakers would pass a new law and take care of this problem. But that has not yet happened.
To once again firm up their position, on November 18, 2020, the IRS drove two new nails into the coffin regarding deductions for PPP monies that were forgiven and spent on payroll, rent, interest, or utilities.
With the rulings described above, the IRS has clarified its position and clearly stated to lawmakers: if you don’t like the non-deductibility of expenses paid with PPP monies, change the law.
We accountants thought we might be able to delay the non-deductibility by taking the expenses in 2020 and then recapturing the non-deductible expenses in 2021 when PPP Loan forgiveness was granted (paying taxes later is better than paying taxes now) but the IRS in these notices state that the expenses paid with PPP Loan funds are not deductible IF they are expected to be forgiven, regardless of when they are forgiven.
We are stuck unless Congress acts and soon.
So what can we do? Join with hundreds of thousands of business taxpayers and tax professionals who are urging lawmakers to fix the non-deductibility issue.
To help encourage the action you desire (whether you’re for or against deductibility), get in touch with your state’s lawmakers.
You don’t need to be big and formal about your yea or nay. You can fax, email, or phone and simply say you support or oppose the bill. It’s that easy—and it’s effective. Do it.
If you would like to discuss the effect non-deductibility has on your taxes, please call or email me.
As I sit down to write my thoughts, I am drawn to the power of gratitude. Perhaps it is that Thanksgiving is near or just that my heart is full of gratitude for the people and things that have made a difference in my life.
At the end of last week, I watched a short video by Russell M. Nelson about the power of gratitude. One line in the video caught my particular attention. He said, “I have concluded that counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems.” While our world and lives have many problems, we all have many more blessings. (To watch the video (1) President Russell M. Nelson on the Healing Power of Gratitude - YouTube). Focusing on our blessings provides a healing balm for all of our worries.
This year Thanksgiving will be spent with my wonderful wife and children. No travel. No in-person visits with other family members. No get-togethers. No turkey (the boys wanted gourmet pizza instead).
I am extremely grateful for wonderful parents and grandparents who helped point me in the right direction and provided great examples of hard work, sacrifice, obedience and love.
I am grateful for where I grew up. My childhood neighborhood was and is filled with great people who looked out for each other, loved one another and found ways to help each other.
I am grateful for my teachers who encouraged learning and unlocked imagination and creativity. As well as professors who pointed me to areas I could excel.
I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who has blessed me with talents and abilities and provided a way to return to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
I am grateful for a wife who loves me unconditionally and is far better than I deserve. She makes want to be and to be a better person.
I am grateful for my children. Their agency can make life challenging at times but with the sorrow, they also bring joy and I love them.
I am grateful for my business and wonderful clients who let me share my talents and insight with them. I am truly grateful for them.
I am grateful for friends and community. While my closest friends are many miles away, I am grateful to have them in my life and for the part they play.
I am grateful for my country and the freedoms I enjoy.
I am grateful for my ancestors – from those who were at the first Thanksgiving to those who later left the countries they loved to find a place where they could gather.
The list goes on and on.
The past few days have had some real challenges in them for me. Practicing gratitude, even in this simple writing, has made me feel better. Gratitude really does have the power to heal.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
As I have read about the Westward migration and settlement of the American West this year, I am in reverence for those who persisted in braving the elements, starvation, loss of loved ones and still put one bare frostbitten foot in front of the other; persisting to their goal. They are incredible examples of persistence and determination.
We have seen, through a simple study of history, the benefits of those who persist - from the founding fathers and mothers of this country to inventors of the modern conveniences we take for granted. Behind each of them is a story of persistence, passion, and determination. The survival of entire species depends on persistence – think of the great animal migrations, from salmon, whale, bird, caribou, and others. The survival of our human species also depends upon it.
Newt Gingrich once said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” There has been a lot of hard work this year as individuals worked to provide for their families and keep them safe. There has been a lot of hard work as business owners to stay in business, support their customers and employees and keep them safe. There will be more work to do.
Those who find themselves successful on the other side of this pandemic will be those that kept moving forward putting one foot in front of the other, thinking of new ways to do things and doing the hard work to pivot, adjust and grow.
I am generally under the mindset that if you couldn’t pay cash for it, you shouldn’t buy it. This means I advise against debt if it can be avoided. There may be times when debt can’t be avoided and you need to get a loan. At these times, it is helpful to know what your banker or lender is looking for. Getting along with your banker often means getting a loan from your banker.
In your personal life, you may need to borrow to buy a reasonable house or a reasonable car. Some may also need to borrow to complete an education or training (in my opinion this should only be done if you are able to pay off the debt within three years from program completion). Day-to-day expenses should never be financed with debt. Debt should never be used to purchase anything that will be gone shortly thereafter.
In your business life, you may need to borrow to buy a building or a piece of equipment. At these times you will have to determine if a lease (or rent) (a form of debt without taking ownership) or a loan (debt secured by ownership) makes the best sense. Sometimes a rental agreement with a purchase option is best, giving you time to determine if you really need to own it long term and if it will be able to pay for itself.
Your lender will look for five things to determine whether or not they will grant you a loan. Whenever a lender gives you a loan, they are only doing so because they believe that you are more likely than not to pay it back and/or their loss exposure is small compared to the potential gain. These are the five C’s of determining if you are fundable or unfundable.
The first is Character. A good banker will take the time to get to know you to help determine whether or not you are the type of person who is honest, keeps promises and is deserving of a loan. They will also check your background and financial position. Some bigger lending organizations will only do this impersonally through background checks and reporting agencies and not get to know you.
If you don’t have a relationship with your banker, it is time to start one. Reach out to the bank or branch manager and introduce yourself. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Discuss your accounts with them and ask for advice. The better they know you personally, the more likely they will be willing to stand up for your character.
The second is Credit. A good banker will run your personal and business credit reports. They will consider your experience in the industry and your dealings with lenders in the past. They will look to see how much other debt you have and if you are servicing it properly.
The third is Cash Flow or Capacity to repay. The banker will want to determine that your business (or you personally) will have the cash flow to service the debt. They will want to see a track record of profits and good management of resources. It would be a good to identify and plug cash flow leaks before you apply for a loan.
The fourth is Collateral. The lender wants you to have skin in the game should you fail to service the loan. If your business fails, they don’t want to be the only one to suffer the failure. They will ask to secure the loan with business assets and personal assets. While you may have equity in your business, generally equity can’t be turned into cash unless you sell your business so most don’t consider equity as an asset. The lender will look at your capital assets and the value if they are sold as well as your cash and working capital positions. If you have collateral risk, the lender believes you are more likely to work through hard times to keep the business going.
The fifth is your CPA. Your CPA, believe it or not, can help tip the scales in your favor when applying for a loan. Going over your financials regularly with your CPA and at tax time shows that you care about your business and how it is doing. Knowing that you regularly have these meetings give the lender some comfort that you take your business seriously and are watching over how it is doing. Your CPA, if hired to do so, will help you improve your cash flow as well.
Getting a loan is not always easy, nor is it always necessary. Being prepared should you need one by keeping in mind the five C’s will help you get a loan if the need arises.
Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”
As a young man I participated in the Boy Scouts and would weekly raise my arm to the square making the Scout sign and recite the Scout Oath and Law. I have tried to pattern my life after the precepts in those promises as I truly believe they turn boys to men and men into better men. “A Scout is…Kind…”
Throughout this pandemic, our anxieties have risen and uncertainty has caused stress in our lives. We have seen issues of racial inequity and inequality trigger riots and unrest. A contentious election season has added to the conflict we each experience. Many have become sick, many have died, many have lost their jobs and had their lives impacted by quarantine, schooling and working from home. There is much we can mourn. There is much we could become angry about. Who isn’t stressed, anxious or feeling out of normal?
It is in these times we must dig into our toolkits and find the tool that will help us through all we are experiencing. The simple tool of Kindness may be the right one.
This is not just kindness in words and gestures. It must be sincere. We must be kind because it is our nature and in each and every interaction we have with others it must be shown. It must be coupled with compassion. You can be kind and compassionate and strong at the same time. It will be contagious as well.
Boris Groysberg and Susan Seligson in a recent article for the Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge publication gave some effective ways to show kindness. They share the following phrases we can use to practice kindness:
“I hear you.” Really listen. Be fully present and don’t judge. Encourage…questions and concerns. Listen actively…”
“Are you okay?” Show a willingness to provide comfort and monitor for signs of distress such as social withdrawal and poor performance. Know when to refer…to professionals.”
“What can we do to help?” It may be as simple as validating…personal challenges…But being kind might also involve taking an active role…”
“How are you managing these days?”…be sensitive to the issues of exhaustion and the difficulty of working…unorthodox hours…”
“I’m here for you.” Let [others] know routinely that you are there for them when they need to share concerns or simply require a sympathetic, nonjudgmental ear.”
“I know you’re doing the best you can.” This statement is, with few exceptions, true.”
“Thank you.” Say it with sincerity and say it often.”
Philo of Alexandria said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Woody Allen once said, “More than any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
As I hesitantly filled in the last remaining bubble on my ballot this morning, the one that has been vacant while the others have been completed for several days, I felt the weight of the crossroads Woody Allen spoke of. I wasn’t thrilled with my choices. For a long time now, it seems that we vote more against someone or something rather than for someone or something.
I would consider myself an informed voter. I have spent hours learning about the issues and candidate’s positions and revised positions. I have watched debates, read commentary and opinion, and still was undecided. I have listened to friends and neighbors express their thoughts. I agreed with some and disagreed with others. In the end, I found myself agreeing with some positions of the candidates and disagreeing with some positions of the candidates. In my mind, there was no clear favorite. I could support some of what each would do and complain about the rest.
I am reminded of a story of a parent whose teenagers wanted to go to something that would mostly be good but have some inappropriate things there. The parent made a batch of brownies with the normal recipe but added just a little bit of a secret ingredient. The teens began eating, loving the brownies until the parent told the teens that the secret ingredient was just a little bit of dog poo. Just a little bit can spoil the batch. There are great things and good things about the policies and visions of each candidate but there also seems to be something that doesn’t “taste” right in their recipes that leaves me not wanting to “eat” any of it.
In the end, I ignored the candidates all together and looked solely at the platform and policies they propose in hopes that they will actually do what they say they will and voted for those ideals overall that I think will be best for our community, my family and me.
As I dropped my ballot into the mailbox, I said a little prayer for our country, state and communities.
I heard from many sides that a vote for so and so will take our country to hell. I wrote in my journal when I was in college, “The problem with a one-way ticket to hell is that you can’t turn around until you get there. With a ticket to hell that has a lot of stops, you travel slower and can turn around before you arrive. Unfortunately, not many of the frequent stop tickets are sold.” Our country has a ticket with frequent stops. Each election gives us the opportunity to assess where we are, where we are headed and change direction if we don’t like where we are going. Regardless of the outcome of this election, we will adjust and hopefully correct our destination together.
In our lives we are often presented with problems that require a solution or set of solutions. Sometimes the solution is clear and at other times, it is not. When it is not, what are we to do?
Scott Adams, the Dilbert comic strip creator, once wrote in an article for the Wall Street Journal (Weekend Edition 1/29-30/2011) an idea that has stuck with me in part due to its absurdness but also because it works. He said:
“I spent some time working in the television industry, and I learned a technique that writers use. It’s called ‘the bad version.’ When you feel that a plot solution exists, but you can’t yet imagine it, you describe instead a bad version that has no purpose other than stimulating the other writers to imagine a better version.
For example, if your character is stuck on an island, the bad version of his escape might involve monkeys crafting a helicopter out of palm fronds and coconuts. That story idea is obviously bad, but it might stimulate you to think in terms of other engineering solutions, or other monkey-related solutions. The first step in thinking of an idea that will work is to stop fixating on ideas that won’t. The bad version of an idea moves your mind to a new vantage point.”
Getting past the ideas we know won’t work will allow us to think of solutions that will.
I have often wondered what ideas or solutions would be generated for a big problem we haven’t seemed to solve if presented to a kindergarten class. Their brains haven’t yet learned all that we consider impossible. While some of their ideas would obviously be impossible, some of them may have only been deemed impossible and could spur new thoughts and solutions.
As we examine the bad version solution to solving our problems, we are able to move forward and focus on what will work.
“Are we there yet?” seems to be the question we have all been asking after the unusual and crazy times we have been living through. We have had pandemics, economic downturns, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, windstorms, and an election season and we are still in September. We all want to get past this stuff and “arrive” to something better. Rather than just survive, we want to thrive again.
Humankind has always sought to thrive rather than just survive. A few hundred years ago we were relying on muscles to farm and feed ourselves. This was the agricultural age where our own strength and stamina determined if we ate that day. The quest to thrive led to the invention of machines – the steam engine, the cotton gin, tractors, combustion engine, electric turbine, etc. Each of these machines allowed us to do more than our muscles would allow. We moved from the agricultural era to the industrial era.
For over a century, the industrial era allowed people to do more with the aid of machines. Wealth began to grow. We still rely heavily on those machines today but we weren’t satisfied. We wanted to thrive again having become accustomed to the level of comfort we had attained.
We then began to use our minds more and that coupled with machines and computing, we entered the information age. Our economy began to shift from industrial reliance to becoming knowledge workers. While there are still labor intensive jobs and machine intensive jobs, more and more of job growth and creation came from using our minds and using information to make money. Most of America works as knowledge workers now. As a result, we produce less and import more. Our level of comfort and thriving grew and we are looking for the next level of being able to thrive.
From a reliance on muscles to machines to minds, we have thrived. From the agricultural age to industrial age to the information age, we have thrived. What is next in our quest to thrive?
Tim Elmore, an author and speaker, believes the next level of thriving will be the intelligence age and that it will be perhaps the most difficult for people to adapt to. He defines intelligence as the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and to act accordingly. To continue to thrive, we are going to have to develop some intelligence.
Intelligence requires thought. Which of these decisions is right and which is wrong? It is not just a moral question of right and wrong but it is the ability to think, weigh choices and make good decisions or in other words - critical thinking. Creative processing, analytic thought and writing, emotional intelligence and problem solving are all part of intelligence.
My favorite class in elementary school was my time in the extended learning program. We were given the opportunity to think and make decisions. We were encouraged to be creative. We were given problems and some resources and asked to solve the problem. We were encouraged to dream and decide between solutions and choices based on thinking about the positive and negative consequences and weighing them. In hindsight, many of the skills I learned and developed in that program I use every day in my career and life.
As my older children are beginning the process of moving into adulthood, I can only hope that we as parents have taught them to think. We hope that they have developed enough intelligence to not only survive these trying times but to thrive in them.
We are not stuck where we are at. We each can learn to think and develop our intelligence. We can learn resilience, integrity, problem-solving, discipline, communication, responsibility, accountability and commitment. These skills and the intelligence they provide will empower us to progress and thrive in uncertain futures.
This blog allows you to experience the raw, gut wrenching drama of human conflict through accounting in each of its three stages: preparing to do battle, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.