Secret Adventures (if big brother thinks its cool, then it is!)

Little man,

As I loaded the dishwater the other night, I watched intently as the two of you gathered at the dining room table.  One would think that the two of you were

Big brother teaches little sister addition and subtraction.

Big brother teaches little sister addition and subtraction.

playing with the latest gadget, or building the coolest Lego spaceship.  Instead, what you two had in had were a pencil, a napkin, a keen curiosity, a desire to share, and a desire to learn.

Who says math can’t be cool? by Leslie Crawford

Little man, I have seen you go out of your way all the time to teach your sister.  As you can see, I had my old phone on hand and was able to capture this moment.  And yes, you two have turned our dining table into a table for arts and crafts and learning time, too.

I love math, I hope that love has passed on to you as well.  I love when you go out of your way to stump me with math equations you create.  (I win if I can solve them without the use of pencil and paper.)

If a child can learn to think math is fun, or for that matter, education is fun, what is their potential in life?  I was proud to see you working with her.  I see such great hope in you both.

–Dad

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Asleep on the couch…

So it came to pass early today, on a freezing, drizzly morning, that Google notified me that my journey to drop my daughter off at school on time was off to a 5 minute late start. We hurried out the door and made our way onto the highway that was jam-packed with autos all rushing as best they could.

Dad! Carter!…

Carter

Flashback: Carter, a cute, cuddly plush toy that somehow survived my 7 year old’s childhood and was immediately adopted by baby sister.  Carter’s fur is no longer quite as plush.  He, it, survived the teething of two children and for the most part is still as cute as he was when he/it first joined our household 7 years ago.

I admit, I hate running late.  I hate being misdirected.  I hate dealing with traffic (as such, I take great pains to ensure my time on the road is minimized to the necessary minutes required for delivery and drop-off and employment arrival).  So when I heard those words I knew right then and there what had happened.  I cringed.  Then in the milliseconds between my breaths I went through every scenario that I knew a frustrated dad could go and none of them ended pretty.  So instead, I looked her in the eyes through the rearview mirror and I said, “Let’s go get him!” with a sincere smile and adventurous voice.

At that moment I saw the relief in her eyes.  She knew that her daddy was not mad, we exited the highway and got back on via  a turnaround.  When I quizzed her about where Carter might be, she said “asleep on the couch”.  Pulling up into the garage I entered our home and retrieved our sleeping Carter to the joys and smiles of a contented little girl.  Arrival time at school 8:44 (14 minutes later than usual).  Arrival time at work 9:12 am, no rushing, no dashing on the highway, only the feeling of contentment knowing that my little girl had a wonderful start to her day and so did I.

Teacher with terminal brain tumor

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/living/2014/01/25/ac-pkg-foreman-teacher-with-terminal-brain-tumor.cnn.html

Death, as morbid of a subject as it can be is one the things in this life we can all count on. Whether by illness, accident, violence, our time in this world can be fleeting.

When we struggle with the loss of a close relative or friend, sometimes, introspectively, we look at our own life and challenge ourselves to determine if the decisions we have made are the right ones (well as least I do).

I look at my parents lives, yes they are still living, 50 plus years of marriage, still seeking to impact not only each other’s lives, but those of family and community.

With my previous post, and now this one, I thought I would seek to explore myself in a way which is slightly uncomfortable given my nature.

I write this as I ponder the fragility of this life. Last year we almost lost my older sibling to a massive heart attack. The shock of being asked by doctors if I am the one that can make end of life decisions was disconcerting. The answer was that I was not the one who could make the decisions. And, given the outcome, I don’t know if I would have made the right one.

My one question that I raised to my sibling over the Christmas holiday was simple. “Why do you think you are still here?”

You have to understand that my question comes from the realization that it was a miracle that allowed him to recover. The doctors told me at the hospital that he was down with no oxygen for 30 minutes, that they did not yet know the severity of the brain damage. Yet here he was sitting across from me with no obvious sign of previous health issue with the exception of the scar running down his sternum.

I wonder if that life event has changed me. Has it let me savor these moments with my children more? Has it allowed me to hold onto that feeling of warmth those many moments after I have hugged my wife?

I sit here typing this as I listen to my son in the distance with his Spanish tutor and I wonder what memories we will make this day?

How time flies…

So as I gaze at this blog, I am surprised to see that so much time has passed by. I suppose I should explain.

Beginning June of 2013, we as a family decided to get rid of the cable television connection at our home. I have to admit that the decision was extremely painful for someone like myself who intentionally sought out news, cooking shows, and HGTV.

Our kids being 6 and 2 didn’t have much of an opinion but the older one did express concern about losing his Nick Jr. shows. It was then that I realized just how much, though unintentionally, we used the television to pacify them; to buy ourselves quiet moments of reprieve.

I found myself that next day, after pulling the plug, on the floor coloring lines across paper at the direction of our youngest while our older worked intently with glue, Popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners. Dinner time was different as well. It was quieter…attention was focused on each other instead of the entertainment on the screen.

We started reading more. The bicycles in the garage started getting used. And best of all, when the holiday season rolled around and I asked the older what he wanted for Christmas, he had no answer! Which meant that whatever he received was going to be a wonderful surprise. And it was.

Stemming the Tide of English-Learner Dropouts

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2013/03/stemming_the_tide_of_english-l.html

English-language learners are two times more likely to drop out of school than their peers who are either native English speakers or former ELLs who have become fluent in the language—a trend that, if unabated, will have far-reaching negative consequences, says a new report.

STRATEGIES FOR INCREASING PROTECTIVE FACTORS AMONG YOUTH

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/adolescenthealth/pdf/connectedness.pdf

Families, schools, and communities all need to work together to create an environment that facilitates healthy development of children and adolescents.