Category Archives: Spontaneous Thoughts

Note From Aliya

Today I’m in London—actually in Eton—next door to the magnificent and spectacular Windsor Castle. Eton is the home of the very historic and very famous Eton College, which is a vibrant, progressive, and exceptional school even today. My very wonderful and gracious hosts here gave me a tour of the school yesterday, and it was truly an amazing, profound, and rather humbling experience. Eton was established in 1440 by King Henry the VI, a teenager, and today’s students are not only learning in the same classrooms, but sitting on the very same benches as the first students who were here in 1440! I actually saw Shelley’s name carved into a wall, along with the names of centuries of past students. How cool it is that the students can carve their names into the buildings to mark their passage throughout history! An incredible school and an amazing historic and beautiful town.

Today was a day full of new families and new children. As always, it’s wonderful meeting new kids and starting them along a road to hopefully a bright future. As I meet with new families, they all to some degree feel like they are stepping off a cliff, and they hope they are going to float up on a cloud into new and wonderful futures with their children and are not falling into a great black hole—scary! For the parents of our NACD kids, the journey is often difficult, and working day in and day out they are often trusting that their efforts are going to pay off and their children will progress. But the day to day task of doing program with children who would often rather not is difficult, and the faith can wear a little thin at times.

As I was finishing up my evaluations for the day and was taking a moment to reflect on the day’s new batch of parents and children, I received an email from one of our moms with an attached note that her daughter, Aliya, had written last night and taped to her mom’s bathroom mirror.

As her mom said, “If you had told me a few years ago that I would have received a note like this, I would never have believed it! To initiate this on her own is amazing! School days are so pleasant around here now! Just so thrilled!” At the end she asked if I had noticed all the exclamation points. I not only noticed them, I felt every one of them!

Aliya’s mom gave me permission to share her note. I trust it will bring some of you hope and bring a smile to your faces and perhaps even a little tear to your eye as it did mine.

– Bob

Hi there,

This is the note I found taped to my bathroom mirror last night. Aliya is thanking me for chores and is thankful for this family!! Yesterday she told me, “You know the day goes much better when I obey.” Feeling blessed today!!

Thanks to your work and support—I’m receiving these nuggets!

etonUK

Amy

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Yesterday I saw Amy, a bright and delightful six-year-old girl. While I was speaking to her mom, Amy walked over eating from a bag of Cheetos. I looked at Mom and softly said, “You know those aren’t good for her, right?” (I thought that Amy had been ignoring us, but I was wrong.)

Amy’s mouth drops open and wide-eyed she looks at her mom and says incredulously:

“Soooooo—why do you give these to me?”

Soooooo parents, why do you give such things to your kids?

Our children trust us. They trust us to take care of them and taking care of them includes making good choices and at times, hard choices. One of those choices is providing them with and teaching them about good nutrition. Amy’s assumption was that her mother wouldn’t give her anything harmful. Amy’s mom, a really super mom, certainly represents the majority of parents. Parents that often find it easier to give children what’s easy and convenient, what they like and to be truthful we like making our kids happy—but at what price?

Parenting isn’t easy.

You Said What? (Are you talking to yourself?)

We have all heard the phrase, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Saying what you mean is not always as easy as we would like to think, particularly when speaking to children, anyone with low auditory processing, or people with whom we have an emotional attachment. Communication, the foundation upon which we all interact, is obviously vital and very often seriously compromised.

Terin Izil, in her TedEd presentation, addresses the need to use words that simply communicate the intention. As Terin says, simpler words can often make it easier to say what you mean—so-that-it-is-understood. It doesn’t help a lot that you felt you had said what you meant, if what you said was misunderstood or just flew over someone’s head. Parents and teachers often feel that the more words they use, the more they are communicating and helping children understand what they mean. The opposite is generally the reality. Don’t overestimate other people’s processing ability, particularly your child’s. Keep it simple.

On the other hand, I watched the Republican Presidential Debates on CNN last night, and I think it would have been a really good idea to give potential presidents more than 30 or 60 seconds to explain how they would defend the country, build the economy, and turn the nation around. Some things do require more words; but as displayed last night, some understand the issues better than others and can articulate them better than others. If you really understand what you are saying, you can state your thoughts clearly, succinctly, and in plain language, but it still might take more than 60 seconds. We need more than good sound bites and catchy one-liners.

I will have more to say on this subject in an upcoming article.

“A Triumvirate of Diminutive Swine” aka “The Three Little Pigs”

I just received an email from my dear friend, author Joseph Pearce, which he had quite appropriately titled, “A Triumvirate of Diminutive Swine.” Joseph and I have had many conversations in which we discussed the relationship between processing ability, vocabulary, and classic literature. Joseph and I are both very strong advocates of classical literature, its relevance for gaining a broader perspective on the human condition, and as a vehicle for vocabulary development. Vocabulary enriches and expands the complexity of thought and thus helps grow working memory.

Joseph’s email contained this hilarious apropos link – enjoy!

A New Year

2015_calendarAs a holiday, I abhor New Years; but I always embrace the new year.

I’m not a New Year celebration guy. I don’t enjoy parties. I have no interest in watching the ball drop and will hopefully be sound asleep before it even happens.

But the new year is something else entirely. I have always looked forward to the new year as a chance for new beginnings and new chances. I don’t actually make resolutions, as much as I perceive the new year as yet another opportunity to do it all better.

Whether you are actually celebrating New Years or just hanging out at home, pause a moment, reflect, and realize that come January 1, we have yet another chance to do it all better, with renewed energy, hope, and effort.