Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Alex's Love Of Teaching - Creation Of Instructional Papers


Song:  Try To Keep Up

Artist:  Elijah Bossenbroek




Alex receiving his at home ABA therapy when he was 5 yrs. old.
He was in Kindergarten at the time of these first three pictures.





After getting home from school...
Alex had ABA therapy in our upstairs classroom we had set up at home.

Alex's teachers often communicated among one another
using ABA technical language in front of Alex...
as they had to coordinate their lesson plans as they worked together or when they
had to brief each other at shift change.

Alex, like almost all children, was very observant...to that which interested him.
He used to listen to what was said and he would look at the teacher's manuals 
and notebooks when he could.  

He always wanted to know what they had written about him. 

 Even now, he loves to keep track of his latest test scores and grades...
during the school year...and on a daily basis...online.

One of Alex's favorite things to do was, and is, to write instructional papers 
on his interests. 



Alex had written this instructional paper when he was 5 yrs. old (as if he were a teacher)
on one of his ABA tasks that he was learning at the time.

He would usually do this during his free time after his teachers had gone home...
and before dinner time.  He would just love to write about his interests in an 
instructional manner.  He has a natural inclination towards teaching.

As he was still in Kindergarten...his punctuation and vocabulary was a little off. 
 He made a mistake using the word "unusually"...
when he had meant "sometimes".  

Although his punctuation, in general, was good...
he had forgotten to close the parentheses and the sentence behind the final parentheses
(one period instead of two periods).

It was especially funny because he used the same terminology on his paper 
as he had heard his teachers use during his ABA therapy.

--------------

Just recently...
my wife was looking through one of Alex's free writing note books...
and had found that he had written his own SAT practice test.

Alex had made up his own questions and had provided the options to choose from...
just as in a real SAT.






Alex has always been a great source of pride...
as well as amusement.

The things he sometimes does is just so him.

This is what makes him so pure hearted.
He does things with a sincere heart...
that which is true to him.

He knows that when you aren't phony...
you have no fear of being "exposed"...
and so...you have no fear of being yourself.

When you have no fear of being yourself...
you may live true to yourself.

Although Alex is still young and inexperienced in life...
I am confident...because he is a keen observer in life...
that he will come to see that pure hearts attract pure hearts.

People naturally see a reflection of themselves in the people they choose to be around.


Alex doesn't try to impress people with a facade.
He knows that phony people are impressed with facades...
and that genuine people see genuine actions...
and highly value them.

He also knows that to have but a few genuine people in his life...
is by far, the greater way of living...
rather than having many shallow... insincere people in his circle.

How do I know he knows this?

Because it makes sense mathematically.

He knows that there are only so many free hours in a day...
and that time would have to be split among the number of friends one has.
The greater the number...the shallower the friendships must be.

He also knows that while the quantity of quality matters...
if one must sacrifice one or the other...
quality must always reign supreme.

Just as in a test...
it is not in how many questions you answer...
but in how many you get correct.

So...
what do I see in Alex's propensity to teach?

It is a pure and giving heart that wishes to give of itself to others.

This is what makes me most happy about his many instructional papers.
It is not because of his advanced thinking processes.
It is not so much the correctness of his instructional papers.
It is in the reflection of his pure heart that lies behind his drive to produce
his instructional papers that makes me so happy.

A pure heart knows the true depth of happiness in life...
and that...most of all... is what I want for my son... Alex.



Monday, July 30, 2012

Zen Moments - III




Song:  Sacred Journey II

Artist:  Kitaro



The third of many future articles on Zen Moments.

My reasoning in including these quotes is to expose my readers
 to thoughts which can fundamentally change a way of looking at the world...
and so, to possibly improve future actions.

By improving yourself...
you dramatically change the future of your children.

It shall be you who are to be their greatest teachers.



As these are not meant to be cliches...
 sayings to blindly follow...
I include my rationale as to why I think each is valuable.


As these were gotten off of a Twitter page...


I cannot vouch as to the original source.

I shall be quoting directly from the provided quotes and sources.

-------------------


To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all.   - Oscar Wilde


The main difference between truly living and merely existing, in my mind...
is passion.

Passion is derived from...
having the optimism to dream of great deeds...
and having the intelligence to see a plausible route to your dream.

Drive is a natural manifestation of passion.
Through it, you naturally develop the perseverance to pursue that dream...
to never give up.

By never giving up...by relentlessly pursuing the dream...
you develop a degree of skill that is extraordinary.

You end up doing something which you love doing.
Because you love doing it...you do it more often.
Because you do it more often...you get better at it.
Because you get constantly get better at it...you eventually excel.
Once you start excelling...you may get creative.
When you may become creative...you are expressing your soul.
That is when what you are doing becomes true art.

To be able to do what you love doing most...
to be able to express yourself through it...
to be able to make a living at it...while living your dreams...
to be able to teach that which you have a passion for...
thereby improving others' lives while improving yours...
THAT is truly living.

---------------------


Live as you will have wished to have lived when you are dying.   - Christian Gellert


I say that all should look into the future...
to imagine a whole scenario where you are just hours from death...
and to see yourself as happy as you remember all you had done in life...
to die without regret...to have lived a life so full as to leave you sated...
then model your life so as to achieve that which had made you happy
 at the moment near death.

We have all had our moments of extreme happiness...
of great achievements and of great pride...
those moments of pure magic that had changed our lives.

We, in the industrialized nations of the world, really have no excuse
as to why we cannot pursue our dreams...
at least for a couple of hours each day.

Those couple of hours can make the difference between ultimate happiness in your life...
and having had wasted your one and only shot at life.


---------------------


He who fears not the future...may enjoy the present.   - Thomas Fuller



As I had explained in my last article...
by living a life which is planned for happiness in the long term...
by living for tomorrow through deferred gratification...
it will pay never ending dividends as you reach the payoff points in your life.

By thinking long term...planning a plausible route...and following it to fruition...
your future is secure.

With a secure future...
you have peace of mind.

With peace of mind...
you have no fear...
and so, you are free to truly enjoy the present.


-----------------------



Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear
and obstacles vanish.   - John Quincy Adams



When you plan for the long term...
you have a goal, and many objectives along the way.
With a clear route to follow...patience comes naturally.
You know what to expect and about how long it will take.

People often give up because they lose sight of the goal...or the path to reach it.

With the goal and the immediate objectives always in sight...
you never lose hope.

So long as their is hope...
there is action.

With a worthy goal in sight...
you will have passion.

With true passion...you will develop a never ending drive to achieve the goal.

The natural manifestation of drive is perseverance.
You will love each step you make towards your goal...
you will put up with any amount of discomfort to achieve it.
You will know in your heart that only time separates you from your goal...
that the achievement of it is a forgone conclusion.

That is perseverance.

The key is to never lose sight of the goal.


----------------------


My wife often accuses me of being an optimist.

With the optimism to look forward at possibilities...
with the knowledge that by traveling to the edge of the horizon...
a new horizon presents itself...
and with the knowledge that through efficient and effective plans
coupled with perseverance...
former dreams become the new reality...
I say I am...
 in fact...
a realist.



Saturday, July 28, 2012

High Country Adventure For Alex - III


Song:  Gift Of Life

Artist:  Thomas Bergersen





The next morning we went to Mammoth Mountain
to ride a gondola to the peak for lunch and a 360 degree view 
of pure enchantment.



On our way up from the base.


This is the halfway point.  
The small reservoir is for their snowmaking in winter.




This cafe at the top of Mammoth Mountain is billed as California's highest
public cafe...elevation at approximately 11,003 ft. (just 50 ft below the actual summit).




Alex patiently awaiting his lunch while using his iPad.



The views from the cafe were stunning.


Mountain bikers on their way down the mountain.





No...I don't have a pot belly.

I don't breathe from the chest...
I breathe diaphragmatically (true).

This picture caught me in mid breath (partially true :)















The top of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 ft.
The information brochure says the farthest visible features
that one can see from atop this point is 400 miles away.

There was a beautiful stiff breeze blowing.
The temperature was in the 50s...perfect weather.

I LOVE high country...
10,000 - 15,000 ft is my favorite elevation.
I wish I could live in this range of elevation forever.
The air feels so good on the skin...
and my mind feels so free at this altitude.

The beating of the buffeting winds set to mind
a beautiful symphony orchestra playing heavenly music to the awe-inspiring views
(the song for this article had played non-stop in my mind 
while I stood entranced by the entirety of the ambiance.
Everything seemed so perfect...the temperature...the wind...
the sights...the taste and feel of the air and of the colors).

As Mammoth Mountain is just 30 minutes, or so, from Tioga Pass...
it is a MUST see.  It is so, very much, worth the trip here. 
 I know the winter views must be even more spectacular.

Alex had really enjoyed himself here.
It is the highest point of land elevation he has, as of yet, experienced.



We are headed back to the gondolas for our return journey.


One of the hotels at the base of the mountain.


A small zip line for children.


A rock wall for children.


Our last moments at Mammoth Mountain.


We are driving away from Mammoth Mountain...
headed toward home...
with a few more stops on the way.


A small detour while driving home.
The June Lake Loop (Highway 158) provides a very scenic diversion 
off the main highway.

It is just 16 miles long...yet has full views of 4 different mountain lakes...
and small, colorful mountain communities.  

It reconnects with the main highway (US 395)
farther up...so there is no backtracking.  
Whether heading north or south...it is a must see loop.












Mono Craters is near the ending of the June Lake Loop
(or beginning...depending if you are going north or south).


Our final stop was at Mono Lake.

This is a terminal lake which...due to the constant influx of minerals with incoming water...
and no outlet...and with constant evaporation...its salinity and alkalinity just keep rising.

The mineral spires are a result of underground springs having fed calcium carbonate
into the, then, higher level lake.  They hardened into limestone and are visible mostly
because of the lower level of the lake due to a now stopped 
siphoning off of the water supply.

There are an estimated 4-6 TRILLION brine shrimp living in Mono Lake...
and there are millions of sea gulls feeding on them throughout the year
(it is a breeding ground for them here).




We stayed but a few moments here.
As it was right off the main highway...
it was worth the side trip.


Alex simply loves our road trips.
He always gets excited when he hears that we are going on a road trip...
whether for a day...or for longer.

Alex gets especially excited by staying in motels/hotels.
He just loves the pure adventure of staying in new places.

He also loves riding in the minivan...
especially since he has a 4g iPad to enjoy along the way.

He loves the ever unfolding new scenery...
and the new adventures to be had at our destinations.

He never gets bored...
he never complains...
even on long trips.

When the scenery gets monotonous...
he plays an app on the iPad.

When we pass a landmark that is exciting...
he looks up the route and elevation on his iPad.

On longer trips...
we will have him do some studying on the road...
but as this was but a few hours long...
we just allowed him to enjoy himself as he pleased.

My wife usually sleeps during long highway trips.
I love listening to my iPod while driving.

My favorite music is Epic music.
Full orchestras playing beautiful symphonies...
such as this article's song.

My mind is free to wander.

During this homeward journey...
I had felt so fortunate in life.

(yes...now comes the proselytization I had warned you about in the first article  :)

To be retired at a fairly young age...
to fully enjoy complete freedom...
unhindered by worries...
is the result of decisions and sacrifices made decades earlier...
always looking towards a planned future.

My life...
while great now...
could have been even greater had I made my decisions and sacrifices even earlier in life 
(this is one of my greatest shames...I had wasted much of my youth...
especially during my school years.  I had daydreamed my way through school).

This is one misstep in life we are ensuring Alex doesn't make.

Alex is preparing for life at a much younger age...
in a much more vigorous fashion...
and with a greater passion than I had done.

Even though I consider myself to be very fortunate in life...
we are preparing Alex to have an even greater life.

It all comes down to looking into the future...
finding a true passion as early as possible...
and pursuing it without pause...
without doubt.

It is the sacred flames of true passion which leads to a great life...
a non-stop wave of deep seated drive which propels one on an 
emotional journey which is boundless and ever giving.

It is to fully experience life in all its grandeur...
all the rich colors and flavors...the full sensations of everything around you...
to have an ever increasing feeling of excitement and energy...
yet to have the feeling of serenity...a calm mind...an assured one...
as a result of having a committed path to follow...
one that synchs the mind with the heart.


Live for Today...
and you are a mere grasshopper...
a short term thinker who has short term fun...
but never any deep satisfaction...
as the worry for the future shall be ever present in your mind...
the dark clouds of doubt...
forever ruining any peace of mind...
forever spoiling the one shot at life we have.
All that is left for you is the negative spiral of hedonism...
attempting to fill the ever present void in the soul
with ever increasing amounts of short term pleasures
while receiving ever decreasing satisfaction from them...
until it becomes unsustainable.

With the realization that time has passed you by...
never to be gotten back...forever gone...
the only avenue left open to you is a steep vertical climb
to a much lower peak (which most never even attempt)...
or an endless number of attempts for mere distractions in life
to temporarily stave off the inevitable justified depression which 
robs you of all joy and energy in life.

It is to ultimately fail at life...
and to ultimately sully your one chance at having a good death...
one which is free from regret...
one where you feel deeply satiated from having truly lived your life...
one where you feel no reluctance...no fear...
one that is to be your greatest reward...
as you already stand at the peak and are looking down at all 
of the surrounding peaks of your memories and accomplishments...
your chest filled with true pride...your heart filled with true courage and love...
the sensations of the vivid colors and sights...
the feel and taste of the alpine air...
the gentle breeze blowing...
all welcoming you to spread your wings one last time
as you soar toward your final journey.



Live for Tomorrow...
and you will be ever rewarded by the previous accomplishments having come to fruition.
With ever more trees of accomplishments being planted farther up the road...
the succulent fruits ripening as you reach them...
always nurturing your hunger for more...
always filling you with passion and drive...
 always keeping your eyes and heart looking to the future...
is to allow you to truly enjoy today.

It is living life on a positive spiral...
always having something to look forward to...
always having life get better as time goes by.
It is to live in a constant state of peace of mind...
as your future is planned out...
your route and destination is always in sight as they coax you onward...
always giving you energy with each step forward.

It is to fully live life... 
as there are no dark clouds on the horizon...
just the energizing sunrise of hope for the future.

It is the cobalts, crimsons and ambers
of the beautiful sunset of a good death.

This is the Gift of Life.
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