While trying to get Sebastian ready for school this morning I noted he was singing Christmas songs which quickly led to him asking if he could write a letter to Santa. I explained it's a bit early for that, but he persisted. Eventually I relented, partially because it wasn't worth fighting over and partially because I was curious to see what he would write. So after about ten minutes of writing at the desk in his room, he emerged with a sealed letter, complete with a hand-drawn stamp. I assured him I would mail it and opened it during his morning shower. It said the following:
When is your birthday and what do you want?
I'm kinda at a loss as to what to do. I think its nice that he wants to get Santa a present, but I just don't know how to explain to him that all Santa wants is some peace and quiet and a bottle of anejo rum.
My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
This morning Sebastian finally started to understand how compounding advantages is tied to adaptation in regards to evolution. In doing so he had loads of question about how certain things like our eyes evolved. Excitedly, we hurried to YouTube where I remember seeing an excellent video, narrated by David Attenborough, explaining the evolution of the eye as an example of how things slowly change. I was proud that he was making this leap and that I had the resources to help him to further grasp the concept. Except, our internet from Charter Communications was down, again. No problem, fired up the phone on Verizon 4G, only to find an error message saying, “Youtube video not available on mobile device." Wait, the tablet! Nope, still incompatible. Netflix? Hulu? Not there. Reboot everything. Call Charter. Give up on hold. Finally, I attempted to draw pictures and tried to explain it using a book that was way over his head, but he lost interest and asked if he could go do a puzzle instead. So here I am, finally back online, having missed an incredible opportunity to capitalize on a momentary spark of clarity because the evolution of our technology is somewhere in-between Homo sapiens sapiens and a primate at the zoo hurling his own shit at things.
Friday, March 01, 2013
After I spend a lot of time with the boy it takes me some time to slip out of Dad-mode. This morning while I was sitting with Sebastian at Starbucks, trying to get him to sit up straight and not slurp his hot chocolate, the guy seated next to us in his mid-twenties burped. Instinctively, I said, "What do you say?" To which the guy immediately said, "Excuse me. Sorry." I then sat there for a minute mortified I would do that; then realized I must have said my line in such a voice that he didn't even question it. The power of that ability came over me and I immediately decided I should use this new power responsibly to help make the world a more civilized place. After feeling justifiably awesome for my necessary world changing work, it then occurred to me that this is exactly how those old men who stand in malls yelling at kids to pull up their pants get their start. I then sunk back into my chair and sipped my tea, only to hear Sebastian pipe up with, “Dad, don't slouch.” So I guess I may not change the world, but at least the boy will be reasonably well-behaved.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I have finally realized that the same generation that coddled the next generation, blame them for being coddled, and uses it as an excuse to avoid giving power to the next generation, is the same generation insisting on continuing policies that will destroy the earth by the same time that they have to give up power.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Some mornings I wake to the crushing realization of how much is dependent on my immediate actions, drive and example. I'm shaken out of slumber and into a world where the feeling of overwhelming guilt of incomplete tasks and waiting responsibilities feels unmanageable. The sheer weight of this realization crushes down upon me as I struggle to find the strength to simply face what must be done. And some mornings I make pancakes. Pancakes with chocolate chips. I like chocolate chip pancakes.
Monday, November 05, 2012
The internet is giving me tunnel vision. I no longer see anything in the margins, only the text in the middle. Pictures disappear, flashing rectangular games, half-naked women, political ads and commercials for the greatest website ever are completely invisible. I wasn't sure if it was spilling over into my real life, but then I realized that I don't see billboards, ads on cars or banners anymore. I have a feeling I could walk by the secret to life, written on a 100ft sign, illuminated, flashing and moving directly into my path, and my eyes would just move around it, forever losing my chance and knowing the cosmic answer to who, what, and why. But maybe that is for the best. Maybe losing the constant stream of noise is as close to enlightenment that I'm meant to be. Perhaps my zen, my nirvana, my personal heaven is simply having a couple extra minutes of peace.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
In 1972, psychologist Walter Mischel, then of Stanford University, created the marshmallow task to test deferred gratification in children. Simplified, a marshmallow was offered to each child. If the child could resist eating the marshmallow, they were promised two instead of one. The scientists analyzed how long each child resisted the temptation of eating the marshmallow, and whether or not doing so was correlated with future success. Following up with the kids years later, that they found that the longer kids had managed to wait, the better they did socially and academically as teens. The new update to this study was released this week and now includes an expansion to a child’s beliefs about the reliability of the people around them and how that can dramatically shape their willingness to wait for a better payoff. The more stable the environment, with consistent, honest interactions and, most importantly, tangible rewards overwhelming lead to the most favorable outcomes. What I found most interesting was the study’s finding of how substantive compensation over ethereal, from dependable authority figures, had such a long-term and profound impact. Having your child earn a new bike by doing specific tasks was quantifiably more valuable in their long-term success than telling them that the potential for acquisition of a bike included some sort of supernatural force. So Santa bringing them a new bike may make them happy, but having them earn a new bike (with Santa bringing them a new helmet) has a much higher probability of producing an adult who understands what it takes to be successful. Ultimately, the study’s findings made it very clear that, in order to give a child the best chance at future success, parents, teachers, guardians and family are strong encouraged to base their long term rewards in reality and not resort to otherworldly threats or rewards.