“Fleischmann has nonverbal autism and never said a word until at the age of 11 when she shocked her family by typing the words “hurt” and “help” on a computer. This breakthrough encouraged them to help Fleischmann improve her communication skills through the written word. She’d eventually become a successful blogger and author. Now, she’s the host of a new talk show and just landed her first major guest, Channing Tatum” (Good Worldwide)
Adult correctional systems supervised an estimated 6,851,000 persons at year-end 2014.
Bureau of Justice Statistics
The United States had the highest prison population rate in the world, at 716 per 100,000 people. More than half of the countries and territories had rates below 150 per 100,000. The United States had a much higher rate compared to other developed countries: about six times Canada’s rate, between six to nine times Western European countries, and between two to 10 times Northern European countries.
Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, noted that the unprecedented rise in prisoners over four decades has been a function of changes in policy, and not crime rates.
Time we demand a reality check for political candidates?
Every once in a while we hear the old refrain of someone being tired of hearing nothing but bad news. Well I am going to change that, at least for today, with this post. This is some really, really good news. Really good news. Really.
Good news from around the world
In California a healthy baby was born to someone who did not use crack;
In Tokyo a healthy baby was born to parents who were married;
In Calcutta a baby was born to parents who never knew starvation;
In Hawaii someone won a surfing competition;
Today, at the White House, someone smiled;
Right now, in the highest levels of government, someone cares about their job;
In New York a lady received her money back on a defective item;
Thousands of planes will land worldwide just fine;
Even as you are reading this millions of individuals are getting home from work with no injuries;
Millions of kids had a great day at school;
Scientists discovered something;
Food was grown;
Thousands upon thousands of couples are being married;
Even more are leaving to go on vacation;
A couple who wanted to get pregnant did;
Any number of people got a great deal on a car;
Someone is being kissed for the first time and they are ecstatic;
Someone just got her or his first job;
Someone is being kissed goodnight;
A chef is creating the finest dessert ever made;
An honest politician is going to work;
An honest attorney is going to work;
An honest doctor is donating time;
A teacher is looking forward to teaching – for the 4,000th day;
A writer is getting inspired;
A child helped with dinner without being asked;
A wife remembered that the person she is married to really is a pretty good person;
A husband remembered that the person he is married to really is a pretty good person;
Someone won some money is Las Vegas who really needed it;
Someone won the California Lottery who really needed it;
A nurse was inspired;
A religious leader was inspired;
A cop was inspired;
A firefighter was inspired;
A musician was inspired;
A painter was inspired;
A sculptor was inspired;
A mechanic was inspired;
A construction worker was inspired;
A chef was inspired;
A garment worker was inspired;
A baker was inspired.
Today millions of women and men, girls and boys and being inspired to do all kinds of things – some wonderful, some not. But here’s the point: who are you inspiring today? Who are you working with today to make 2016 the best year of their lives? Who are you helping?
It’s possible for 2016 to be the very best year of your life. It’s equally possible for 2016 to be the worst year of your life. Which do you want it to be? How are you working to help it be the year you want it to be?
With profound sorrow I must announce the passing of Wendy Chung, PhD.
“Dr. Chung was an Associate Professor in Alliant School of Management at Alliant International University. She published in the fields of global leadership, organizational culture and integrated marketing communications and presented and spoke at international and national conferences on issues of diversity, cross-cultural management, global leadership and negotiating the organizational culture of diversity in global organizations. Dr. Chung received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Howard University.”
Dr. Chung was my research and writing partner and together we published articles and presented at conferences in Hawaii and Alaska. She was one of the authors of Disabled Literature. Once a week or so Wendy and I would speak on the phone or text until after midnight. Occasionally it ran until 1 or 2 in the morning. We discussed our book, classes, research, presentation trips and more. We wrote a book that way. We wrote articles and designed courses that way. She will be missed by her colleagues, friends, family, and most certainly me.
Wendy loved what she did. She loved the pursuit of understanding. The accumulation and dissemination of knowledge yes, but even more was understanding the knowledge. She insisted that her students understand and how to use what they understood. She genuinely liked students, and their futures mattered to her.
When it came to education she was fearless. She would take on a new project, write a new paper, present at a new conference, and speak anywhere if it helped the school or helped someone – anyone – learn something new. Simply put, people mattered to her.
One of my fondest memories is watching her in a snowball fight in Anchorage, Alaska after a presentation we did. Her son, my son, and Wendy, in 15 degree weather, snow falling, and they’re in a snowball fight. She could move from intellectual to snowball fighter in a breath. That was Dr. Wendy Chung.
She made a quiet impact that will last – because of her students – for generations.
I like to observe parents interacting with their children. It’s always a study in frustration – for the kid and the parent both. But you can learn things by watching. Mostly you hear things that make you say to yourself, “I hope I’ve never said that to my child.”
Children are great to watch interacting. I like to see how they work with other kids as well as how they deal with adults. Kids interact differently with kids and grownups. With kids they’re direct, with adults they manipulate.
With adults they might whine, say things like “Prettttttty pleeeeeease?” All the while looking at you, cocking their heads, and smiling. With a child they say, “Gimme that!” and grab whatever it is they want. They’re nothing if not direct with each other.
That’s not to say that kids don’t play well together. They often do. When I take my son to the park he plays with kids he knows and kids he just met. He has a terrific time playing, riding his bike, driving the electric car, playing with kids, swinging on the swings screaming, “faster daddy!” and simply being in the warm sunny park. And that, I suppose, it’s what so much of life is about.
Well, that and giving your parents a nervous breakdown. See, what happened was this, I was watching my son dig a hole in the sand box. It was about eight inches deep, four inches wide and a foot long. He was digging and digging and digging and then he stopped. He looked at the hole and, before I could say a word, put his head in it and did a back flip
Luckily, it was a perfect back flip. Had he fell to either side, with his head in that narrow hole down to his neck, he could have broken something he very much needs.
After the flip he got up, brushed off the sand, and could not understand why I was so upset. Just another day in parenting. Just another day of thousands yet to go.
If you want to know why men act the way they do, at whatever age they are, go back and reread the above.
Should there be a place where archaic words go to die?
Still coming of age
In just a few short days my daughter will celebrate her 11th anniversary of turning one year old. It’s hard to believe that many years has gone by so quickly but it has whether I choose to believe it or not. It seems like it was just yesterday that I saw her being delivered (no, not Domino’s), saw her face for the first time, take her first breath, open her eyes.
When those eyes opened I was the very first thing she saw. She was delivered, she took a breath, opened her eyes and there I was. I had a huge smile but she did not – she was still getting used to the whole thing.
I will never forget looking into those eyes for the first time, the first time they were ever open. I was in awe then and I am still. I probably always will be. And now that tiny baby is turning twelve; she is tiny no longer and her eyes have seen a great deal, but somehow I am still in awe of her.
A look at the first year
Eleven years ago I wrote a newspaper column detailing her first year. What a difference a few years can make:
Over the last year my daughter learned to eat solid foods, learned to talk (mostly in a language all her own), learned to crawl, and learned to walk (more or less).
It’s been an interesting year, one full of surprises for both of us. I have to keep reminding myself that every day there are things she is seeing that she has never seen before. Every day she is tasting things she has never before tasted (some she is supposed to taste – like new foods and some she is not supposed to taste – like bugs, rocks and leaves). She, like most babies, has started learning by tasting and it’s a constant struggle to keep things out of her mouth that shouldn’t be there.
Over the past month I have fished out of her mouth pieces of carpet, lint, and a hundred other things that are on the ground that are less visible the taller you are. But she sees everything down there because that’s where she is. Sometimes she and the dog race to get something. She loses and the dog loves it.
Yes, I am constantly worried that I’ll never be able to get her “grown up.”
It’s fascinating to watch her look at the world around her and see more and more. Sometimes I’ll be watching her and see her notice something for the first time. At first she glances at it, then looks away. Then she’ll stop, get a puzzled look on her face and look back. Then she stares – hard. You can literally see the wheels in that little head spinning as she struggles to understand it.
For instance, the other day I had her outside with me while I was attempting to bring order to the garage. She was sitting in her stroller, happily drinking from a sipper cup (okay, sipping some and pouring some on the ground) while I was putting things away and talking to her as I worked. Then I noticed her staring at something. I went over to where she sat and stood behind her to see what she was looking at.
I discovered that she was looking at a four-foot long model of a sailing boat my late uncle had made decades ago. She had never seen it before and was trying hard to figure out exactly what it was. Of course it looked a bit familiar because of boats she has in the tub, but this one was big! So I took her over to it so she could get a better picture of it and touch it.
So many things are like that – she sees it then has to see it much closer, touch it, and then file away the knowledge in that growing brain of hers.
And ah, that brain. Aren’t you amazed at how a child’s brain grows, how it functions, how it stores away memories becoming knowledge? Living with that brain of hers, watching it become “her” more and more has to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed.
This morning, when she and I were taking her brother to school, she did something and he said “uh, oh.” She then promptly repeated it exactly, tone and everything. He asked, “Dad, did you hear that? She said “uh, oh.”
Of course I did and then he said it again and she repeated it again. This went on all the way to school. Hearing that uh, oh from her little voice had us both laughing and me, again, amazed. Not amazed that it would happen because intellectually I knew (hoped) someday it would, but amazed that it did right then and I heard it. I love the sound of that uh, oh like few things on earth.
In a way I am a bit jealous of her. She is starting new on the road of life and while I’m not yet at the end of that road I have traveled a rather long way on it. She is going to get to see so much, do so much, and be so much. The planet keeps doing more with technology, with science, with medicine and every day new vistas open up for people. Additionally, never before has there been a better time to be a woman. She is not as restricted by her gender – she can go farther, study more, be most anything she wants to be. Hopefully, by the time she gets much older, more sexist beliefs will continue to fall.
Of course, I hope she ultimately is simply happy, but personally, I hope she does great things for this world. I hope she uses her life to further the human race, to aid humanity, to leave the world better than it was when she came in. And I think she can.
You’re one year old (x12), your life is all still ahead. Use it, don’t waste it. Enjoy it, don’t squander it. Savor it, don’t ignore it. It’s going to be one heck of a ride and I’ll always be there – in one way or another – to help.
Do you ever wonder where we learn all the weird things we know? I’m not talking about intellectual things or the knowledge one gets from school or life. I’m speaking of all of the strange or bizarre stuff we hear. Certainly much of the weirdness we get probably comes from our families. There’s nothing like a parent or grandparent to tell us all sorts of bizarre stories.
For instance, there is the number thirteen. It’s supposed to be bad luck. What about walking under a ladder? That also might bring bad luck. There are so many things in life that (maybe, possibly, not a chance) bring both good and bad luck that it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all. There are bad luck numbers (at least according to a fortune cookie I once opened in a restaurant). The same fortune cookie also gave me a list of good luck numbers but so far they haven’t worked.
It’s all just so much nonsense those old bad luck signs. We need some new bad luck signs, signs created for life in the twenty-first century.
Updated bad luck signs:
There are, of course, hundreds of thousands of other examples of bad luck. To list them all would bore both of us and why go there, ya know?