3 years, 5 months, and 20 days. Don’t do anything half-assed. Commit!

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Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek. 
Mario Andretti
My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
The world is full of talented people who make nothing of themselves and who never achieve a measure of success worthy of their talents.  Don’t be one of them.
Whenever you take on a task or project, be present (focus your attention on that task or project), and commit to doing your best.  It’s that simple.  However, this little difference (being present and committing to doing your best) will define those who are successful and those who are not.
Now, mind you, I’m not talking about commitment to a lost cause.  If you are focused on the task at hand and tried your best, yet the chosen task or project is an impossible one, then reevaluate your goals and make the necessary adjustments.  If, under the totality of the circumstances, the best course of action means walking away from the task or project, then do that.  There is no shame in trying your best to overcome impossible odds.
But, this means you must think things through carefully before rushing to take on a new task or project, right?  Fools rush in.  Remember what I taught you:  your mind is your greatest tool.  Use it.
I love you always and forever,
Dad
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3 years, 5 months, 19 days. Go outside and play. Exercise!

“Physical activity before, during and after school promotes scholastic performance in children and youth,” according to a new consensus statement published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-exercise-kids-school-20160627-snap-story.html.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I need you to put down your video games and go outside to play.  When you guys lived with me, I limited you to an hour maximum per day of screen time.  Why?  It is not good for your eyes or your health to sit inside and stare at a computer screen, be it a large TV screen, a computer screen, or the tiny screen for a video game.

Remember how we used to go everyday, hung out at our park down the street, and played with the neighborhood kids?  We had a blast playing basketball, on the jungle gym, etc., right?

You told me how at your mom’s you’d be stuck inside the house watching TV because she wouldn’t take you to the park next door.  That was then.  You are older now.  You can go outside to get fresh air and exercise.

Step away from the computer.  This blog will still be here when you get back.

Facebook will still be there when you get back.  Beware of how FB wastes your time.  It is useful as a tool to stay in touch with friends and relatives near and far, but stay in charge.  Use it as a tool.  Don’t let it consume you and suck up all your free time.

You are better than that.  I taught you better than that.

You are my sons.  No matter what, you’ll always be a part of me, and I you.  Unlike those on your mom’s side, you’ll  be successful because of it.

Be disciplined.  Do what needs to be done.

Until we are re-united, know that I love you with all my heart, always,

Dad

 

3 years, 5 months, 18 days. Make yourself useful, always.

They get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. (1 Timothy 5:13)

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I love you.

Idle hands are the devil’s playground.  Remember to always be engaged in productive activities.  Make yourself useful. You will be glad you developed the habit of figuring out what needs to be done (self-motivation), and people will appreciate you for it.  Successful people detests those who sit around and wait for others to take care of them or tell them what to do.

Now, let’s be clear:  I’m not saying work yourself to the bones.  If you need rest, rest.  That is a productive use of your time at that moment.  If you need to go for a walk or spend time letting your mind wander and day dream, do it.  Do what you need to nourish your soul.  That is also productive.

But, don’t waste hours on Facebook, playing video games, gossiping, etc.  Focus on what is important and urgent (like studying for a test or doing your homework), and what is important but not urgent (like exercising).  Don’t waste time on unimportant and non-urgent matters (like Facebook).

Be well.  I love you, always and forever,

Dad

3 years, 5 months, and 16 days. Make friends. It’s important to your health.

 

things you cannot buy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/01/05/your-relationships-are-just-as-important-to-your-health-as-exercising-and-eating-well/

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I hope are having a wonderful weekend, and are spending it with friends and loved ones.

Remember to take time to make new friends, and to nurture existing relationships.  They are your lifeline to a happy and healthy life.  Studies show that the best predictor of happiness is not your wealth, your physical health, the city and climate in which you live, your grade point average, etc., but the strength of your social relationships.  http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2012/04/what-do-very-happy-people-all-have-in-common/

In America, the ability to make friends and get along with others is particularly important to your social and economic success.  For example, people often assume, wrongly, that if they had a high GPA and graduated from a reputable school, they’d get the job of their dream.  As someone who has worked with human resource professionals for nearly 20 years, I can tell you that American hiring managers place “fit” above all else.  First and foremost, they want to know if you are a good fit for the team, department, and organization.  It doesn’t matter which school you graduated from and what your class ranking was if they think you won’t fit in with the team.  For all their talks about being individuals and marching to the beat of your own drums, Americans fear most those who rock the boat.

Don’t make the same mistakes many bright but poorly informed graduates make.  Go forth and make friends.  Learn how to socialize.  It’s important to your health, your happiness, and your eventual success in life.

I want you to be healthy, happy, and successful.

All my love, always,

Dad

3 years, 5 months, and 15 days. Aim high.

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I want you to be successful.  I want you to have a happy, secure, and comfortable life.

You can do that by aiming high.  Be the best you can be.  Don’t settle for less simply because it is easier.

Look at Dad’s side of the family.  Five of us hold doctorates, eight of us have master’s degrees, and all but one of us hold college degrees.  We include a medical doctor, an assistant dean of a mid-size college, a lawyer, and a number of educators.  We own our own homes and go on vacation to nice places.  We have the respect of our colleagues and are in need of little.

Your cousins on dad’s side have bright futures ahead of them.  A number of them have graduated from good colleges, and hold respectable jobs that pay well.  (For example, one was the president of a wholly-owned subsidiary of a major corporation in the U.S.)  Others are attending school at good colleges, and are pursuing degrees that will enable them to find good jobs.

Now, look at your mom’s side.  None has an advanced degree, and a few do not even have college degrees.  Your uncles and aunts include an uncertified translator, a warehouse packer, a bus driver, a driver for the public works department, etc.  One aunt has four children by three different men.  My nickname for her current husband is “knife wielder” because on the day of their wedding, his friends got into a knife fight at the reception and one of your uncles on your mom’s side had to protect the children present.  (What kind of a person would have friends who got into a knife fight at a wedding?!!!  How low class can you be?)

Now, look at your cousins on your mother’s side of the family.  One of the children in Knife Wielder’s household has a felony conviction for being involved in selling drugs.  The others?  A few have bright futures, but a most do not.  How many have children out of wedlock?  How many hold steady and respectable jobs that offer bright futures for their own children?

That’s why I want you to follow my side of the family.  Study hard.  Do well in school.  Follow my footsteps and get into Duke University, Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley or at Davis, the George Washington University, University of Santa Clara, etc.

You can do it!  You are both very smart boys!  Don’t waste your life living a mediocre existence and working fast food restaurants.  You are better than that!

Work on improving your vocabulary.  Learn Latin and Greek root words.  https://www.learnthat.org/pages/view/roots.html.  A strong vocabulary is critical to success in school and in life.  Among other things, it will help you score well on the verbal section of the SAT, understand more completely what is being communicated to you in school or at work, speak more persuasively, and write more eloquently.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

3 years, 5 months, and 14 days. I’ve missed you.

What amazes me is how far some people will go to justify their behavior to themselves, just to preserve that self-perception.  

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I’ve missed you.  Lots.

But, I can’t say I thought about you everyday.  I cannot.  In the first few years, it was impossible for me to think about you without falling apart.

Whenever I focused on you boys and how we are apart, I became enraged at the injustice of it all.  I lost you guys because Child Protective Services collaborated with a known pedophile to frame me for child abuse, and worked to place the boy in question with the pedophile as his foster parent. Me … who volunteered with Legal Aid to help protect women and children from domestic violence, who lead efforts to protect children from two local public schools by persuading a local church to relocate its ministry which brought 120 convicted sex offenders and other convicted criminals to meet several times each with within mere steps from one elementary school and a football field away from a second!!!

Thoughts of you took me to very dark, cold, and lonely places in my mind and in my heart.  When there,  I simply want to lay down and die. The pain of your absence was too much to bear.

But, I can’t die.  I must live to fight to clear my name, and reunite us.  I trained myself to shift my focus to more mundane things whenever thoughts of you threatened to overwhelm me.

I had a recent scare when I thought I had trained myself too well, and was not thinking about you at all.  But, that fear is unfounded.  I could no more not think about you than not breathe air or soak in the warmth of the sun. I love you so much, and I miss you greatly.

Hang in there.  I fight on.  One day, our story will be told and those who lied to advance their evil agenda will be exposed for the entire world to see.

All my love,

Dad