4 years, 3 months, and 16 days. Be nice.

https://i1.wp.com/www.todaysthebestday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/The-real-test-of-your-character-is-how-you-treat-the-people-you-dont-have-to-be-nice-to.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/livehappy.livelifehappy1.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/be-nice-to-people.jpg

 

In one study, Dr. Prinstein examined the two types of popularity in 235 adolescents, scoring the least liked, the most liked and the highest in status based on student surveys. “We found that the least well-liked teens had become more aggressive over time toward their classmates. But so had those who were high in status. It was a nice demonstration that while likability can lead to healthy adjustment, high status has just the opposite effect on us.”

Dr. Prinstein has also found that the qualities that made the neighbors want you on a play date — sharing, kindness, openness — carry over to later years and make you better able to relate and connect with others.

In analyzing his and other research, Dr. Prinstein came to another conclusion: Not only does likability correlate to positive life outcomes, but it is also responsible, he said, for those outcomes, too. “Being liked creates opportunities for learning and for new kinds of life experiences that help somebody gain an advantage,” he told me.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/education/edlife/be-nice-you-wont-finish-last.html?_r=0

My Dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Be nice, my sons.  It costs you little, but the impact on others may be great.  Everyone has his or her own cross to bear.  Why worsen the burden when it could be lightened with kind words?

Our forebears say, “Twirl your tongues seven times before you speak.”  That is sound advice.

Don’t worry about being the most popular.  Studies show kids who peaked in popularity in primary and secondary schools tend to be stuck at those stages and do worse later in life.  Be nice.  Learn to work with others.

Help others.  You’ll find that it will make you happier.  This is why I have often volunteered when I have time.  My one regret is that I didn’t involve you in my volunteerism while I had the opportunity.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

 

 

4 years, 3 months, and 11 days. Caveat Emptor.

https://i1.wp.com/wordpress.thebunnysystem.com/comics/2005-03-21-Caveat_Emptor.jpg

https://mlambert890.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/caveat-emptor-sign.jpg?w=540&h=409

caveat emptor

 noun

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

In commerce, as in life, the burden is on YOU, as the consumer, to always be wary of what you’re being sold — be it a thing, a service, or an idea.  The job of whoever is selling you the thing/service/idea is to sell that thing/service/idea.  The sale is his goal.  In making the sale, he can but he doesn’t have to be truthful, ethical, or humane.  For example, he doesn’t have to tell you

The burden is on you, the buyer, to make sure what you’re buying is of high quality and useful for your purpose.  If you don’t watch out, once you’ve bought his ware, the problem becomes yours to own.

Caveat emptor is of greater significance in this day and age when we are constantly bombarded from all sides by information — good and bad.  It is more important than ever for you to be educated consumers.

Unless you can trust the person with your life — and even then — always check to verify the truth of what the person said.  Among other things, always ask yourself the following:

  • What do I know about this subject that confirms or contradict what the person just said? 
  • What can I verify, using reliable and reputable sources such as well-reviewed articles published in reputable journals and peer-reviewed academic studies?
  • What does the speaker have to gain from me buying what he said? 
  • Is his gain also my gain, or do our interests conflict?
  • Even if the seller has nothing to gain personally from my buying his ware, does he have one or more biases that blind him to the objective truth?
  • What’s the harm if I buy his good, service, or idea — is the harm significant and permanent or is it slight and temporary?

The last is important because we live in an imperfect world.  We don’t always have the time or energy to verify everything.  Sometimes, if the cost is slight (meaning the harm is negligible and temporary), then it may not be worth spending a lot of time on the investigation.  Regardless of the consequence, you should always engage in the analysis.

This is true of the “news” you hear daily, the textbooks chosen for you by your schools and your teachers, and certainly the sales pitch anyone throws your way.

I love you always, and forever,

Dad

4 years, 3 months, and 8 days. Embrace your heritage and your bicultural background.

https://shoshandjaialai.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/896e2-beingbilingualbetterforchildren.jpg?w=533&h=526

https://i1.wp.com/www.bhlingual.com/wp-content/uploads/How-the-brain-benefits-from-being-bilingual.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/dana.org/uploadedImages/Images/Content_Images/Cerebrum-bilingual-Fig1-L.jpg

 

It has long been known that there are many advantages to being bicultural such as having a greater number of social networks, being aware of cultural differences, taking part in the life of two or more cultures, being an intermediary between cultures, and so on. Recent research shows that biculturals are also characterized by greater creativity and professional success.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-bilingual/201304/advantages-being-bicultural

 

One advantage of being bicultural may be the ability to take the “best” of both cultures. A 2003 study showed that pregnant Mexican-American women who were more “selectively bicultural” – adopting specific health-related beliefs and practices from both cultures – were less stressed overall.

If that’s not enough, here’s one more benefit of being bicultural: creativity. Research published in 2012 found that people who identified with both their “home” and their “host” cultures scored higher on several measures of creativity compared with those who were were either assimilated to or separated from their host culture.

https://blog.allpsych.com/the-benefits-of-biculturalism/

 

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

It always make me sad when I see people deny who they are.  I cannot help but think they must carry such shame of themselves that it forces them to deny their own heritage.  Your bi-racial cousins, for example, appear to have deleted from their social media almost all traces of their dad’s side of the family.  Unfortunately, one but has to look at them and know they are bi-racial.

Don’t be like that.  Embrace who you are.  You come from good stock and are  well-raised.  Our culture is thousands of years old, and your forebears had held high posts within the country.  We now have also gained a measure of success in America.

You are the product of all that history and culture.  You now have the benefit of picking the best from each culture and being better than each.  Further, as the above graphics demonstrate, being bilingual gives you concrete benefits that give you advantages today and in the days ahead.

Embrace your special gifts.  Don’t ever deny who you are.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

4 years, 3 months, and 4 days. Remember to breathe deeply, and recipes for simple meals.

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For generations, mothers have encouraged children to take long, slow breaths to fight anxiety. A long tradition of meditation likewise uses controlled breathing to induce tranquillity.

Now scientists at Stanford University may have uncovered for the first time why taking deep breaths can be so calming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/well/move/what-chill-mice-can-teach-us-about-keeping-calm.html?_r=0

My dearest and most beloved Shosh and Jaialai:

Breathe, my sons.  When anxious or stressed, just take deep breaths and breathe your way to calmness and peace.

I know must be very hard for you without me there.  Shosh, I remember that one time after your mom and I had separated, I came to your school concert, and, afterwards, you just came up to me, leaned your head against my shoulder and cried for the longest time.  I worry for you because you wear your heart on your sleeve and you are my sensitive boy.  Jaialai, I equally worry about you because you are introverted and hold everything in.  As your child therapist said, you worry about whether you’ll get your needs met.  I worry because if only your mom had attended more of the debriefings following your weekly therapy (which I paid for out of pocket), she would have better understood your needs.  As it was, she attended only one debriefing during your year and a half in therapy.  I took you boys to therapy every week, even on weeks when you stayed with your mom.

God, I miss you guys!  It is a physical pain, not just an emotional state of grief.  Know that no matter what happens, I will always love you.  Also, remember, it’s what people do that counts, not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

I also worry about what and how you’re eating.  Back then, despite working 90-100 hours per week in a high paying and stressful job, it was your maternal grandmother and I who did most of the cooking everyday.  Now that your maternal grandmother had passed away and I am not there, who cooks for you?  What do you eat?

Shosh, you are older.  I suspect the burden falls to you now.  I’m sorry.  Learn to prepare easy but healthy meals.  Don’t over-indulge in the spicy Korean noodles, which I know you love, Shosh.  Remember, Jaialai said you once ate so much at your mom’s that it made you throw up?

Try not to eat out too often.  In the divorce filings, your mother’s financial records showed that she spent almost $1000 per month eating out everyday.  I hope that is not happening.  Restaurant food tend to be tasty but less healthy for your because they have greater salt content, etc.

Yesterday, I made the Caveman version my favorite snacks, deviled eggs.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe/.  Instead of going through the trouble of mixing all the ingredients into the yolk, I simply cut the hard-boiled eggs (which I’d cooked over the weekend and kept chilled in the fridge) in half and putting each of the ingredients directly onto the yolk.  While it wasn’t as pretty as the normal deviled eggs, it was tasty nevertheless.

Another simple dish I often resort to is baked chicken.  It’s easy. Do the following:

  1. Get drum stick, chicken thigh, or other parts
  2. Put the chicken in a plastic bag and put in a tablespoon of salt, a little black pepper, a little minced garlic or garlic powder, a tablespoon of olive oil, and enough balsamic vinegar to coat all the chicken pieces.  If you want more depth of flavor, you can also add a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or longer if possible.
  4. Preheat the oven to 390 degree Fahrenheit, line the metal tray with tin foil, then bake the chicken for about 25 minutes on the middle rack.
  5. Eat it with rice or bread and a side of salad.  It’s a very tasty, healthy and simple meal.

I also make lots of sandwiches and pasta.  Remember how I used to heat up a Italian seasoning and fresh garlic in a little butter and olive oil, then mix in pasta and sprinkle it with a little bit of Parmesan cheese before serving it to you guys?  That’s a simple dish.  You can always throw in a little basil, tomato and/or bell pepper to add more depth and dimensions.  For sandwiches or wraps, the easiest thing you can do is get a Costco roasted chicken, tear off chunks of meat and put it into a sandwich or flour tortilla, then throw in some lettuce and ranch dressing and call it good.  It is simple, healthy and delicious, remember?

Cooking doesn’t have to be hard.  Just be creative, and be caring.  Meal time was always a special time for us, remember?  We used to cook together, then everyone would sit down at the dinner table to enjoy our meal and each other’s company, remember?

Cooking is more pleasant as a group activity.  Cook with Eli.  Use the internet to find easy, 3-4 ingredient recipes.

Eat well, and breathe, my sons.

All my love, always.

Dad

4 years, 3 months, and 2 days. Anonymous exposed the fraud and harms caused by Oregon CPS and other states’ CPS.

 

http://www.opexposecps.anonresistance.com/

Oregon CPS couldn’t even safely care of the hundreds of thousands of children it had ripped from families at the slightest anonymous report, yet it continued to destroy more families and to destroy the very kids they are charged with protecting.

On Sept. 28, a former Give Us This Day staff member, Rachel Rosas, told the Senate interim Human Services Committee that children entrusted to the organization went hungry, slept in filthy beds that lacked sheets, and were regularly neglected. That treatment came in spite of state contracts that paid Give Us This Day a minimum of $118 per day per child.

“There was no budget for groceries,” says Rosas, who worked in a group home for 15 girls. “It was disgusting.”

http://www.wweek.com/news/2015/09/30/documents-show-a-portland-foster-care-provider-wasted-2-million-on-lavish-expenditures/.

The latest lawsuit was filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The three plaintiffs are seeking $16,320,000 in damages that could be trebled upon a guilty finding.

The lawsuit alleges the three victims – identified only as “AA,” “BB” and “CC” – are 9, 8 and 7 years old respectively and that they “suffered severe permanent and progressive personal injuries and traumas.”

DHS is accused of falling below the applicable standard of care.

The lawsuit claims the agency was negligent by:

  • Failing to adequately perform reasonable screening of the victim’s foster placement
  • Failing to adequately perform reasonable home study, certification and other background checks on the foster home, the people in the foster home and other children in the foster home.
  • Failing to detect the presence of a potentially abusive environment
  • Failing to protect the children when “DHS has actual or constructive” knowledge that there was an unreasonable risk of harm.

The children, the lawsuit claims, have been abused physically, emotionally and sexually.

“They have been exposed to pornographic material and sexual touching,” the lawsuit asserts.

Other allegations made in the lawsuit include:

  • The children received “inferior” care and hygiene.
  • DHS has “actual knowledge” that the children were being abused and neglected.
  • DHS placed the three children in the care of parents who did not speak English.

http://koin.com/2016/04/01/dhs-lawsuit-foster-children-exposed-to-porn/

 

Lawyers for two children in Oregon’s foster care system filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state Tuesday, alleging the Department of Human Services’ increasing practice of housing some children in hotels and offices violates federal and state laws.

A disproportionate share of the foster children parked in temporary quarters have mental disabilities including behavioral and psychiatric impairments, and the state has described them as “hard to place” with foster families and programs, according to the lawsuit. By housing these children in hotels, offices and even a juvenile detention facility, the state denied them access to the family-like environment and stability that it’s supposed to provide for all children in its care, it says. 

That violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state anti-discrimination and child welfare laws, the suit says.

“These children are disproportionately denied — by reason of their disability — the opportunity to benefit from a state program to provide safe, nurturing homes for children and from the mental health services offered by (the state),” lawyers wrote in a court filing.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/09/suit_slams_dhs_for_parking_ore.html#

We need not look far for human rights violations.  We have human rights problems in own back yard.  Let’s clean up that mess first before we look overseas.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7: 3-5.

4 years and 3 months. Challenge yourselves and grow.

https://i1.wp.com/thechurning.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Growing.jpg

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I hope you are well today.  Recently, a neighborhood kid encountered some personal challenges, and his parents responded by clearing his plates of all challenging matters and telling him it is not necessary for him to challenge himself regarding anything.  That struck me as a less than ideal strategy.

Today, another neighborhood kid shared with me his excitement at achieving something I’d shown him how to do earlier.  This struck me as being the natural order of things.  See, e.g., https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nurturing-resilience/201202/summer-camps-make-kids-resilient.

Kids need challenges in order to learn and grow.  Denying them challenges is to deny them opportunities to grow.

Life is but a series of challenges.  If you love your children, prepare them for life.  Don’t hobble them by removing the challenges and making their lives easy.

“Per aspera ad astra, Papa,’ I whispered. Through hardship to the stars.”
― Ruta Sepetys

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”
― Seneca

“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen Keller

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho

“If we are not allowed to deal with small problems, we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.”
― Jim Stovall

Embrace challenge, my sons.  Be persistent.  Live fully.

All my love, always,

Dad