Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Another summer has arrived in my life, another school year has ended, perspective rolls in once again.  I am starting my fifth year as the educational technology director for the North Platte Public Schools.  During that time we have gone through 2 superintendents and currently have an interim while we sort out who will be best to lead our instructional team in the future.  Technology in the district has increased and improved, but we have much more to do.

Within this big picture view are some little things that have profound influence on quality of life.  There are so many troubles out there in this big old world, and it is nice to have some tender mercies around to lighten the load.  We got a puppy in the spring and had spent all the time and energy it takes to bring him along as a member of our family.  We determined that the time was right and that we would have the summer to train him and enjoy him.  School ended for my five children on May 18th and my wife followed the next day after wrapping up her school year as a speech-language pathologist.  I have an extended contract that runs into July; so, I continue my service as we ready the district for a new school year.

On May 26th our dear, new friend Shadow was hit by a truck and we had to put him down.  Needless to say, the Memorial Day weekend took on a whole new meaning and was not filled with happiness and joy.  I grew up on a ranch in western Wyoming and have spent my life around animals.  For me, I have seen them come and go, but there are always a special few.  Shadow was one of them.  My children and I have had a special opportunity to reflect on the short life of something that became important to our family.  It has not been easy, but they are learning that it gets easier as each day passes.  This learning is profound, meaningful, and lifelong.  It will never be measured on a standardized test, and my children have learned more from this experience than an entire year of school will ever hope to bring.

We get in such a hurry in life that we forget to enjoy the things that are going on around us.  Events, people, pets, our surroundings often slip by like the scenery we view in a speeding vehicle.  We don’t notice, or cherish the little things, the special things, until they are sometimes taken away without a moment’s notice.  This can be the summer that Shadow died, or it can be something else.  I’m not sure what that something else is as of yet, but our family is searching.

I know a few that visit this blog from time to time, and your visits may be less because I post less.  It is because I have been too busy living life and that’s okay.  I hope you are all having a great summer, but if you are sad I can understand how you feel.  Your sadness may be greater, more profound, and more serious.  Take comfort in the fact that your sadness comes from the loss of joy.  Remember the joy and get it back someway, somehow, as soon as you can.  Goodbye Shadow.  You brought my family true, honest, joy.  Thank you.

Sites for bullying, friendship, personal safety, anger, or conflict resolution:

Bullying-

http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/

http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/friends/bullies/

Friendship-

http://www.cyberparent.com/friendship/

Personal Safety-

http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC122.pdf

or http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/psc_english_02/

http://www.safetykids.org/

Anger-

http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/anger.html

http://www.angriesout.com/

Conflict Resolution-

http://www.crnhq.org/

http://www.creducation.org/

http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/health/conflict/

2002

I have been, sporadically now, blogging for three years and have now moved into the fourth.  Time has passed very fast, and I have been wrapping my head around that ticking sound I can hear from our “bird clock.”  25 years ago to this very day I entered the MTC in Provo, Utah for a 3 week training that sent me off to the then Colorado Denver Mission.  I spent time in northwestern Kansas, in the mission office in Littleton, Colorado, in Grand Junction, Colorado, and finished off in Cheyenne, Wyoming with responsibilities over Kimball and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  That all seems like ancient history to me and especially to my young children (Remember there are 5 children, and some of them aren’t young anymore – Hannah soon to be 18!).  Much has been accomplished in my adult life, but my youth set the very important stage, or foundation, for all that has come to pass.  Time is what allowed it all to happen.

2009

As a historian I am always amazed at the process of looking back and how age provides perspective.  It is difficult in our youth to grasp the past or find interest in it.  When we are young time is slow, especially on a warm summer day fishing beside a meandering stream.  Imagination plays a larger role in our lives as youngsters, and its too bad we lose some of that along the way, or at least forget to imagine.  I imagine great things ahead in my life and my family’s life.  I can see a future wrought with challenges, but I also have the perspective to realize that all things can be overcome.  That’s what I like about being here in my mid 40s.  As a doctor recently stated to me, “You have half your life ahead of you.”  Interesting to think about and quite exciting at the same time!  What will it bring?

I know that the choices I have made in the past are benefitting me greatly at this point in life.  Sure, there have been bumps in the road, but this old world deals those on a daily basis.  There will be many more choices along the way, and I hope to enjoy and reap what I sow.  My children are in the same boat, and my dream is that they feel somewhat the same way I do when they reach this point in their lives.  It’s nice to be a part of their growth, and I enjoy helping them speed through time.  It is fast, fun, and fantastic!

Our local Waldenbooks is closing, is closed, it’s going away, gone.  We are in a changing world where media has become available at the click of a mouse.  I can’t say I don’t understand why the store has closed.  Trends seem to make this inevitable especially in small town America.  So, what to do?

We still have a library if you want a good book, and the library card is cheap!  My kids love to go to the public library.  They also loved to go to Waldenbooks, but those days are over.  Our family has a Barnes & Noble account online, and we order books from Amazon, etc., but there is something about the tactile process of perusing a new book.  It gives you time to get the idea of what it is about, it stimulates your imagination as you look at the cover art, and now we will have to drive several miles to get that opportunity.  Sure there is a used bookstore in town; yes, there are new books at Walmart, but well, you know.

I grew up in a place where there was no bookstore.  The library was “the bookstore” and it was a 15 mile drive one way, but my Mom took us there, often.  I spent time in schools that had huge libraries compared to the middle school and elementary libraries my children attend today.  My home has more books, on shelves, available to my two youngest kids than they have at their elementary school.  So, what’s my point?

Waldenbooks has closed, and I think maybe the library might too!  Oh it won’t happen all at once, but the Kindle and other handheld devices are bringing a slow death to the printed word.  Is this bad?  If the power goes out, yes!  That will never happen:  Haiti.  Not every child has access to a Kindle nor can go to a Waldenbooks or Barnes & Noble, but for now they can go to the library.  As we know there are more than books, there are computers hooked to the internet, and there are people.  The greatest resource are the people.  Hopefully, if a kid lives 15 miles away they have a mom, dad, grandparent, someone who will take them there, to the library.  Hopefully.

Technology can be deceiving, and what is inside is really what counts!!!

Snow Day…

Posted: February 13, 2009 in Education, Just For Fun, Learning, Movie, Parenting, Service, Video

We learned some important lessons today as we provided service and shoveled our neighbors snow, played Rise of Nations, fixed up and prepared a small 2 cycle engine in a snowmobile, and of course extreme collaboration (see video):

Learning 24/7!!!

asus_eee_pc_904November 2008 has been a busy time for me, and my sparse blog entries show it!  I have been involved in rolling out a systematic approach for building level technology plans, organizing a continuing education day district workshop conference, training, working with various HAL students at the middle and elementary levels, assisting teachers in embedding technology in their classrooms, and performing all the odds and ends that come with my job (meetings too!!!).

Of course my family keeps me busy too with 5 children ranging in ages from 5-16.  There always seems to be some activity, event, concert, game, and place to go and be with Hannah, Charlie, Ronan, Nicholas, and Heather.  My church duties along with a new boy scouting assignment have needed constant attention too; so, I seem to generally stay out of trouble!  😉

I purchased an Asus Eee PC with my birthday money, and I am enjoying this new piece of technology.  It is the 904 model with the 6 cell battery and 160 GB hard drive.  We have been trying various brands and models of netbooks out in our tech department, and I personally like the Asus brand overall.  It is a nice unit!

I am now on Thanksgiving break and it is good to be spending some time with my family.  I am very thankful for the blessings I have in my life (especially for my dear wife Dianna), and I hope that all is well in your parts of the world.  Thank you for visiting my part of the web from time to time, and I hope that you all have time to enjoy the company of family and friends this holiday season.  Peace!

I just watched the film Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles.  It is a wonderful film with a great message.  I especially appreciated how technology was used to solve mounting problems throughout the story.  This parallels challenges we face in education, and the movie shows that through perseverance and ingenuity one can accomplish many things; however, the key to success is having faith in and depending upon others.

Wikipedia provides the following summary of the movie:

“Written by Zou Jingzhi, the film tells the story of Gouichi Takata (Takakura), an aged Japanese father who, ever since his wife died, has not been in good terms with his son. When he learns that his son is diagnosed with liver cancer, he decides to travel to the Yunnan province in China in his son’s place to film Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, a traditional item in the local nuo opera (), in which his son is a leading scholar. He hopes that by doing so, he might finally gain the forgiveness of his son.

The title of the film is an allusion to the fabled story of Guan Yu‘s perilous solo journey to reunite with his sworn brother and lord Liu Bei, as told in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It is a story about brotherly love and loyalty much told in Chinese folklore and operas. The film draws the parallel between the folk tale and Takata’s quest to fulfill his son’s wish.”

It is a subtitled movie for English speaking folks, it is rated PG, and runs 1 hour 47 minutes.  If you have not had the opportunity to see this film, find it ASAP and enjoy!

My oldest son Charlie turns twelve today. He is finishing his 6th grade year in school and is excited about the opportunity to do sports next school year. Charlie is a very intelligent, funny, amazing, polite, and wonderful young man. I know he gets frustrated at times when he sees injustice in life, but I know that he works to see that what he can control is fair and honest. I admire that trait in Charlie. Charlie has reached an important age in our family’s beliefs and will receive a great honor this coming Sunday. Charlie is a great servant of his maker and will bless many people throughout his lifetime. Thanks for being such a wonderful soul Charlie. You are a great example to me. Peace!

A good friend and colleague, Larry LaShell, shared the following video with me today:

Web Link

I needed this today. Thanks Larry, you made a difference by passing this on!

Space I thought this picture was great (Click it to see it bigger or go here), and it caused me to reflect on us down here on the good planet earth. I have been quite busy it seems for the past year, and as over 600 articles pile up in my RSS reader, as April 15th looms closer and closer (It is my youngest daughter’s birthday too so I’m excited about that part), and as life seems to zip by at an ever increasing pace it takes a picture from space to give a little bit of perspective from up so high to way down there or here depending upon if you are in the space station or not. If I do have readers on the space station, thanks for stopping by during your busy schedules and I would recommend that you not stop by anymore and just stay focused on your space station duties! 😉

Speaking of time, I have been debating what I could enroll myself in via MIT’s Open Courseware. What a great opportunity, as there are with many universities now. A visit to iTunes U opens up many lessons to be had and learned. That is what I like about this “new” world, it is smaller, flatter, and it is easier to get around. It brings us closer together, if we make time to do so. That is what I need to do: make the time, shape the time, capture the time. A focus on things that matter most is the key. Peace!

Also, go here if you haven’t as of yet (PBS Frontline special “Growing Up Online”).  We really need to address digital citizenship!  Things are happening each day and we need to help young people navigate this digital world.

I’m off to Kansas City for an Infinite Campus “meeting” (I have to travel on Super Bowl Sunday & will miss it!!!) and am placing a couple of podcasts here for my Heather to listen to while I am away! Heather’s brother Nicholas and I began a tradition a few years ago of making up and telling dragon tales for our bedtime stories. In recent years Heather has added pony tales to the mix. We have begun to record our tales as they need to be saved for posterity and for the listening enjoyment of others! 🙂 We are simply using a Video iPod and a Griffin iTalk to record our tales. I load the .wav files into iTunes and convert them to mp3; so, nothing fancy here as of yet. Enjoy!

Heather’s Tale

Daddio’s Tale

PBS Frontline special (Can be viewed online at the program web site):  “Growing Up Online.”

I am a dad of 5 beautiful children.  One is a teenager and another will soon be one. Parents often find themselves waiting for these kids as they are yet to get a driver’s permit. Tonight I wait at Taco Johns, free wifi, and make this latest post using my iPod Touch. It has been fun to wait tonight! Peace!