Friday, October 31, 2014

Daddy/Daughter Date to Dairy Queen

On Monday of this week, I took my youngest daughter Clara on a daddy/daughter date to Dairy Queen.  I would rather have done something more extensive and fun, but it's been quite a while since our last time hanging out together, and I didn't have much money to spend anyway.  Besides, who doesn't love their Blizzards :-).  It was sweet time of hanging out, holding her tiny hand to/from the car, and sharing a blizzard while talking together.

I also learned something new about her, that she is completely ambidextrous.  I asked her which hand she writes with in school and she said "both".  She said that neither is her favorite and that she switches between them when one gets tired.

According to internet statistics, 1% of the population is ambidextrous.  I thought it would be much lower than that, since in my 43 years I've never known anyone who has indicated they didn't have a right or left hand preference/dominance.  Unfortunately, one article also said that:
"Children who are ambidextrous, using either hand with the same ease, may be more likely to have mental health, language and academic problems than their peers,"

Time will tell whether there is any truth or relevance to this study for Clara.  So far though she seems very smart to us, but maybe we're just bias as her parents.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What do you Stand For?

The other day an advertisement for Doc Marten shoes played before a movie trailer that I was trying to watch, and I couldn't help but think about it.  Here is the ad, along with another similar one for their campaign.
Their question and ad slogan is "What do you Stand for?"  Here are the answers given in the above videos.  I stand for...
  • distortion
  • the crowd
  • making classic contemporary
  • punk rock
  • youth frustration
  • rising against conformity
  • keeping things simple
  • the youth
  • being unique
  • getting shit done
  • putting myself out there
  • keeping people guessing
Some of the above answers are silly, or even pathetic (distortion, really?).  Many of them though are at least admirable character traits that I try to portray myself, especially the last four, or even five.  But to "stand for" something implies not just a personal characteristic, but a statement about what is the #1 most important thing to you.

For those of you who know me, or even if you've just been reading my blog for a while, hopefully my answer to the question of "What do you stand for?" is obvious:  I stand for the almighty God of the universe, and His son Jesus Christ.  They not only make life much more enjoyable (providing peace, love, joy, strength, depth, meaning, contentment), but they are the only things that truly have eternal implications.  Therefore everything else pales in comparison.

What about you?  What do you stand for?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Mind or the Multitasking - ADHD version of "The Chicken or the Egg"

I read an article last week (see link) that talked about the negative effects of multitasking on the human brain.

Unfortunately for me though, my current job requires multitasking, to a large extent.  I have somewhere between six and ten tasks to accomplish at any given time, and the urgency of a particular task varies based on external events and who is making the request.  Often times I find that just when I start to focus on a specific task I get interrupted by a new request or question about the product I'm responsible for, or something related to it.  If not that, then it's a co-worker discussion around me, a phone call from my wife, or a random email.  Most of the time this doesn't bother me much - I'm pretty used to it and it keeps me from getting bored.

Lately though, I feel like I've been having a harder time staying focused on just one work task.  At home too, I have so many projects and things to get done that I find myself often challenged to decide which one to work on and then once I'm engaged it's not uncommon for me to get distracted by someone or by another priority that I want/need to make progress on.  I even had a hard time the other day sitting down to read the Bible and write in my journal, as I was thinking about various reasons to get up and get other things done.  I don't recall having this problem nearly as much before though, and after reading the article I couldn't help but wonder if maybe my brain has been adapting to the continuous multitasking that work and/or life has required of me.

Younger generations probably have it even worse, since they are inundated with multimedia and multitasking for the majority of their life. I know there are other factors to consider, but how much impact does this have on the increased diagnosis of mental disorders such as ADHD.  I'm not the only one to notice this coincidence either.

So how should we address this modern problem then?  If our minds are being forced to adapt to constantly switching between tasks and doing multiple things at once, then would it help to force ourselves to at least periodically and purposefully pursue behavior to combat this?  Here are some ideas of activities for this:
  • Meditation
  • Prolonged prayer (including not just talking, but also listening)
  • Writing
  • Turning off multimedia
Maybe I'm mistaken though, and it's all just genetic.  And perhaps the only thing that will help an excessively restless mind is to keep it engaged, active, and/or medicated.  I can't help but want to err on the side of discipline, determination, and deliberate behavioral modification though.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

We All Want to be Remembered

I read this article (link) earlier in the week about a college student named Kendall Wernet who died while on a cruise ship.

Before that fateful day, Kendall had some great questions and introspective statements on his company's website when reflecting on the death of Robin Williams:
This got me thinking: How will the world react when I die? Will my face be on the news? Will people say it was a terrible occurrence? What will they remember about me?
Ask yourself these same questions.
Suddenly, you start to get this weird feeling inside of you that makes you question what you are doing with your life. Because, the truth is that we all want to make a difference and leave a mark on this world. We want to be remembered.
From the article it appears that Kendall Wernet was hoping/trying to make his mark on the world and to be remembered by (a) being successful at work and (b) helping others to do so also.  Now that he's gone though, and his face is on the news, is financial and occupational success what really matters?  If there is indeed an afterlife, then the answer is "not a damned bit".  Because right now the only thing that really matters to Kendall, and Robin Williams too, is whether or not they made it into heaven.  In addition to that #1 priority, here are the most important questions to me, regarding how I impact the world before I die:
  1. Did I make it to heaven?
  2. Did I help others to make it there (to heaven)?
  3. How much spiritual impact did I have on the world (encourage others, speak truth, etc)?
  4. Did I leave a memorable legacy for my family?
    • Remain true to my wife.
    • Raise my kids with all of the skills and knowledge that they need.
    • Have a solid, loving relationship with all of the above.
    • Provide a good (as close to ideal as possible) example of what/who a man should be?
  5. Was I a good friend to those around me?
All of the other things that the world looks at as successful are mostly useless.  Because all of the other "marks" you can make on the world won't last very long after you're gone from it.  And since none of us know when we're going to die (on a weird cruise ship accident, or when you're 100 years old), isn't the smartest approach to first address priority #1 in the list above?  If so then the way to do this is by turning your attention and affection to Jesus, who is the key to getting to heaven.  That way no matter when you die you'll meet this objective.

Luke 23:32-43 mentions two thieves on the crosses next to Jesus - one on each side.  One of them said "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."  Jesus assured the thief that he would indeed make it to heaven.  And that is how we should all hope to be best remembered.
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