Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Generous Gift to My Son

It was my son Gregory's 6th birthday this past week, and I felt a need to get him something.  I didn't know what to get the kid, considering he's got nearly all the video games and toys that I can imagine exist for toddlers of his age.  Me and my wife were discussing this issue, and how to go about fixing it... We came upon a solution which we think may be, indeed, the best gift (birthday gift, anyway) that we've given our son in a long while...

Remember treehouses?  Those things were great... You could escape the world and have your very own little hideout... Just a great imaginary (and not so imaginary) world of fun...  What a great gift it could be to give that to a kid... So much better than a x-box, ipad, or some other breakable electronic device...

But building a treehouse might be a royal pain... I mean, I'm not architect and I'm not a carpenter either... So we figured the best way to go about this would be to either hire someone to build it or see if something came pre-made...

Luckily we found what we were looking for... Apprently backyard swingsets come in all types of shapes and sizes... Including ones that have built in cabins (very similar to the treehouses of american lore)... So we figured this was a perfect opportunity to get something built and set up in the backyard wihtout having to resort to drafting our own blueprints (and worrying about safety, a big concern with a little one).

Long story short, Greg loves it, and the installation process didn't take long at all.  The swingset was so beauitful that the installation company actually uses it on their website!

I'd highly recommend you give your kids more things to do outside... It's not exactly the best time of year to be picking up a new swingset (best to do that in the springtime, before the best weather days of the summer and after the cold days of the winter).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monthly Challenge - Learning a New Language

Upon reading the title to this post it comes across as a bit misleading.  Of course I don't expect to learrn a new language in just a month, but akin to Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days" challenges I think taking a new approach to life every month is an important thing to do.

Learning a new language is something I always thought I missed out on as a kid.  I didn't really take to Italian classes as much as I should have (I took it all throughout junior high school and high school).  While I think Italian was an interesting choice (didn't want to do spanish with everybody else and didn't like French at all), it may have been a better choice to just go with the flow of spanish classes, since it's nearly a standard language amonst new york, california, etc.

But now that I'm approaching it as an adult, I almost want to go even further, trying to learn a new language and a new alphabet... Chinese might be the wave of the future (i.e. a billion people and a government buying up all of the US debt), but I always had an affinity for Japanese.  Maybe that will be my ticket to a new and enhanced mind set in the coming few years.  I've heard that learning anew language forces your brain to use more areas that wouldn't be used otherwise.

How would I even get started doing this?  Well, there is the Internet, for one.  They have all types of stuff over there.  I started to do a little research and found an interesting article which breaks down some of the common ways to learn and barriers to learning a new language.  I thought it was interesting so I wanted to summarize it here:

Overcoming Fears - This is a big one, as most people are all amped up to learn something until, of course, they face the first true challenge or difficulty, then they give up.  I have to overcome the fear of failure in order to even come close to succeeding (true in all manners of life).

"Use a combination of resources" - I thought this was interesting because it speaks to the fallibility of textbooks as well as the uncomprehensive nature of conversational learning.  Sure, we all learn our first language just by conversation, but we have to be taught spelling, grammar and reading from books and teachers.  Combining those factors is how we can truly dominate the learning process...

"Don't give up" - Probably the most important factor of all time, for anything, ever.  Just keep going, even when you are sick, tired, depressed and feel like failure is absolutely imminent, this is when you will finally succeed.  I have to learn to remember this one.