5.31.2007

Boosting Your Child’s Brain Power

HappyNews.com has a great article today regarding kids' brain power. Here are ten things every young child needs to boost his brain power ( and none of them relates to food or has anything to do with money!):

1-Interaction.
2-Loving Touch
3-Stable Relationships
4-A Safe, Healthy, Environment
5-Self-esteem
6-Quality Child Care
7-Communication
8-Play
9-Music
10-Reading



If you are a parent and want another great book to read, I recommend reading a book called; CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Handling Your Fast-Paced Life, by Edward Dr Hallowell

Stung By Bee


My oldest son was stung by bee today. We found out later that he has allergic reaction to it. Fortunately, he is fine now, but we have to be careful so it won't happen again. Here is his dialogue with his doctor at the Emergency room.

Doctor: How did it happen?
Son: I was catching bee with my hands!
Doctor: With what?
Son: With my hands, I always do. I like catching them with my bare hands.
Doctor: Hmm.....Why do you that?
Son: I like them and I like playing with them.

5.28.2007

Humility

How many times during the day do we feel pain because our pride is hurt? Or we try too hard to "look good" for others and we fail and we get hurt? Well, Martheiu Ricard, a Buddhist monk has this to say:

"Pride, the exacerbation of self-importance consists of being infatuated with the few qualities we posses and, often, of imagining ourselves to possess those we lack. It hinders all personal progress, because in order to learn we must first believe that we do not know.

Humility is a forgotten value today’s world. Our obsession with the image we have to project of ourselves is so strong that we have stopped questioning the validity of appearances and endlessly seek better ways to appear.

What image should we project? Politicians and movie stars have ’’media advisers’’ whose job it is to create a favorable image for their client with the general public, sometimes even teaching them how to smile. Newspapers are devoting more and more space to their “people page,” with grabby headlines on “people in the news,” their ratings of who’s “in” and who’s “out”. In all of this, what place is there for humility, a value so rare that it might almost be consigned to the museum of obsolete virtues?

Humility as an attitude is essentially focused on other and their well-being. Studies in social psychology have found that people who overvalue themselves present a higher than average tendency toward aggression. People who consider themselves superior judge the faults of others more harshly and consider them to be less forgivable.

Humility is a quality invariable found in the sage, who is compared to a tree whose branches, heavy with fruit, bow to the ground,. As for the conceited man, he is more like a bare tree whose branches rear up pridefully."


Selected excerpts from Happiness, Chapter 18.

5.26.2007

Positive News

People are tired of watching non-stop negative news on their TV sets. I don't advocates not covering the bad news, which is a part of our reality but it must be balanced by covering the "positive development" news in the world. The current news media gives you the feeling that nothing good ever happens, and a lot of people are doing awesome things that should be credited. I often said, if I had billions of dollars, I will start up a new media company focused on the good in this world, so I was happy to find that there are website out there, but you just have to look for it. Here is a partial list that I liked and if you know any other ones please let me know:

The Good New Now
Happy News
Good News Network
Positive News Media; this is actually focused on Asian news
Global Giving; Focused on best practices and innovations in individual philanthropy and social investment around the world.

I will try posting selected news from these sites on my blog on weekly basis that will inspire, move & touch us all!

5.24.2007

The News



Tired of the bad news!

5.23.2007

Smartest Pig


I just finished helping my younger son with his homework. We were reading Charlotte's Web book where the pig (Wilbur) was looking for someone to play with him. He asked the lamb and this is what he said:

Lamb: "Certainly not", I am not interested in pigs. Pigs mean less than nothing to me"

Pig: What do you mean, LESS than nothing? I don't think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It's the lowest you can go. It's the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, then nothing would not be nothing, it would be something - even though it's just a very little bit of something. But is nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is "

I had to laugh so hard, I thought this was the smartest pig ever, and don't you come across people like that Lamb all the time? and when you do, remember to answer like that pig. No hard feelings!

5.22.2007

International Wisdom

Here are a list of interesting proverbs from around the world. I was telling about these Proverbs to a friend when he said that Germans have this proverb; "A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs ". Hmmm, what do you think?

Without justice, courage is weak. - American

A closed mouth catches no flies. -Italian

A good husband is healthy and absent. - Japanese

A man does not seek his luck, luck seeks its man. -Turkish

You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. - Rwandan

A single Russian hair outweighs half a Pole. - Russian

He who wants a rose must respect the thorn. - Persian 

A table is not blessed if it has fed no scholars. - Yiddish

A journey of a thousand miles is better than studying a thousand books. - Taiwan

If you stay together, you will live. If you separate from other people, you will die. - Korea

There will be a day for the oppressor when he will be crushed like garlic. - Palestinian

Talk does not cook rice. - Chinese

Be first at the feast, and last at the fight. - Indian

When you drink the water, think of the well. - Finland

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. - African

He who laughs not in the morning, laughs not at noon. - Greek 


5.20.2007


I packed more boxes today. As I put each item in the box, each one of the held a special memory. I am enjoying my packing. I finished packing all the books today. Some of the books I could not even remember reading; some I recalled every moment of it. I enjoyed finding dried flowers among the pages and/or little notes from my kids when they were younger. Anyway, here are some more underlined quotes from some of the books I packed today. Enjoy!

"We in ancient countries have our past- we obsess over the past. They, the Americans, have a dream: they feel nostalgia about the promise of the future."
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

"Memory has a wonderful way of separating the wheat from the chaff. There can be some great event, and ten, twenty years later one realizes that it had no effect on one whatsoever."
Embers by Sandor Marai

"Never have men had so many things in common - knowledge, points of reference, images, words, instruments and tools of all kinds. But this only has increased their desire to assert their differences."
Identity by Amin Maalouf

"The whole of Creation, is some dance God is doing, and we're meant to step into it, that's all."
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

"it is useless to have good seed unless it is in good earth," said the sheik amiably.
"Perhaps, master, you would like to hear my adventures?"
"knowledge is not gained by numerous narratives but through following knowledge and using it"

Arabian Nights & Days by Naguib Mahfouz

5.19.2007

Packing


We are moving to a new place until we remodel our house. So I was packing today. While putting my books into boxes, I was going through them and reading passages that I had underlined before. Usually when I read, I underline thoughts that I like and sometimes looking back I wonder why did I underline certain sentences? It's fun to go through old books. Well, here are some quotes that I found tonight, I hope you like some of the sentences and maybe, in some ways will inspire, move & touch you.

"No man knows how bad he is untill he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in."
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

"Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them,they prove to be many colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus. From the mountain you see the mountain. We animate what we can and we see only what we animate. Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them. It depends on the mood of the man, whether he shall see the sunset or the fine poem.
Experience by Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Is there a direction and meaning in lives beyond the individual's own will? Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan"
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

"Salt- the only rock we eat - has mad a glittering, ofthen surprising contirbution to the history of humankind.
As generals from George Washington to Napoleon discovered, war without salt is a desperate situation. In Napoleon's retreat from Russia, thousands dies form inor wounds because the army lacked salt for disinfectants."

Salt, a world history by Mark Kurlansky

Funny!

5.17.2007

THE NEW POLITICS OF KNOWLEDGE

"In the Middle Ages, we were told what we knew by the Church; after the printing press and the Reformation, by state censors and the licensers of publishers; with the rise of liberalism in the 19th and 20th centuries, by publishers themselves, and later by broadcast media—in any case, by a small, elite group of professionals.

But we are now confronting a new politics of knowledge, with the rise of the Internet and particularly of the collaborative Web—the Blogosphere, Wikipedia, Digg, YouTube, and in short every website and type of aggregation that invites all comers to offer their knowledge and their opinions, and to rate content, products, places, and people. It is particularly the aggregation of public opinion that instituted this new politics of knowledge. "


says LARRY SANGER, co-founder of Wikipedia, recently started a new competitor, the Citizendium, or the Citizens' Compendium.

Continue reading here.

Orphans

It melts my heart looking into those eyes, begging me to help.

The images and characters of Kite Runner are hunting me since I finished the book. The book is just a novel but based on true facts. Your heart and soul aches as you go through the stories. The story mostly takes place during Taliban era in Afghanistan, and you wonder how can a country crush and damage the soul of their own people and their next genenration, while the rest of the world watched?

5.16.2007

America


Just finished reading Kite Runner, I have more to say about the book later, but just wanted to share this additional quote:

"America was different. america was river,roaring along unmindful of the past. i could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me some place far. Someplace with no ghost, no memories, and no sins.

If for nothing else, for that, I embraced America."


Kite Runner, Page 136

5.15.2007

Water is life

Join "Water is Life" project with World Vision organization. It's for a great cause!

"And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you he shall not lose his reward"
~Matthew 10:42

5.14.2007

"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors"
~ Kite Runner, P 21

5.12.2007

Mother's Day

My adored sons,
Thank you for making me a mother. It’s me who has to acknowledge you for giving this fortunate title to me. I am the one who has learned so much from you. You have strengthened my faith, you have given me peace, filled my days with humor, glory, strength, and abundance joy.....So here is to you both:

Look up, up, up
Into those billion billion sparkling stars.
What dreams do you find?
Little dreams, big dreams.
Each a hope looking for a life to make it real-
A life like yours

Be a dreamer.

With everything around you.
With everything before and after you.
With everything that IS you

~Susan Bosak

Illustration by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

5.10.2007

Raising a child

" If I had my child to raise all over again......


I'd build self esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger paint more and I'd point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes, and fly more kites.

I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging, and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love of power, and more about the power of love.
"

I wish I knew, who said these words so I can give them a credit. I read them when my first Son was only 2 years old, and these words have been etched in my mind. It has helped me a lot and I hope it will help you too.

Source for the pictures: here, here, here.

5.09.2007

Virtue of wise men

The simple person lives the way he breathes, with no more effort or glory, with no more affectation and without shame...Simplicity is freedom, buoyancy, transparency. As simple as the air, as free as the air...The simple person does not take himself too seriously or too tragically. He goes on his merry way, his heart light, his soul at peace, without a goal, without nostalgia, without impatience. The world is his kingdom, and suffices him. The present is his eternity, and delights him. He has nothing to prove, since he has no appearances to keep up, and nothing to seek, since everything is before him. What is more simple than simplicity? What lighter? It is the virtue of wise men and the wisdom of saints.

~Andre Comte-Sponville, selected from the book Happiness.

5.07.2007

From within

"The outward freedom that we shall attain will only be in exact proportion to the inward freedom to which we may have grown at a given moment. And if this is a correct view of freedom, our chief energy must be concentrated on achieving from within."
~ Mahatam Gandhi

When will the world listen? its not about ending war "overthere", it's first about ending wars within.

"One who is at peace with herself will contribute spontaneously to establishing peace within her family, her neighborhood, and , circumstances permitting society at large."
~ Mattieu Ricard

5.04.2007

Oceans


The ocean is probably Rumi's favorite image for what it is to live in the world. It requires a different kind of breathing and a different kind of movement. The water we dive into lies deeper than the land we walk upon. Here's another example of the ocean metaphor; Rumi says:

The Ocean will not allow its fish out of itself.
Nor does it let land animals in
where the subtle and delicate fish move.

The land creatures lumber along on the ground.
No cleverness can change this. There's only one
Opener for the lock of these matters.

Forget your figuring. Forget your self. Listen to your Friend.
When you become totally obedient to That One,
you'll be free.
(Longing: 35)

More Oceans here at Sunday Scribblings.

Way Of Being

Here is another quote from the book I am reading, Happiness:
"We have to understand that we are enormously resistant to change. I am talking not about the alacrity with which our society embraces superficial novelty trends, but about a profound inertia with respect to any genuine transformation of our way of being. Most of the time we don't even want to hear about the possibility of change, and we prefer to sneer at those who seek alternative solutions. Nobody really wants to be angry, jealous, or swollen with pride, but every time we give in to those emotions, our excuse is that it's perfectly normal, just a part of life's ups and downs. So what's the point of changing? be yourself! Have fun, get anew car, a new lover, have it all, get high, but whatever you do don't touch the essence, because that calls for real work. An attitude like that wold be perfectly justified if we were really satisfied with our lot. But are we? "

5.01.2007



Made my annual pilgrimage to LA Times book festival last weekend with my boys. Finally I bought my copy of Kite Runner . I think I am the only person in the world who has not read this book yet, after all, this book written by an Afghani doctor was the top 10 selling book in 2006!