The Dyslexic Advantage

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I was intrigued by this book, because I am dyslexic.  I still struggle with telling certain letters apart, if they are not in the context of a word.  I also have difficulty figuring out which side is my right and which is my left.  Over the years, I developed little tricks that allow me to overcome these problems.

The book gives a brief overview of dyslexia and how the brain of dyslexics processes things differently.  Those differences can create problems in certain areas; however, they also allow people with dyslexia to thrive in other areas.

The advantages or abilities discussed in this book are not in spite of dyslexia.  These advantages are a direct result of dyslexia.

  • People with dyslexia tend to be excellent story tellers and are extremely creative.
  • People with dyslexia have a greater ability to process 3-D images in their brain and determine how those images will function in the real world.
  • People with dyslexia often see patterns, relationships, and associations that are missed by those without dyslexia.
  • People with dyslexia have greater long-term memory abilities, especially when dealing with events or things in a story format.
  • People with dyslexia often have a greater ability to predict future outcomes, based on cause and effect processing.

The authors of the book also questioned labeling dyslexics as having a learning disability.  In reality, those with dyslexia tend to be highly intelligent.  They just process information differently.

The authors also believe our education system is doing a great disservice to dyslexics by trying to force them to learn in the same manner as those without dyslexia.

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

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Jones is one of the main characters in the book.  Jones notices things about people and helps them in times of trouble.  He teaches people how to gain a new perspective on their life.  He shows them how to be the person they want to be.  Many lives were dramatically changed, due to Jones.

A few of the principles taught by Jones are:

  • The struggles of life give us the strength we need to succeed in the future.
  • Read about the lives of great people, read about their struggles, their failures, and their success.  The experience of others is the best teacher.
  • If you continually focus on your needs, you will continually find things you need.  Instead, focus on the blessings you already have in life.  Gratitude will fill your life with happiness and abundance.
  • Happy and enthusiastic people are able to influence those around them.

This was a fun book to read and it’s defiantly a book worth reading multiple times.

Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas

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This is an excellent book.  It’s practical and easy to understand.  Several times while I was reading it, I thought to myself this is great information.  I wonder why these principles are not being put into practice everywhere.

The authors wanted to solve a common problem.  Youth are leaving the church and rejecting their faith, once they hit early adulthood.

What are the root causes?

  • Having a pseudo-faith
  • Being immature in their faith
  • Being green in their faith
  • Using a borrowed faith
  • Being fragile in their faith

The goal is to raise children with a strong faith, an authentic faith.  Incorporating small groups and “leading small” cultivates that faith.  The book teaches, “When we lead small we simply make a choice to invest strategically in the lives of a few over time, so we can help them build an authentic faith.”

The small group leader (SGL) plays a huge role in achieving this goal.  The SGL needs to be present to connect faith to a community.  They should show up physically and predictably.  They should be mentally prepared for the lesson they are teaching.  They also need to show up randomly, maybe at a ball game or other event.  This shows the children you care about them and you are trustworthy.

The SGL is responsible for creating a safe place.  The children need a leader that can lovingly and effectively handle conflict, hard questions, discipline, fear, and other issues that cause tension in the group.  The SGL leads the group, respects the process, and guards the hearts of the children.

The SGL should also partner with the parents to foster an everyday faith and an authentic faith.  Let the parents know what their children are learning in small group.  Honor the parents.  Reinforce the role of the family in teaching biblical principles.

The SGL also needs to make it personal.  Inspire the children’s faith by example.  Show them how to live out their faith in the community.  Teach them how to set priorities.  Also, be real with the children.  They will learn by watching you live out an authentic faith.

Lastly, the SGL needs to move the children out of the group.  Engage the children in a bigger story.  Teach them how to be the church.  When the time comes, help them move onto the next phase of their life.

Leading small is powerful.  When you lead small you:

  • Connect authentic faith
  • Clarify authentic faith
  • Engage authentic faith
  • Nurture authentic faith
  • Inspire authentic faith

The principles in this book can easily be used for any age group and in any setting.  It is a great resource and I recommend it.

Girl Scout Presentation and Skill Overestimation

I had the opportunity to talk to a Girl Scout group today.  I took Blue with me, so I can tell them about service dogs, dog training, and I wanted to explain the differences between how humans and dogs process smells.

I believe the girls are in Kindergraden and 1st grade, so they are really young.  I thought I had it under control, but I am afraid I overestimated my ability to communicate with such a young crowd.

At times, the poor kids looked a bit confused.  However, I think they enjoyed the presentation or at least they enjoyed watching Blue.  I hope they learned something from it and if so I will call it a success.

Now that I sit here thinking about it and how I struggled, I have a greater respect for the adults that volunteer to work with young children.

Kids are Watching

Dawson Elementary was having a Pre-K graduation celebration, when several adults started fighting.  Security escorted the adults out of the building; however, they just kept on fighting in the parking lot.  The police were called to deal with the situation and the school was placed on a lock-down status.

The full story can be found at http://www.whnt.com.

When I read stories like this, my first thoughts go to the children that had to witness the event.

I constantly hear adults complaining about how spoiled children are these days.  I also hear comments about children being disrespectful.  These comments are often followed by advance on how adults need to discipline children to teach them respect and manners.

It is true, children do need discipline to learn how to behave.  However, maybe discipline is not the only thing they need.  Maybe children need better role models in their life.  It’s easy to point fingers at the adults fighting at an elementary school, but that is only a symptom of a bigger problem.

We all need to take a look at ourselves.  How do we treat the cashiers or the wait staff?  How do we treat people that are different from us?  How do we behave when we are cut off by a bad driver?  How do we handle frustration?  Do we use language that is full of hate or disrespect in front of our children?

If we want our children to be respectful, then maybe we should act in a way that is worthy of respect.