Saturday, December 21, 2013

Making gains....

Part of this blog post is about my #1 son Reid. He's an amazing kid and I'm pretty blown away that he's my son. He definitely takes all the good stuff from his mom.

What's been blowing me away recently is the way he's been transforming himself at school. Reid was diagnosed as a young kid with Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Which means he has trouble processing information the same way as others do. It's been referred to as dyslexia for the ears.

This has caused him to struggle through school his whole life. In fact I was one of the few parents to hold their kid back in the 2nd grade because he was starting to shut down and in my experience when kids shut down the next step is lack of confidence, insecurity and that eventually leads to destructive behaviours like drugs and alcohol.

You have no idea how hard it was for me to fail my own kid. I had to go in front of panels of teachers, administrators and experts to convince them that failing him would be a good thing. I learned they don't fail kids anymore like when I was a kid. It's a much softer gentler world now. Needless to say I told them if they are worried about his confidence and ability to over come this stigma, leave that to me, I'm the parent, I'll take care of that.

Eventually, very reluctantly, they let him be held back a grade. A year later they met with Alice and I again and told us it was amazing the improvement and that I did the right thing holding him back even though it was counter to the research they had.

Reid adjusted so well that he's proud of his failing grade two. He wears it as a badge of honour, as he should. In a world were there is no losers, everyone needs to get a trophy and helicopter parents are the norm flying air cover over their kids lives, Reid learned how to fail early. It doesn't scare him. He gained something in the process, at a very early age, that will benefit him his entire life.

Fast forward to present day. He's 17 years old. He's in high school. He's in some adjusted classes and mostly regular classes. He doesn't like school outside of the social part. For sure he got that from me. He's still struggled and Alice has worked closely with him since he was a kid.

Now before I go to far focusing on grades. Reid is a visual learner and when he puts his mind to something he's unstoppable. Like making movies. The stuff he has done in the past is amazing. He wants to be a director and he knows everything about movies, new and old. He goes to movies like Gone with the Wind at the theatre when they show it and all the classics. You name the movie, he knows it. He's also huge into 70's music. He knows everything about most every director and Quentin Tarantino is his favourite.

I've attached below a couple of the shorts Reid did when he was about 12 or 13 years old. He shot it with a flip camera and edited it himself in iMovie. One of Alyssa's old boyfriends was the actor.

This past month there has been a huge break through in school. Coming off a 17 % in one class something twigged for him and next thing his average is now up to 64%. He had one class presentation he scored 100% on.

BTW, he's  a very common sense and people person. I lost count how many friends he has.

I asked him how he got his scores up so much and he told me on Friday that he figured it out on his own and stopped listening to people and teachers. He decided he was going to learn it the way he figured it out and not the way others tell him he should do it.

I then asked, "well what did you figure out". He verbalized it but it was over my head. Of course part was teacher management and the other was how he was starting to process the work and piece it together in terms he understood visually. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but it's definitely working.

He's also definitely motivated. I know that after grade two one of his big fears is not wanting to fail again. It motivates him. With his current grade in that one class so low it motivated him, he doesn't want to fail. His other grades were not bad, c's and b's.

On Friday night he was home at 11 pm so he could work on 4 units of Math Homework. We went to bed around 1 am and he was still up working on it. He's now a man on a mission. It's like he found the holy grail of how to play the school game and win.

He is motivated to get into film school and knows he has to have specific subjects to do so. He's not taking the highest level courses, but there is a baseline.

The other thing I love about him and school is he doesn't take it seriously. He doesn't feel obligated to show up for classes that he thinks are a waste. If the class is an easy one that day and showing a movie or some spirit week function has shortened the class, he'll just skip out. He doesn't want to waste his time. A perfect attendance record or peer pressure doesn't faze him. He can drop a course if it's too hard or he doesn't like it.

He can see what is really important in the big picture. I wish I had that when I was a kid. I took hard courses because I was too stubborn and proud to go down to a lower level. The result was I took no fun courses or more interesting courses and absolutely hated school. When I think of my school days I think "prison". Up until recently, since moving from a Catholic school to a public school, the word Reid used all the time was school was like "prison".

He ended up failing religion last year and we transferred him to a public school this year, which he loves. He says the teachers treat you more like an adult. I found the same thing when I got kicked out of the Jesuit school I went to and went to a public school. At the public school the teachers were much more normal and treated students nicer, less authoritarian. Then I went back to graduate to the high school out of pride and ego. Again, Reid would never have done that if he was in my shoes, he's smarter than putting himself through more pain and suffering.

I should have predicted he'd be leaving a Catholic school. When he was in grade one or two they had a Christmas exercise where you had to use the word Christmas and tie religious words to it. Reid wouldn't do it. Instead he was into music and put his own spin on it. It's the photo at the top of the page.

It will be very interesting to see where he ends up. He never ceases to amaze me. Nor does my daughter. She's another story I'll have to tell one day. Let's just say I have no idea where she gets her smarts from, she's the top of her University Class, she's in Psychology for the past 3 years and gets awards every year and is in high demand from the Profs for her to do research with them, and they pay her to do it.

It's amazing how two kids from the same parents can be so different.

So Reid's on a roll. I'm super happy for him. Yesterday he heard about some things I was dealing with at work and he told her that I need a Consigliere, like the mob bosses have. I was intrigued, I take what he says seriously as he comes from it from a different perspective and asked him about it today. He told me I essentially need a nerd who worries about everything and knows everything that is going on and can't do anything about it but tell me about it when I need to jump in to fix it. I thought that was an interesting concept and need to learn more about how it would work.

When I ask too many questions Reid rolls his eyes or seems to get annoyed with me because it's so obvious and i don't get it immediately.

I feel really good right now about where Reid's at and where he's going. I'm not cocky about it or thinking we are anywhere near out of the wood yet. Put I'm pretty happy watching this all unfold.

Now back to the rest of my day and training.

After spending about 3 hours making a ring tone from the Russ Meyer Movie Super Vixens, a low budget sexploitation movie from the 70's. All Russ Meyer movies are classics. I hit the gym. Before I did I showed Reid part of the movie. In the credits it showed only one camera man and Russ Meyers, wrote, directed, edited, produced and basically did everything. You can see how Quentin Tarantino follows much of his style of movies. I know on Seinfeld they would reference Russ Meyer movies all the time. Reid wasn't aware of these. Probably because they are some what pornographic. But not really. Okay, really, but they are not that bad.

Today at the gym was another blast the weights session after taking my Beta-Alanine and C4. I can tell I need to take a break from weightlifting for 3 or 4 days. It feels like my joints are getting a little sore and no joke, that my rib cage is breaking open and stretching. They say that only happens as a kid when you weight train and your rib cage is still not yet fixed. I swear it's breaking open. It feels like it. It's a sore feeling in the middle bone.

Again, I'm still pumping unheard of heavy weight. I noticed that we weight I'm doing is in some cases the same or more than some of the muscle dummies in the gym. That surprised me. The only change I'm making to my routine is I'm adding many more exercises for core. I've come to realize how important a strong core is, especially as you age. It was the bane to my injury this year.

After the weights it was into the pool. Without any training pressure I'm starting to really like swimming. I have a 2000 meter routine. I listen to my underwater iPod and I feel good. The weights has definitely helped my strength and speed in the pool.

Post swim it was 20 minutes relaxing in the hot tub begging. It was awesome. It was a Saturday at 7 pm and I was in a zen like state just relaxing in the hot tub without a care in the world. It was bliss and doesn't happen all the time.

Lastly it was movie night. Alice and I went to the 10:20 pm showing of American Hustle. Good movie, I give it a 7 on 10. Great acting. Predictable ending that was unrealistic. But it was good. I'm glad I went.

All round a great day.

Weights - 50 min
Swim - 40:54 / 1920 meters


  1. Reid Rocks!

    Your ring tone however, blows bricks!

  2. Man on a mission
    WTG Reid! keep truckin that is awesome

    what about our MN filmmaker tandem the Cohen bros
    Big Lebowski The Dude!
    Raising Arizona awesome
    No Country for Old Men / True Grit solid
    of course Fargo
    as a film buff Id be curious to know what he thinks of movies like The Man Who Wasn't there & Millers Crossing