Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Cash & Dad's Sixth Year and a Half

The infamous Cash Machine has a cult following at River School. Every time I drop you off, I am harrassed by one of your groupies — a parent, student, a teacher, administrator, whatever — and subjected to an enthusiastic retelling of your latest shenanigan.

Your superstar status is removed from the shy child of your yesteryear. Your former timidity rose from being youngest in your class, but it was misleading, concealing the free radical we experienced at home.

When I am introduced to a River School mom these days, the conversation typically goes something like this:

“Meet Harry Weller. He has two sons that go to River School."

River Mom: “Nice meeting you! Don’t you love that school! I have a daughter in the Pelican class."

Me: “I have a son in the Pelican class too. His name is Cash ..."

The River Mom’s eyes widen, her cheeks flush, she breathes as she says,

“YOU ... are CASH ... WELLER’S DAD ?!"

Me: “Uh, yes, I’m afraid so …"

I begin hearing pseudo-porno-pop in the back of my mind … Da Doom ta ta Mow Mow … Is this River Mom giving me me a saucy look?

The River Mom says, in a deeper, confirming voice:

“Yooou are Caaash Weller’s Dad …"

One thing I’ve learned about River School mom’s: they live vicariously through their daughters. And every Pelican girl has a crush on you to your great dismay.

So, you are a social creature like your grandfather Moore, a motormouth turbocharged by a wicked sense of humor and a competitive spirit stoked by your brother. You were just waiting to burst out, and once we got you properly aged for your class (just like your brother and me), it exploded forth. Boom!

Let me give you a couple further pieces of evidence. We recently flew on a United plane to Telluride and as you sat down you looked over to your seated neighbor and said,

“I talk a lot so you probably better just be OK with that."

Once in Telluride, Rachel took you on a horse ride and the guide noted as the horse started drinking water,

“He’s not drinking, he is drowning himself from the constant chatter!"

The flood of Cashy content isn’t just limited to speech, but comes forth also in writing. Unfortunately, some of your favorite subject come flying out too. Check out this note from XXXX:
I had the pleasure of sitting in the Pelicans today while they were creating short stories and illustrating. Well, Mrs. Petrillo gave them the starter “This is a…” and they had to draw a picture and write a story about anything they wanted. Cash decided to draw a picture of a toilet with some poop in it, then write a fascinating tale. It was hilarious. I died laughing.
I think he was expecting a reprimand, but I told him I have two boys and think poop is funny too. I also told him how much I liked his artwork and writing. He worked really hard spelling each word and used neat handwriting. He gave me a hug. Sweet Cash was so proud. Best day ever. Knew you would appreciate the humor in it, as well as the joy in seeing a child love to write (even if in a non-conventional way). :)
Hmmm. At least some good drawings came out of it.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fall 2014 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Mommy conquers Breast Cancer.
2) We went to Caneel Bay for Thanksgiving!
3) Sailboat "Who Wander" enters our lives.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Lessons, Rush, 2112 (Released 1976)
2) The Daydream, Tycho, Dive (Released 2011)
3) All Night, Damian Marley, Welcome to Jamrock (Released 2005)

Friday, October 31, 2014


Luke & Dad's Eighth Year and a Quarter

You've taught me how to make mushroom trees in Terrairea! While I am conflicted about your obsession with iWhatever video games — is playing with you is encouraging a bad habit or am I really trying to understand where future generations will spend their time and attribute value? — I still find making mushroom trees in what amounts to a 2D Minecraft is pretty cool.

Unlike the games of my age which generally involved jumping over things to get to the next level, your games have a large element of building. Virtual legos. Yes, its pretty awesome.

I do wonder if you are learning as much as you could be in these worlds. Learning is a risky business. When young, we experience a shattering number of failures because we simply can’t do that much. But we learn a massive amount. I probably had too much fun watching you learn to walk … and fail a hundred times!

Yet there is no learning without difficulty and failure. And if you want to keep on learning, you have to keep on risking failure all your life. Simple as that.

The constraints embedded in video games concerns me versus the lessons of the wild in the real world. I think I’ll write a future blog on that alone.

I suspect video games are as poisonous as restrictive, over protective parents however. We can make things far worse by making success too precious. Its a highly competitive age we live in and I find parents are way too concerned with perfection, or the illusion of it anyway.

I can imagine for a kid captured in a parental pressure cooker, a nice release would be a games of constrained risk, an area to build, and a place of relief … from us parents.

I know I need to chill if I want you to be a risk taker. Part of the beauty of failure is the fact that many mistakes lead to discovery. One of my favorite stories, however evolved to mythology it has become, is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin.

In 1928, Fleming was looking for ways to destroy bacteria when, as a rather untidy lab technician, he left bacteria plates exposed to an open window when he went on holiday. Upon his return, Fleming found spots of mold growing in some of the plates and around those spots he found a ring where no bacteria was growing. Something was killing the bacteria!

Fleming worked hard on his mold, Penicillium notatum, and extracted mold juice he appropriately called penicillin. Ultimately, penicillin changed the history of infectious diseases. All because of a silly mistake!

Its funny how mistakes lead to curiosities, curiosities lead to interests, interests to passions, passions to constraints, constraints to solutions, solutions to knowledge. That entire path requires one to be compelled to take risk, to face failure and come out the other side.

The “compelled” part is the most important piece I think, not the risk-taking part. One is compelled to take risk, one is not just a risk-taker in a vacuum. I know that's true of me. I'm a wuss bag until I get an idea in my head. Then I am an unrelenting risk-taker.

So, this gets back to the identifying the things that compel you Luke. Right now its imaginary worlds that take many forms: role playing games, movies, video games, theater!

I’m trying my best to distinguish between what compels you and what might restrict you from taking real risk … including me!



Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Cash & Dad’s Sixth Year and a Quarter

Many experts say the most valuable skill a parent can bestow is a child's ability to fend for himself. Over protecting a child won't do him any favors. That assumes, of course, the children are the ones needing protecting.

Last week, you came downstairs naked, colored all over in yellow Crayola marker. Leaping to the rug towards Rachel, you crawled on all fours with a contorted face and growled to a wide-eyed Rachel, “I am an Alien! Give me cookies or die!"

Before Rachel grocked this scene from Calvin and Hobbes, you broke out of character screaming, “its itchy!” rolling around on a wool rug that is, indeed, itchy, and more so with every moment. The rug turned yellow as your skin turned irritated red. Poor rug.

In our house, everything but the kids requires protecting. We recently visited the Linehans in Philadelphia. Within five minutes of being in their house, you sent a piece of molding crashing down the stairs. I looked at my buddy Chip, shrugged, and said,

“He is the Destructor."

When I learned about entropy, the thermodynamic law behind the phrase “things fall apart,” I never expected the universe to conjure my son as its agent. Lately, I’m afraid to leave you alone in a room; you are a one man wrecking (Cash) machine.

You are not *trying* to break stuff. You are usually trying to make things. Unfortunately, the pieces you covet usually reside as a part of something else, say a piece of Luke’s lego X-Wing fighter. Other times, you break something as you figure out how it works ... by taking it apart. Regardless, your surroundings are yours for the disassembling.

You seem to believe the world revolves around you.

Come to think of it, everything in my experience suggests I am the absolute center of the universe too. What experience do you have that you are not the absolute center of?

The only thing I can really be sure of is that I exist. The sunburn I am suffering right now ensures this whether I like it or not. So, acting as the center of the universe is understandable. Everything else is either an unconscious interpretation imposed automagically by the brain, like sight, or arrived at through the observing conscious mind, like a decision.

Elightenment thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries argued that the individual is the true measure of human value and each of us is entitled to act in our own best interests. So, as center of the universe, should I only act in my own self interest?

Well, sort of. If the self-centric conscious me concludes I can't survive without help, its within my self interest not to be selfish.

Maslov’s first layer of physiological needs include food, clothing and shelter, and today they are provided to me by collective human effort. Humans have scaled successfully due to group behavior, and philosophers from Aristotle to Hegel have emphasized that human beings are essentially social creatures. To them, the idea of an insolated individual was misleading.

Interestingly, the more successful a culture is at creating stable provision for core human needs, the more an individual has the freedom to think and act individually. Said another way, a strong society abstracts away the base needs and frees the individual from the lowest levels of Masvlov’s pyramid.

One of the ironies of this release is the emergence of freedom to question the very society that provides this agility. Our media and intellectuals exercise this freedom every day. In my view, this is healthy if the foundation itself is not forgotten. Like any abstraction, in its effectiveness, it can become invisible and thus unappreciated.

You might ask whether I worship the altar of the individual or the collective. In my mind, they are yin & yang, seemingly opposite forces that are complementary. I experience the world as the center of the universe, but my survival depends on collaboration with others. What ties these ideas together is an observation:

Splendor lies in a single idea created by a man.

The free, exploring mind of the individual is the most valuable thing in the world. A man's original idea is the atomic building block of creativity.

The group is powerful in its ability to piece together and and extend great ideas, but the group never invents the seed. That is the realm of a single mind. However, the collective is unequaled in its power to pull together, build upon and bring to life ideas.

So my son, while you experience yourself as center of the universe, respect the power of the group, and nourish your own ideas above all else. That way, you'll appreciate what you are destructing all the more.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer 2014 Roundup

Summer Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Rachel got cancer and beat it.
2) Our first family trip to Telluride.
3) We hit Duck for the beach.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Top Jimmy, Van Halen, 1984 (released 1984)
2) Flash Junk Mind, Milky Chance, Sadnecessary (released 2014)
3) Rebel Yell, Billy Idol, Rebel Yell (released 1983)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

God's Dice

Luke & Dad's Eighth Year

Rachel’s surgery and recovery have gone well and she is cancer-free. Hooray! We are one minor operation from putting this episode behind us.

Today we are in Telluride, Colorado enjoying some needed time off. Its funny, Rachel always blooms in the mountains. She looks fantastic as she returns to her pre-cancer fitness level. Yesterday, Rachel climbed a thirteen-er with little trouble. She has been impressive to say the least and we are are thrilled she is back in action. I love her very much.

The cancer experience has changed us in many ways. In particular, we find ourselves reflexively pursuing a question:  

What caused the cancer?

Rachel and I have taken different approaches to this mystery, one we know is ultimately unanswerable. Instead of looking backwards for clues, Rachel has peered forward, reviewing the most recent research and identifying the best practices to mitigate recurrence.

She has sharpened her exercise, sleeping, eating and drinking (very little alcohol) practices knowing her body will return the favor. It has. She has come to grips with never knowing the cause and is focused on influencing the future. As they say, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

Where Rachel has been productive, I’ve entangled myself in questions about the nature of “cause” itself. What is cause and does effect always follow it? Many believe things happen for a reason, that events are preordained from an initial set of conditions. Oddly, both theologians and scientists believe the universe plays a very deterministic role.

The scientific method is anchored on causality. If you understand the laws of nature and have sufficient facts, science plays the pool shark reliably predicting the outcomes of a succession of colliding celestial balls. As professor David Wong said, if you have all the preconditions right, “the rest is chemistry!"

This thinking was held until the middle of the twentieth century when researchers started studying subatomic phenomena. The findings in this area, known as Quantum Mechanics, revealed the basic laws of nature as fundamentally statistical, governed by chance. Yes, chance.

If this is unsettling, you are in good company. Einstein himself struggled with the idea that nature could, at its core, be probabilistic. The idea was intolerable to him until the end of his days. Yet, the seeds of this quantum reality were an extension of his own General Relativity Theory.

Early in his career, Einstein observed that light not only behaved like waves as was commonly accepted, but also like particles he called photons. It appeared that light was both wave and particle at the same time. Whether it conformed to wavelike or particulate behavior depended solely on how you studied it. He used photons to explain why atoms, when hit by light, absorbed discrete amounts of energy as if interacting with a particle.

What Einstein didn't foresee was this dual nature of photons would be applied to all physical nature, including matter! Yes, matter too behaved as both wave and particle. Einstein felt that treating matter like light was going too far, saying, "A good joke should not be repeated too often."

His discomfort rose out of the famous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that said the mere act of observing dual natured particles affected what one was observing -- you could not observe both the location and the momentum simultaneously, but rather one or the other. Whatever attribute you measured left the other to uncertainty.

Specifically, if you measured the location of a particle, by observation you could not measure its momentum with certainty. Visa-versa was also true. If you measured the momentum of a particle, the position of the particle is not knowable aside from a probability distribution.

The statistics don't just describe the reality; they are the reality. Barton Briggs was right when he said, "Logical deductions are just probabilistic relationships where the probabilities are really high."

Einstein hated this. He famously said, "God does not place with dice." He believed that the uncertainties physicists like Neils Bohr seemed more and more willing to accept would, in time, be explained by deeper underlying theories. He rejected that the universe, at its core, was governed by chance and did away with causality. And he might well be proved right some day.

In my case, however, I take solace in chance underlying the universe. I don't want my free will to be a grand mirage resulting from a vast chain of cause and effect reaching back to the explosively colliding subatomic billiard balls of the big bang.

And, perhaps, just perhaps, Rachel's cancer too was just by chance. If so, I pray she never gets it again. She has worked hard to nudge the odds in her favor.



Monday, June 30, 2014

For the Birds

Cash & Dad's Sixth Year

The discovery of Rachel’s breast cancer came just two weeks ago. A routine mammogram raised read flags. Shortly thereafter, a talented radiologist, Dr. Linda Brem, probed deeply -- more than usual -- acting on a hunch. She discovered not just one but two cancers in Rachel’s right breast and an emerging spot in her left.

That discovery, born of an expert’s intuition, made Rachel’s path clear. The insides of Rachel’s breasts were to be removed in an operation known as a double mastectomy, a terribly invasive surgery. As horrible as that was, Dr. Brem’s correct diagnosis saved us from multiple cancer recurrences. We well could have taken a less invasive approach, one that missed other cancerous areas.

As I write this, Grandma and I are sitting in George Washington Hospital while your mom undergoes the surgery. The wait is torturous. World War II soldiers described sitting idle before the D-Day as hell before the firestorm. I get it. Its been four hours and we are still waiting word from Dr. Teal on Rachel's progress. God, I hope she is doing ok.

I can’t stop thinking about Rachel. She has feared cancer as long as I’ve known her. Its her worst nightmare come true. Over the last few days, she’s been asking herself over and over: How did this happen? What did she do to cause this? What could she have done to prevent it? Was it caused or determined?

She has researched, looked at genetic markers and so forth to see if she was somehow genetically predisposed. One thing is for sure in this day and age, we are at the very beginnings of understanding genetics. We see genes as individual components to be analyzed, like individual keys on a piano all laddered up in the double helix. If you have X gene in this location on the keyboard, you might have Y malady. Its a simple regression relating a disease to a specific gene.

This all seems too simple to me. Like keys on a piano, I bet groups of genes are somehow performed upon like music, in complex patterns with many genes working together producing life’s harmonies, and like music, somewhat ephemeral from the physical keys or genes themselves.

Consciousness is similar in that its clearly linked to the physical manifestation of the brain organ. You damage the brain, you change consciousness. Nonetheless, consciousness seems separate, ephemeral, emerged from the hardware but beyond it somehow.

But what do I know. I’m just worried about Rachel ...

So, Rachel’s initial surgery was successful and Dr. Teal doesn’t believe the cancer spread beyond where she treated Rachel. We won’t know for sure for a couple weeks, but Dr. Teel was very confident. Rachel now enters into the second phase of her surgery where they begin the reconstruction with Dr. Lambert. I'm thrilled though I know a long road is ahead.

Cancer is for the birds.

In all of this, Cash, you have been a rockstar. Since cancer's arrival in our family in mid-May, you sensed the tension and, unlike your father whose temper sharpens under duress, you've been a soft pillow emotionally for your mommy. You are frequently hugging her and you love "getting cozy" with her. You've eased her fear because she can't look at you without smiling.

I too have been delighted by you in a most unexpected way. You've become a studier of birds taken to calling yourself an ornithologist. I have no idea where the interest arose, but I know our Potomac house is a perfect perch. Luke bought a bird feeder from his allowance -- a contraption that thwarts the efforts of thieving squirrels -- plus the Potomac river below us attracts a great variety of birds both land-based and aquatic.

The fog of cancer is easily burned off by the sight of you running with a camera bigger than your head hanging from your neck to your knees as you chase, tripping all over, some poor sod red-headed woodpecker. The delight spreads to our neighborhood as well. An elderly gentleman in our neighborhood, Mr. XXXX, walks by our house interrupted one of your bird hunts to wish you happy birthday. He taught you this poem by A.A. Mine. Hearing you sing it makes us all forget about the cancer journey we will complete and defeat.
Now We Are Six
When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever. 


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Spring 2014 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Moved to Potomac house!
2) Skiing in Aspen with the Magruders.
3) Memorial Day visit to Atlanta.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Lonesome Dreams, Lord Huron, Lonesome Dreams (released 2012)
2) The Unforgettable Fire, U2, Unforgettable Fire (released 1984)
3) Nostrand, Ratatat, Classics (released 2006)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Luke & Dad’s Seventh Year and a Quarter

In close relationships, personal interplay often falls into patterns that become etched into stone. These grooves have surprising gravity veering one into repeated behavior you aim to steer clear of. You helplessly watch yourself slip down a worn path despite yourself.

My interactions with you are paved with a maze of these sticky behavior patterns. Let’s take mealtimes. For you, like me, eating is a chore — in my old age that might be changing — and, like me, you become agitated if you don’t eat enough protein. Thus, you avoid the distraction of supper only to turn into a Tasmanian Devil!

Fearful of emerging horns, I routinely find myself badgering you to eat, knowing full well how annoying it is, to avoid the transmogrification. Of course, I tell myself to let you be and allow you to starve. Why not batten down the hatches, let the storm pass and hope a new day of hunger will drive you to eat next time? Because I can’t fight the groove and I’m afraid of the monster, that’s why.

Another sequence we fall into rises from your aversion to transitions. You are homebody. Many a great plan has dissolved in the face of your resistance, only to replaced by another Lukanese complaint:

“I’m bored dad!”

What follows is a drawn out process of finding your shoes, administering said shoes, steering you to the car all while weathering withering protest! Of course, once we arrive at the destination and stay the course ... I can’t get you to leave.

A third pattern involves your distaste for sleep. Where Cash crashes in minutes, you fight tooth and nail to avoid the pillow. As I’ve covered in prior blogs, putting you to bed is a slog, containing you to bed is impossible, and your escapes show such creativity that I suspect the same imagination is painting the dark scary. I definitely made you watch Lord of the Rings too early in life. Or, perhaps like me, you just don’t want the party to end.

Anyway, the sleep issue is vexing because not only do you hate going to (or staying asleep), you also don’t like anyone else to sleep. I can’t count how many times I’m slipping into slumber only to lurch awake because your head pops into our bedroom. Even worse, you often wake at o’dark thirty and pitter-patter around the house turning me downright murderous.

Recently, instead of waking to shuffling around, I heard muffled speeches and cheers. What I learned then and there was that, unlike most of our family members, you had decrypted how to use our media controller (once known as a remote, soon to be our phones). The TV was on and you were lounging potato style.

Incredulous, it took me a moment to gather myself. I was interrupted as you looked over your shoulder and said, 

“Dad, you should be flippin houses.”

Armando Montelongo's infomercial was (pseudo) educating you on real estate.

“Dad, you could make thirty-five thousand dollars. Buy the book.”

This would be tolerable if Armando was the only screen-related problem in the house. Instead, screen devices -- any iPhone, iPad, iMac, iTV, iWhatever -- are the enablers of the most frustrating of all my behavioral Groundhog Day (see the movie) traps. If I leave any of device out of my sight for more than one second, the iWhatever disappears.

The cause for disappearances are never clear. My friends describe me as an absent-minded professor, which in operation means quite the opposite, but in either case I’m not paying much attention to my immediate surroundings and where I put things. I’ve adopted mechanisms, like designated areas for day-to-day items, hoping that habit will automatically put devices in the right resting places, areas I call “target spots”.

When things do go missing, I can never ascertain whether the cause is me or the infestation of Sneaky Screen Snatchers in our house. I have, in embarrassingly dramatic ways, wrongly accused members of the SSS of theft, only to discover an iWhatever in my pocket.

To make matter worse, the SSS is waging an intelligence war to uncover my target spots. If there is an iWhatever disappearance, I can never be sure whether poor iWhatever placement was the cause or whether a target area has been compromised.

I'm sinking into a whirling vortex of search and rescue, interrogation, and paranoid target area readjustment which in turn disrupts the habit forming necessary to prevent me from misplacing the iWhatever to begin with.

Along with the loss of my iWhatevers goes my mind.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Sore Winner

Cash & Dad’s Fifth Year and Three Quarters

I wish I could’ve seen it. For several years you were stuck on the sidelines watching your brother play soccer. Being too little to play left you competitively constipated.

With the starting whistle of your first “real” soccer match, you were a horse out of the gates. Pent up competitiveness rolled right over the opposing Maret Marauders. They never saw it coming. 

Score keeping is prohibited thanks to the numbing correctness of DC’s youth sports. I guess that’s why the Maret coach kept insisting the game was a "tie" after each River Rex goal, despite the mounting logjam of Rex goals (and rampant score tracking by players and parents alike).

The opposing coach’s bizarre scoring approach started grating on several parents, but your ever graceful mom and coach was tolerant. I would’ve pointed out that claiming a tie while getting your butt kicked is still score keeping ... with reality distortion. 

You felt the same way. By the tenth Rex goal, you’d had enough. You dropped to the ground smack in the middle of the field in an indignant tantrum about Maret “cheating”. Reminded of the practice of no score keeping, you pointed at the nets screaming about the goals you'd scored! The abstract idea of no scoring in a game whose sole goal is to score didn’t sit well with you. Most of the parents snickered and agreed. The whole no scoring thing is just weird. 

Perhaps its unhealthy, but pride swelled in my chest when Rachel told me. I fantasized running past the Maret coach and kicking the ball into the goal myself, hard, raising my hands in triumph screaming, "Goooaaaalll!" Fantasy is all I muster in this world of political correctness, but I suspect I'm not the only one.

So, your display of frustration resonates with me. Many institutions, from sports to schools, have damped competition to such a degree that it is actively discouraged, as if its a flaw. I get that balance is hugely important, but the pendulum feels like its swung too far. 

Perhaps its my history that shapes my intuition. Grangie tells a story about how I was an average student in elementary school until one day I learned that my friend, John Duncan, was getting straight “excellents” on his report card. Wham. My grades shot to perfection. Grangie says she unearthed, to her surprise, within her shy, skinny, under confident little boy was an intense little flame within. I was (and am) quietly but viciously competitive.

It makes we wonder. 

Its an accepted fact that elementary school boys lag girls in social, behavioral and academic skills. The gender gap has been growing over the years with boys lagging by 0.53 standard deviations by the end of fifth grade according to Third Way, a Washington research group. A lot is made of the gap between poor families and middle class families or the gap between black and white children, but this gap between girls and boys is considerably larger. 

Could it be that boys are wired for competition even at an early age? By making competition criminal, are we neutering a natural propellant for boys and learning? If competitiveness is woven into the fabric of being a male, and its treated negatively in our formulation of “social” or “behavioral” measurement, aren’t we instrumenting the system wrong? 

I think perhaps so … that is, until I arrive home at night to the war cries of sibling rivalry. 

How do I eradicate competition again?



Friday, February 28, 2014

Winter 2014 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Sold the MacArthur house!
2) Rachel went to Barcelona.
3) Rachel's second River School Auction succeeded!

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:


Friday, January 31, 2014


Luke & Dad's Seventh Year and A Half

The crowd gasped as your fist bounced off the wooden board a fourth time. Your karate exhibition at the River School talent show had reached a crescendo but your partner Marlo Brown was failing you. The ferocity of your punches caused backed her off at the apex of your chop.

The pre-Christmas crowd, including Grandpa & Grandma Moore, was nervous on your behalf and screaming encouragement. One last time Marlow lifted the board. A tad too high. You reached out, lowered the board and steadied her. You gathered yourself, paused, and ...


The board cracked, resistance bowing to persistence. The audience erupted! You and Marlow then turned and bowed, the crowd responding loudly to your "never ever give up" moment. The event was a fine encapsulation of the first half of your school year.

As the youngest boy in the Osprey class, you are a bit green socially, physically and academically versus your classmates. Girls often mature ahead of males scholastically. Boys explode bodily at this age, every month making a huge difference. Being young puts you in catch up mode.

Your Weller family traits accentuate this. A thinness rises from my side of the gene pool, most particularly from Grangy. The good news is, combined with the height you've inherited from the Moores, you will be a looker. For now, you are handsome but thin.

You've also inherited my limited attention span on the uninteresting. Most school work falls into this category adding to the incline you face academically. To this day, I struggle with my attention span, but like you I've learned to cope. My parents eventually decided to hold me back one year allowing age to work in my favor instead of against me. It worked and I went from behind to ahead. We are contemplating the same move for you.

Part of our consideration is that you are acutely aware of being slightly behind your classmates. A socially perceptive creature, you are gifted at reading people. So, despite being very well liked, you sometimes struggle with your friends due to this sensitivity.

So we worry about your confidence. At home we see the stress and its heartbreaking to see. Nonetheless, we've tried not to become "the department of helping too much" thereby blunting your own ability to deal with adversity.

In fact, you have evolved an extremely heartening characteristic: Persistence -- with a capital "P".

You've powered forward closing the gap bit by bit. You haven't let your age or your inheritances hold you back. It hasn't been easy or graceful, but you've continued to run the marathon. Its paying off. Dig deep enough in the Luke psychy and you run into stone hard determination.

We are terribly proud of the way you keep chopping until the obstacles crack.