Just Published!

My latest book, I am not a Pest! A Story about Asperger’s Syndrome, has been released for publication today. While it is a book for elementary school students, my wife, Sherri, and I wrote an afterword for their parents. It is posted below.

For Parents

Children face many challenges growing up in our world today. For the child diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, the difficulties are multiplied.

Children with Asperger’s tend to lack the social skills other kids possess, and so they struggle with making friends. Because they often have additional diagnosis such as ADHD and Anxiety Disorder, they have trouble keeping up in school. Routine and consistency are of paramount importance to these children yet so much of life is beyond their control.

These are just a few of the hurdles children with Asperger’s face. I know we can never really walk in another person’s shoes. All we ask as parents is please take the time to educate yourself and your children. Please teach them to befriend rather than belittle.

No one should be defined or limited by a label. There are more Albert Einsteins and Susan Boyles and Satoshi Tajiris and Vincent van Goghs in this world. When we accept others and support them as they are, we give them the freedom to become their best.

George and Sherri

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The Day After Tomorrow – Election Edition

What kind of person will you be on November 9?

I already know some of you will be happy and others will be sad, angry, or very  upset. Some will simply be relieved the whole ornery process is over.

But that is not what I mean.

Will you be a sore loser or a gloating winner? Or, will you be a gracious loser or a victor that extends the healing salve of an olive branch?

Truth is we don’t really need winners and losers, particularly in this election process. Partisan politics is a horrid, divisive force. What we need most are Americans who will roll up their sleeves and work together to make our country work as it should, regardless of their personal feelings over the outcome.

More than ever, we need healers and peacemakers and tacticians who embrace the art of compromise so we can move forward as a whole, undivided people.

So, what kind of person will you be on November 9?

 

 

Why Einstein Believed Imagination was More Important than Knowlwdge

Albert Einstein’s quotes are very popular these days, and some of them have an eerily prophetic voice that speaks, it seems, for the exact age in which we now live. The queer thing that gets me most about Einstein, for all his absurdly astonishing contributions to the strict, hard science of Physics, is that he just never acted all that impressed with knowledge and technology. In fact, he often warned about the negative effects technology could have on people. Instead he went out of his way to extol the virtue and pre-eminence of imagination. Here is the quote:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein

Why would he say that?

Einstein lived in the spectacular golden age of science. Comprehension about the human body, our world and even the universe – from the infinitesimally small to the infinitely colossal – grew at an exponential rate. The information and knowledge gathered in that era paved the way for almost all the great technological advances that we enjoy (or fear) today.

I think Einstein believed in the superiority of imagination because knowledge has a severe limitation. I don’t mean it is limited in that there is still so much we do not know about the universe, for example. Of course there is much to learn, but it is imagination rather than knowledge that allows us to figure out how to do it. Simply put, we were never going to put a man on the moon until someone dreamed it could be done. Likewise, a cure for cancer or AIDS will not be found until some creative soul expands the limits of knowledge and starts thinking, or better, imagining, “what if we do this?”

Imagination fuels the advancement of knowledge; not merely by fits and starts, but by factorial leaps. Is it really a stretch, then, to say this is a great foundation for teaching a child? Learning by drill and repetition bores most children to abject misery. No wonder so many boys, given their propensity for restlessness, especially have trouble in traditional schools. Educators and parents would do well to lead children into asking the big questions (who, what, how, why) and encouraging them to dream, to imagine what is not and to believe they can make a difference.

So if you are wondering if your child’s time is best spent memorizing multiplication tables or studying the planets as opposed to playing with Legos, without a doubt, I believe Einstein would suggest your child build a spaceship.

A Rant of Historical Proportion

I love history. I enjoy the subject so much that way, way back in college I earned a degree in history – for fun. Chemistry was my real choice of study. Yes, I am fully aware I am a geek on a higher level than most can even imagine.

Though I have that degree, I cannot call myself an historian. I am not even an amateur historian. I just love the discipline – like a baseball fan loves the sport.

I’ve recently seen some posts on social media that lead me to believe a lot of folks may not quite understand some basic historical concepts. Or, perhaps they may ignore them for their own purposes, whether that might be political, social or cultural. Here are a few things I find particularly troublesome:

Judging people from a bygone era by today’s standards. We do not occupy the moral high ground on progress (of any kind) simply because we have seen more of it. Indeed, the groundwork for all we enjoy today is the result of the smallest (yet far braver) steps made in the past. To borrow a phrase, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Trivializing the mores and folkways of the past by insisting that, had you been born into a previous era, you would have boldly stood up for the causes you find so dear today. The reality is almost every one of us would have desperately tried our best to fit in. It always has taken incredible courage to be a lone voice crying for change, and the truth is most of us do not have that kind of pluck.

Finally, there is a growing hostility toward organized religion, especially the Christian Church. A lot of the animus is justified. I get that. Still, from an historical viewpoint, you have to dance with the one who brung you, even if there are prettier girls at the club. An intellectually honest person understands the freedoms and progress we enjoy today is a result of the survival and advancement of western civilization, of which, since the collapse of the Greco-Roman world, that ornery, off-maligned institution known as the Church has been its guardian. We do not get to pretend otherwise.

A hundred years from now, the world will be a vastly different place. When the inhabitants of the future look back at our place in history, I’m sure they will think of us as archaic and backwards, but hopefully they will also believe we did the best we could, and will judge us only on the standards of our time, and not their own.