Shy

According to Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Jerome Kagan, shyness has been found to be an inherited biological trait that can be detected in infants as early as four months. There are a number of factors that can help individuals overcome their shyness, so it isn’t necessarily a life sentence. Kagan’s research found that only 25% of children that exhibited extreme shyness as children will be extremely inhibited as adults. This should be good news for the shy introverts that believe they always will be.

Free Typeface: Chasic New

Last night, my youngest son, Chase, had an unusual request. While reading one of his ‘Big Nate’ books, he commented on how time-consuming and difficult it was to make a comic because of all the illustration but especially – the hand lettering (he had worked on his own comic page earlier in the day, so he was talking from experience). He asked if the ‘pros’ had their own typefaces based on their handwriting to make the process easier. I told him, ‘most likely’, and he followed up with, ‘that would be cool to have my own typeface’. I told him he could.

An hour or so later, we arrived at the typeface that he named himself: Chasic. I made some modifications and added to his character set, but thought, why not offer it to anyone who wanted to use it. I asked his permission, of course. If you’d like to download it simply click on the hyperlink below. Enjoy!

Chasic New.otf

ChasicNew

Homework

backpackIt could be a bit of an exaggeration, but lifting my eldest’s backpack could be considered a rep in cross-training. Since the new high school policy — if you’re not a freshman — is ‘you don’t get a locker unless you request one’ he’s essentially lugging his locker on his back to every class.

Parenting Millennials

wardbeaver
I probably sound like Ward Cleaver when I remind my children how rough our lives were compared to theirs. It’s apparent that every generation has a horror story to tell their children to make them appreciate how good they have it. Ironically, we still make it a goal to want better for our kids than what we, ahem, ‘endured’. That kind of makes the infamous ‘when I was your age’ series of ‘walking to and from school, uphill, both ways’ a weak anecdote to garner their sympathies as we negotiate their comparative luxury. In the end, I think we, as parents, learn more about sacrifice than our kids do.

Holy Moses

moses

I had the opportunity this evening to spend some time with the kids at Legacy United Methodist. This month the kids have been talking all about ‘Creativity’ so my wife, Suzanne, (Kid’s Ministry Director and frequent favor asker) asked me to come and demonstrate how to make a ‘flip book’ animation for the kids using 3″ x 5″ cards. The story tonight was about baby Moses and how he was found by Pharoah’s daughter floating down the Nile in a basket. As the kids worked on their flip books, I drew a more mature Moses parting the Red Sea. All the kids asked me if I was planning on doing another animation with this drawing. It was a cool idea, but seeing how long the simplistic basket animation took I told them they’d be waiting a really long time… like ’40 years in the desert’ long.

moses2

Drawing on Reading

Reading_Steps
Author Jim Karn and I visited with Northridge Elementary fourth graders today about the process of writing and illustrating books. I had the opportunity to illustrate Karn’s book, Little Jimmy’s Life on the Farm Stories, and lately he’s been very active about sharing and promoting it. I’ve been fortunate to attend a few readings with Jim and talk to audiences about the creative process I used to create the illustrations.

Today’s visit was extra special, and really only happened because of a very insistent fourth grader – my youngest son, Chase. He’s been begging me to visit his class for months and has been boasting to all his friends about the work I do. Some days I really take for granted what I am blessed and able to do but on days like today I’m humbled at how proud he is of me. I thought it was fitting to show the students how proud I am of Chase and his love of reading by sharing prints of this illustration. Though I never once told the classes that the boy in the illustration was Chase, everyone assumed it was and he became quite the celebrity. Needless to say, it was quite the experience. I’m glad he encouraged me to do it.

Gen X-Box

Generation XBox

If the repeated complaints of my boys were to be believed — that they were the only kids in the world who didn’t own a game system — then it would be reasonable to assume that I was the only dad in the world who didn’t. Well, no more. With my excuses waning and their piggy banks bursting, we agreed to let them joyfully buy their way into the majority. With this ‘box of Xs’ commandeering so much of our only television’s on hours, I knew it would only be a matter of time before my woefully inept gaming skills were exposed.

I dodged the bullet for a week before my oldest son managed to coax me into playing with him. Ever the sports competitor he eagerly popped in Madden ’12 and quickly handed me a game controller. This clearly wasn’t the simple joystick I grew up with. My sweaty hands nervously held the wireless package of buttons, triggers and controls. Overwhelmed and intimidated, I sluggishly meandered through the set-up menus with my son’s help and before long the game was underway. I felt like a passenger plucked from coach, in the cockpit of a 747 barreling down the runway, getting last minute instructions from the pilot on how to fly.

‘Dad, remember to hit this button to go back, and this one to pick which play you want. All those numbers and letters on the screen are the buttons you should press to make the play.’

‘Oh’ was thankfully all I managed to verbalize. After three consecutive delays of game, I began to lose it. Clearly frustrated, I reiterated over and over how I didn’t know what I was doing. How the controller was too complex. He simply repeated the advice he gave me earlier but added, “and do it fast before the play clock runs out.”

I probably wouldn’t have made it through an entire game had it not been for his encouragement (and pointers). In fact, I was starting to feel pretty good about my progress and after four quarters we were tied at 6-6. With ten seconds left in the game, his QB threw an unbelievable hail mary pass to his wide open receiver who quickly sprinted his way towards the end zone with my defense nowhere in sight. Then the strangest thing happened. Right before my eyes, his receiver stopped short at the one yard line, backed up three steps and jumped out of bounds. After I called shenanigans on his ‘mercy move’ he quickly put me out of my misery in OT.

I don’t mind admitting that my 12-year-old son ‘powned’ his old man in football. I’m okay with it. I’m proud of the fact that he had the patience to teach someone as clueless as me on how to play his games. I figure with a couple weeks off for Christmas break I should get better with that controller.

Tee Ball

I always thought the game of baseball was exciting. Why does this not seem to be the case with six and seven-year old tee ball? Most of the poor kids, if not completely oblivious to what’s going on around them, seem genuinely bored with the game. Granted the hitting and fielding are certainly on the modest side of paltry but there are things to watch for. It would seem that most infielders are captivated by just how much limestone they can kick up from the baselines before being reprimanded. In fact, I witnessed my youngest filling his glove with the golden dust so that he could hurl it at those opponents that ran by him at short stop. I’m pretty sure that skill wasn’t covered in practice.

Fun Diversion

Our little beavers love the sight of water running in the gutters. Who can blame them? If they’re not recreating in the curb-side river with their leaf boats then they’re diverting it with little twig dams. It’s one of the first times a child realizes he can enjoy as well as influence the effects of nature. At some point, of course, the dam bursts and nature prevails but then every little boy kind of likes to see wanton destruction anyway so it’s a win-win situation.