The Truong Family

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How to Stay Relevant: Rick Warren

A New Way of Living

Excerpted from p.221:

Most of us accept the challenge to effectively, wisely, and morally engage with life in this world with the expectation, at least the hope, that blessings will follow. A few accept the invitation to live their lives in this world as He directs and enables, with no stronger wish than to hold His Name high.

If we build on the first foundation, the flesh, our core passion will be for blessings, whichever ones we vale most. And our core experience, beneath whatever else we feel, will be pressure, the  pressure to live a certain way to get the life we want.

If we build on the second foundation, the Spirit, our core passion will be for God, to know Him and honor Him in any circumstance. And our core experience will be freedom, the freedom to draw near to God across a bridge we neither constructed nor maintain. And in that freedom we’ll discover both the passion to live well and the wisdom to know what that means.

Living by the flesh

  1. Core Passion: I live to be blessed.
  2. Core Experience: I must get it right so blessings come.
  3. Core Strategy: I will figure out what to do and do it.
  4. Core Hope: I expect good things to follow.
  5. Core Attitude: My will be done.

Living by the Spirit

  1. Core Passion: I live to know Christ.
  2. Core Experience: I come to Him to celebrate His glory.
  3. Core Strategy: I will trust His provision.
  4. Core Hope: I expect to become like Jesus.
  5. Core Attitude: Thy will be done.

The Genius Of Raising Brilliant Kids: A Conversation With Jack Andrakas Parents – Forbes

The Genius Of Raising Brilliant Kids: A Conversation With Jack Andrakas Parents – Forbes.

The ‘theory’ of raising brilliant kids

Independent learning. I almost always have them learn by doing and by making controlled mistakes.  And in the process, they think through the problem. When they are stuck on a problem I come over and make them show me what they have done and most of the time they find their problem by just explaining to me what they have done. By explaining things, it makes them think deeper about it and this works with almost all of their problems.

A single-minded focus. Focusing on a particular project is very important in achieving higher goals. When you focus just on a specific goal or problem and ‘wrap your head around the goal’ it opens up all kinds of creativity and problem solving.  It’s amazing when a child goes from a feeling of powerlessness to one of mastery.

Engage in your child’s project–even if it’s over your head. Both our children have eclipsed us in knowledge on specific topics and also with their mathematical skills. However growing up they have always known Dad to be the one who can help them with their Math.  So, I follow along, ask questions and let the textbook guide some of our discussions.  Essentially, I give support, show interest and direct them to use other resources. However, I always try to follow up with them and have them explain their progress. I found that showing an interest by listening, asking questions, encouraging research and reporting back teaches them to solve their questions, encourages them and teaches me something too. When the roles are reversed–I become the student and my child becomes the teacher–I know it’s a success.

Limit rules, encourage independence.  We have ‘minimal rules’, but nothing that stifles creativity. Basically, you can sum it up simply: treat people with respect, do your homework be honest and try to be safe.  Having too many rules burdens down the entire family and limits thinking.

The ‘practice’ of raising brilliant kids

Theory is fine for the text books.  But Steve and Jane offered up some ‘rules to live by’ to help guide every mom and dad that wants to have their child to end up speaking or living in The White House.

  • Have your child do the thinking, limit how much you do for them in solving a problem. If you are the person wrapping your head around the problem and solving it, your child isn’t.
  • Ask as many questions as they ask you. With the wealth of knowledge on the internet have them start looking up answers and doing research.
  • Get them involved with the right peer activities. If they have a competitive side, encourage them to compete on math team or debate team or art competitions. Winning in these type things boosts self esteem. Also, see what other higher level competitions exist. Often, the school may not even know about these other competition. Remember, you are you child’s best advocate and resource. Don’t wait for the school to present your child with opportunities
  • Model the result you want. Build things and be creative! It’s not all crunching numbers.
  • Be involved and stay connected. Every day we ask our children what they did in school. We also use the parent connect tool to always know how they are doing and to say on top of issues and challenges.
  • Set early expectations. Our kids know that they are going to college. They have known this since they were in elementary school.  We have bookcases of college guides, books on best colleges, how to get in certain schools and other information. It’s a process that starts early.
  • Success needs to be a shared goal–shared by the family and celebrated by the family.  If your child is finding success in an area that you may not be familiar with, you still must encourage and support them.  Success brings confidence and your support means everything.
  • Live outside the box. Petty rules stifle creativity. You can tell you child to think outside of the box, but if you have boxed them in their entire life, they have no creative reference point to begin with.
  • Teach your kids that most problems in this world are really opportunities in disguise.  Innovation comes from discontent. Start when your child is young and keep a list of problems to be pondered or solved. Then, when it is time to do a science fair or other project, you’re ready to go! That’s been very successful for both our children.

Snow Day!

For years we’ve been talking about taking the kids to the snow, but haven’t gotten around to it.  This year it finally happened!  With another family joining us, we headed up to the mountains to a little place north of Sonora.  This was the first time any of our kids has ever played in the snow, so it was definitely a memorable trip.  We brought our sled that we bought for $5 at a garage sale many years ago, and it was definitely worth its value.  They kids loved sledding, making snowballs, and playing in the snow.  By the end of the day, we were tired, wet, cold, but happy!  Now that we know how much fun it can be, we’re looking into investing in some snow gear and heading back to the mountains soon.  Here’s a video of our trip:

2013 New Year’s Challenges

In years past when I was younger and more idealistic, I would try to be intentional about setting and fulfilling new year’s resolutions.  For the most part, I was able to accomplish, if not begin working towards, many of my goals in the course of the year.  As I get older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve come to realize that setting goals is more important than ever because life seems to go by faster, thus a greater sense of urgency to leave an impact and legacy in this world.

There is considerable evidence that suggests a strong correlation between expectations and achievements.  In other words, people usually end up where they expect or close to it.  In archery, if you’re aiming for the target, you’ll most likely hit it or get close to it.  Without a target, there’s nothing to focus your attention or energy.  As a result, you’re aimless.  In life living aimlessly is a result of not having goals or targets.

I haven’t had much time to think through what I’d like to focus on this coming year, but I got an email from a former friend and pastor who posted a set of “challenges” for his church for 2013.  I thought they were right on in terms of how I’d like to live or strive to live in this coming year, so I’ve adopted them for myself.  Here’s my list of targets or challenges for the various areas of my life for 2013:

  1. Spiritual
    • Read or listen to Bible for 10 minutes a day at least five times a week.
    • Read six Christian books.
    • Be still and silent at least 10 minutes a day.
  2. Professional
    • Publish two articles or book chapters.
    • Present at one national conference.
    • Attend leadership training.
  3. Financial
    • Use 40% of earnings to live.
    • Save 30% of earnings for retirement.
    • Give 30% of earnings to charity.
  4. Physical Health
    • Walk 30 minutes a day at least twice a week.
    • Maintain current weight of 142 pounds (+/- 3 lbs.).
    • Get to bed by 11pm
  5. Community
    • Share a meal with others (friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.) at least once a week.
    • Continue with TDT monthly dinners and grow as a group.
    • Serve larger community via LifeLine and Gateway.
  6. Family
    • Take each of my kids out on a date at least once every three months.
    • Date my wife every Friday or as much as possible.
    • Prioritize family during weekends, holidays, and vacation.

May God help me make some of these ideas will become a reality.

Yummy Vacation

Since we live in the middle of nowhere, good food, especially Asian, is hard to come by. So whenever we go on vacation, one of the things we most look forward to is eating good food! On our recent trip to LA, we had authentic Cantonese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, among others. Five pounds heavier, I can definitely confirm that it was a yummy vacation =)

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A movie about a bad guy who is good

I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.

In the annual Hsiao white elephant gift exchange, Timothy won and lost movie tickets, and thanks to Agon, got the tickets back. We went to see Wreck It Ralph – an arcade game character who is a bad guy who wants to be good. In the end, he realizes that being true to himself is the best way to be good, as opposed to trying to be someone else.
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