Time Out for Brainology!

Ever since our family went to the Brain Exhibit that was at the American Museum of Natural History, our whole family has been fascinated with the Brain. I even took an evening course called, The Wired Child back in the Fall at the Museum (where I was literally surrounded by stand-alone brains!). Recently, my Adult Development course got me right back into the brain and its plasticity, with some great readings, lectures, and conversations.
What amazes me the most is how much of an impact our environment has over our brains. It’s Nature vs. Nurture, and I think I used to be more like, “Well, you’ve got what you’ve got (in terms of your brain), and you can only do so much.” Now, I realize there is a WHOLE lot we can do to train and develop our brains and our children’s brain. It’s as much what we actively do or don’t do day-to-day that greatly affects our brains. And thus, Brainology!
I first learned about Brainology from an online Mind/Shift article titled, Discovering How to Learn Smarter by Annie Murphy Paul. Brainology is a program developed by Stanford psychologist and author of Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck. It helps students develop a growth mindset, as opposed to having a fixed mindset. When I learned it was for middle school and high school students, I was a bit bummed out, because I wanted to get Malachy in on it right away. Lo and behold, someone from Brainology saw my blog (after an e-mail inquiry), and said Malachy might be a great candidate for a Brainology pilot! (Thanks so much, Cole!) How awesome is that?
So, now it feels like Malachy and I are taking a Brain Course together! (Thanks, Brainology!) He already wants to sit and go through all the levels in one sitting, but I told him that we need time to let things sink in (especially for me). The program is awesome because it offers a combination of multimedia videos, an e-journal for recording thoughts, an online Brain book, and other online tools that make it fun and easy to learn about the brain. I’m able to sit with him and type some of his responses in. He could type the responses, but he usually wants to get right back to the watching and learning. For me, it’s great to see how much he has learned so far, and we could have some conversations if something needs further explanation. So far, so great! 🙂

Here are some of Malachy’s thoughts on The Brain, after the Intro. and Level 1…
When you learn new things, your brain gets smarter and stronger.
When you touch things or do anything with your body, your brain detects it.
When you don’t have enough sleep, then you can’t think very well.
When you’re doing your homework, you shouldn’t do anything else, like watching cartoons or eat lunch or listening to your CDs.
When you’re reading, you can do writing or drawing to help you learn.

Time Out for Flowers!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations, Wynne! Thanks so much to everyone for entering. Happy Valentine’s to all!

So, 1-800-Flowers.com reached out to me to offer my readers a chance to win a $100 1-800-Flowers gift card! AWESOME! Click here for a fun Valentine’s trailer they sponsored for Hot in Cleveland, starring Betty White.

Over the years, I’ve spent thousands on flowers. Worth it? As Malachy would say, “OF COURSE, DAD!” It’s cool that he’s growing up knowing that romance is alive and well. With Shien’s birthday and Valentine’s within a week’s span, we get to splurge on Mommy with flowers and jewelry! 🙂

According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, they found that 62% of girlfriends and wives reported to be unsatisfied with last year’s Valentine’s Day gifts. I love getting my wife technology gifts, but I’ve learned that if I’m going to give some practical tech gifts, I better accompany it with some flowers, jewelry, or something sweet. With electronics, she’ll usually say, I don’t really need that. The one electronic gift that she has enjoyed the most and used the most is her Kindle. I think for many guys (and some girls, too) flowers seem like a waste of money, because they don’t last. But, there’s something about nature’s beauty, and flowers really do brighten up any room and brings some romance, love, or appreciation, back into the relationship. Plus, the University of South Brittany study found that women are 30% more likely to accept an admirer’s advances when flowers are involved. There’s definitely a Flower Effect to many relationships.  Surprises are good!

Romance is definitely NOT about being practical.  I wrote a little more about it on Prime Parents Club’s site. It’s about appreciating beauty and equating your loved one with that beauty.  Your loved one deserves to be spoiled, right? 😉

HOW TO WIN: First, check out 1-800-Flowers.com’s Facebook page, by clicking here, and check out their new products, along with their Platinum Collection. You could order straight from their Facebook page!  Then come back to this page, and leave a comment about what products you liked, and how you’ll spoil your loved one this Valentine’s! I will select a winner on Sunday, February 12th, at around 12PM EST, using the random number generator (Each commenter is assigned one number).  I will then forward the winner’s information (I’ll e-mail you) to 1-800-Flowers.com, and they will get you your $100 gift card. That’s it.  Cool, eh?

Good luck, everyone!