Boys Adrift – The crises of young men

International Woman’s day has had me thinking a lot about the pandemic of the failure to launch syndrome.

My children range in age and gender, and I can look around and see this story playing out both near and far.

From Dr. Leonard Sax’s book: boys adrift:

Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, American boys are, on average, less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere twenty years ago. The gender gap in college attendance and graduation rates has widened dramatically. While Emily is working hard at school and getting A’s, her brother Justin is goofing off. He’s more concerned about getting to the next level in his videogame than about finishing his homework. Now, Dr. Leonard Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on more than twenty years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home. He shows how social, cultural, and biological factors have created an environment that is literally toxic to boys. He also presents practical solutions, sharing strategies which educators have found effective in re-engaging these boys at school, as well as handy tips for parents about everything from homework, to videogames, to medication.

Here is another, more recent treatment on the topic:

Meeting a legend! Kevin Mitnick.

23 years ago, on Feb 15th, the worlds most famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick, was apprehended in NC after years on the run from the FBI.  Prompting many, many young hackers and computer enthusiasts (including yours truly) to take up the mantra “Free Kevin”.

A little over 28 years ago, I started my own journey into information security (thankfully never pursued by the FBI), and much like Loyd Blankenship (Hackers Manifesto), Kevin had a profound impact on my young security career.

Today, not only did I get see Kevin in action (POC exploits), but I got to say hello and shake his hand. I didn’t even think about taking a picture, I just wanted to shake his hand; but I’m thankful, someone there said “would you like a picture”.

Thank you anonymous picture taker!

Playing with Python

It’s been 15+ years since I have received a coding assignment, so recently, I decided to try moving in the opposite direction from Assembly, C, and Reverse engineering, and decided to take a course on Udemy for learning python.

So far, it is an excellent course.  If you are interested the course is located here.

The assignment:  create a Tic Tac Toe game in Python.  The results are as follows:

https://github.com/idarthjedi/TicTacToe/blob/master/tictactoe.py

Resurrection of Animals – you ask?

For my Christian friends:

I’m a logical person, I eat animals as much as I have them as pets, I won’t hold to false hopes, but I didn’t hear any logical, biblical, or otherwise, facts offered in the video below that a friend posted.

Do animals go to Heaven?

I think a more complete treatment can be found here:  

Will Spot be in Heaven?

Short version,  man and animal are different, but the bible is (mostly) silent to resurrection of animals.

I would say that I can’t tell what Paul is up to when he claims all of creation groans for resurrection and redemption, especially if it only means complete and utter annihilation and destruction for all created things but humans.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently

What do you think?

Blessings in disguise

Today, I had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus; and I hesitated, and I lost out. I was left with a feeling of love, and wonder and shame.  Here is the story.

You need to have this background first:  I work in an area that is quite a bit run down, in the two years I have been here, there have been stabbings and shootings in the parking lot.

I have recently taken to walking through the parking lot to a gas station half a block over to a Subway.  It’s not the cleanest looking gas station, I feel a little out of place in my dress clothes; but the people are polite, and nice, and the food area is clean and well kept.

Today, as I was walking through, there was a fella outside picking through trash cans; as I walked by, he stood up and started shuffling his way behind me.  Given my background, I have a heightened level of situational awareness; so I watched him closely out of the corner of my eye, and then through the reflection of windows and cars.  No issues.

After I ordered, inside, and had a pleasant and familiar discussion with the ladies behind the counter, this same fella came stomping in.  Once again, my level of awareness increased. He stomped to the back of the store to grab a drink, and then over to the sandwich counter.

To the reply of the lady behind the counter he very gruffly said “I want a sandwich with everything on it”.  It seemed clear he was slightly intoxicated.

As I walked over to pay, racing through my mind was the fact that I knew this fella couldn’t pay for his own food.  Once I ascertained there seemed to be no immediate threat, I tried to rationalize how he went from picking out of the trash to buying a sandwich and drink.  Slowly, in my mind, crept the thought that I could pay for his sandwich, I had the means, and I could see a storm brewing.

As I started thinking through all the ways I could do it, without becoming ‘personally involved’, in less than the couple minutes that I stood there trying to rationalize what I was going to do, and how, an elderly lady came through the door and said over my shoulders to the cashier, “I’m going to pay for his sandwich”.

I was immediately overwhelmed with various emotions.  First, love and compassion for someone who would see a random stranger picking through trash, and instead of immediately viewing them as a threat, and running through scenarios on how to contain that threat, she went over and asked if she could help.

Then, shame, that as a young, relatively healthy human, with means, I would stand there contemplating for so long whether or not I should help, and he had a clear need. The book I bought on Amazon this morning cost more than the price of his meal.  I was rationalizing, because I didn’t want the “messiness” of dealing with the humanity of the situation.

In the end, I lost the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but I got to witness someone, whether in Christ or not, was faithful to their fellow human, to part of the Message.  It was a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps, next time, I’ll stop thinking, and start doing.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

 

He is Jealous for me..

I was recently asked about my relationship with Jesus. I realized that I openly and always share my knowledge,  but rarely share my personal feelings; those intimate areas deep down in the recesses of my heart and soul. 

My relationships are very personal; like my relationship with my wife: I don’t walk around talking about it, and trying to explain the importance of her to me.  It’s such a personal part of me.  Words cannot adequately describe, it is for me, and her, and not for you: I don’t even try. 

Yet, I do talk about what it is like to be married, to have that special connection, that special someone, that safe place to be emotionally, spiritually and physically unclothed and unashamed.

So, while I can’t adequately describe my personal relationships, I can describe what it is like to have them.

If you have such a relationship, you will recognize this refrain; if you don’t, I hope that someday you will be found and enveloped into the most wonderful, indescribable, uncontainable existence.

God chose me.  Not for any merit, not for what I had to offer, before the foundations of the world; He knew me, called me, justified me, and is in the process of making me into the image of Jesus.

The things I do, say and think separate me from God; Jesus is my defense attorney, my friend, and confidant.  He knows everything about me, and still loves me.  He is patient with me in my failings, and compassionate, He provides for my personal, spiritual and family needs.  

How He loves me.

Just below the surface

​My seven year old son, out of the blue, quivering with tears, just came to ask mom why his parents didn’t want him, and soon after, with the same tears streaming down his face, came to tell me:

“thank you, thank you for adopting me, I’ll always love you, so much”.  

Talk about a tear jerker;  I guess some wounds run deep below the surface even when you don’t see them.

Another dark night has passed

I followed the BLM protests in NPN very closely tonight.  I have very close friends with dark skin – some of my children have real dark skin; not the hey-you’re-really-mulatto-not-African, but real, direct-descendants-from-Africa, dark skin.  Yet, whatever your color, if you want to identify with those with ‘black skin’: let me say this: Dark skin is beautiful, but white skin is too; so is every. shade. in-between.

In fact, it’s really the people behind the color that are beautiful, not the color itself – and some people, despite their color, are rotten.  Can you really judge everyone who shares a certain shade of melanin by the actions of other similar shades?  Every person is unique, every situation is different;  It isn’t the skin color that makes you who you are; it is who you are inside and what you do, that makes you who you are.

That said, the racism card is stupid; the distinction based on skin color is stupid: people are people.

As it relates to tonight’s local protests: I have no idea what blocking traffic does to accomplish the recognition that people are people; but I’m glad there was no reported violence – at least that still leaves our local community with the option to move forward with life without fear of continuous reprisals.

I am proud of our community that it remained non-violent; and yet ask of us all: aren’t there better ways?

family_2015

Teach your children at home, to understand that we are all created in His image; formed from the same seed, valued in the same way.  Don’t teach division and segregation.

Independence day 2016

Spending time over the last two years in both Boston and Virginia learning about the revolutionary war and incidiary environment which bred the realization that there could be a better world.

Saw statistics today that less than 30% of our United States of America have faith in their government, less than 15% have faith in their president, less than 5% have faith in their Congress.

Close to 70% do not believe our government has our best interest at heart and close to as many are disillusioned by the corrupt self-serving nature of our government (what we call special interest groups and lobbying).

I don’t have the details available to review the validity of the methods used to gather these stastics, but it speaks to what I hear in society from both the left and the right.

What would the founding fathers think and say?  How do we fix what is so obviously, terribly broken?

Saw this floating around on Facebook today which gave me pause to contemplate this post.

It is not July 4th we are celebrating, it is independence day – yet tyranny and oppression come in many forms.

What’s next?