Jack's Christmas Gifts
From Around the World

I have had three of my own children and granddaughter.  I have helped them to walk and talk.  I taught them a great deal as the developed into adults.  After all that is what a parent's job is along with loving them and caring for their physical needs.  I enjoyed that experience.  Besides, I am proud of them.

In addition, I have gone to college, graduate, and post-graduate school.  I have also taught at the college level for about two decades.  As a student and instructor, I understood that I was to learn and to teach.  With all those decades of educational experience, I missed a critically important lesson about learning.  I totally missed the drive that toddlers possess in their wanting to learn about the vast world that lies before them.  I was so enmeshed in the teaching process that I never took note of their sincere desire to learn as very young children. 

Then when Jack came along five years ago, things changed.  I noticed his desire to know.  "What are you doing?" was the single most enlightening question for me when he was three years old.  I was teaching an online art history class, and he noticed a painting on a PPP that I had put together.  I told him that it was a famous painting.  Jack toddled off only to return several minutes later and asked the same question about another painting. 

I thought to myself that if Jack wants to learn art history, I'll teach him.  He knows four or five dozen paintings and their artist.  In addition, he knows about fossils, space exploration, and the naming of Dreadnoughtus.

Owen who is now three and has begun the same learning process.  Jack's favorite painting is Marc Chagall's I and the Village, and Owen's is Vincent van Gogh, The Drawbridge at Arles with a Group of Washerwomen.  They both have a print of each painting in their bedrooms and have a letter from Chagall and van Gogh talking about each of their paintings.

This Christmas, Jack received Claude Monet's The Garden at Sainte-Adresse.  Since I live on a lake, when Jack saw Monet's painting, he said that it looked like my backyard.  In Monet's letter, he explains impressionism to this eager learner.


Christmas 2015


Dear Jack,

Your papa talks about your knowledge regarding famous paintings all the time.  Additionally, he has shown you my painting of The Garden at Sainte-Adresse, which I painted in 1867.  When you first saw this painting, you said, "That is Papa's backyard."  It does look like his backyard at one's first impression

When I painted years ago, I often said that I would like to be blind and seated in front of an easel with paint and brushes in hand.  Then magically, I would be able to see and paint my first impression.  Hence, the name of my movement, impressionism

I know your favorite painting is I and the Village by Marc Chagall, but remember The Garden at Sainte-Adresse. 

Description: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/images/hb/hb_67.241.jpg

In the meantime, Merry Christmas and many more.

Paint well young man; paint well.

Description: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Monet,_Claude_1840-1926_04_Signature.jpg

Claude Monet

He also got some fossils from Charles Darwin.


Christmas 2015


Dear Jack,

Merry Christmas.  It amazes me just how much you have evolved into a young man.  Your papa talks and writes about you all the time.  He is so very proud of you.  When I was young, I had ten children and almost as many grandchildren.  I know how he loves you, because I love my children and grandchildren.

I gave your papa some fossils that you and your brother will enjoy.  I want you to have a tooth from a Spinosaurus maroccanus, which means "Moroccan spine lizard."

Description: http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/250/f/e/planet_dinosaur___spinosaurus_by_mx-d4968ue.jpg

I thought you would love one of this dinosaur's teeth.  It was found in Morocco and is about 95-million years old, which is older than your papa or me combined.

My other gift is an ammonite found in Madagascar.  It swam around about 100-millions years ago, which also was around the time of the dinosaurs.  You have one already, but this one is cut in half so that you can see the chambers that evolved as it grew up.  Hence, this ammonite evolved into what we call the chambered nautilus.  I hear that you even drew a picture of one and know the poem, The Chambered Nautilus, by Oliver Wendell Holmes.    

Take care,

Description: "Charles Darwin", with the surname underlined by a downward curve that mimics the curve of the initial "C"

Charles Darwin

Jack also received a letter from the Dalai Lama and a kata.


Christmas 2015


Dear Jack,

This is a kata, which Tibetan people give to special people at special times.  You are a special person, and Christmas is special time for you and your brother.  Sometime, I would like to give you a kata.  This is how I would do it.

Description: http://www.phayul.com/images/news/articles/07102811324032.jpg

My brother, Dr. Norbu, gave your papa a kata, which he took to Lhasa, Tibet and presented to the Shakyamuni Buddha.



Put your kata in your room; it will remind you that you are a very special person.

༄༅།།ལོ་གསར་ལ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས་ཞུ།,

Description: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/Dalai_Lama%27s_Signature.svg/1280px-Dalai_Lama%27s_Signature.svg.png

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

Description: C:\Users\Owner\Dropbox\Lindsay\xmas papa 010.JPG

I put Jack's kata on him while Owen watches.

Jack also received a nussknacker from Santa's Chinese elves who paint Bi Lien ornaments. 


Christmas 2015


Jack,

Your papa wanted my elves and me to make you a special Christmas ornament like Owen got last year.  He suggested that we would make another nussknacker family that looked like this. 

Description: http://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod20/dw/image/v2/AAID_PRD/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-pier1_master/default/dw796abd68/images/2936495/2936495_0.jpg?sw=1200&sh=1200

Do you know what nussknacker means in German?  It is German for nutcracker.  Your papa has one that you have played with up in Crown Point.  So we made a nussknacker for you.  I hope that your daddy, mommy, and Owen like it also. 

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

Take care,

老人

Shèngdàn


Credits for the photos:
Spinosaurus
Christmas ornament
Painting
The kata


The Hand May Be a Little Child's

"The Hand May Be a Little Child's"

Visit the "The Hand May Be a Little Child's" page to read more about this topic.

12/28/15