Sunday, September 24, 2006

College Application I

I like to share my experience as my son is going through the college application process. This has become one of the most daunting tasks for young people today.

I came across a message from the Office of Admission at Stanford University. It was beautifully written. In the message, it asks students to reflect on their personal goals and values and not to package themselves as what they think Stanford wants.

I believe the same thinking goes for parents too. We need to reflect on how to support our children's goals, to develop their characters and not to be distracted by how we can help them get into the best colleges.

The whole message can be seen here

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Daruma Doll

We learned about the Daruma Dolls when my older son was taking a Japanese culture class during middle school. His teacher asked every student made one from paper. The doll has no arms and no legs. It has two empty circles for eyes on his face. You can see an excellent description of Daruma Doll from Wikipedia at

According to my son's teacher, Daruma Doll is used for goal setting. Using black ink, one fills in a single eye while setting of a goal. The doll is then placed in a prominent location to serve as a constant reminder about working hard towards that goal. It helps the person determine and focus. When the goal is achieved, the second eye is filled in.

The goal for my son's doll was to achieve 1400 SAT scores at 8th grade. He had the doll's one eye filled and after several months he was able to fill in the 2nd eye. I could still remember how proud and exultant he was.

Later we purchased quite a few dolls and use them for truly challenging and serious goals for our children. The kids were able to fill in the 2nd eye a few times now. The Daruma Dolls in our family become a symbol of determination, persistence and glorious success.