Through the Crimson Mirror: Daniel Alexander
Reflections change as we do with age. When looking into a mirror as a child we see might see innocence, fear, unhappiness, joy and a myriad of emotions that we do not understand and try to channel in many different directions. Sometimes we succeed and at other times we fail. Parents are supposed to or we hope they do pick up on our many different moods but they don’t always. A child who is outgoing and sudden becomes sullen should automatically set off a red flag that something is wrong. But, all too often, and I am not saying always, parents are busy with work, their own problems and think their child is just going through some type of phase and will grow out of it.
As we mature and become teens our thoughts, friendships and desires change and we need the guidance of others to answer our questions, keep us on the right path and listen to our concerns. Parents all too often try to inflict their opinions, mores and way of thinking on their children and forget they are entitled to disagree. This is a compelling and thought provoking book that will take readers inside the mind of this talented author and writer to understand first hand his thoughts, feelings and insights on what he feels parents need to do in order to be better parents. Choices are important and the ones you make you are responsible for whether they turn out good or bad. Young adults and teens often have trouble just dealing with their hormones, school, realizing that pretty soon they will be applying for colleges and then entering the work force. This book was written to alert parents to become more aware of these changes, help them to know what to look for to improve as parents and to evaluate their actions as parents.
Pretend that you are behind a two-way mirror observing the actions of your child. What do you see while they are playing, talking and interacting either with a video game or with a friend? Do you hear what they are saying? Do you understand where they are coming from? What about a child playing with an action figure and relating his/her feelings about life, their parents and teachers? Would you understand or get angry if your child felt you never listen to what they have to say and always think you are right? Would you listen or question yourself if your child felt you did not care? What if you looked at things through the eyes of your child? What if your childhood was bleak and you had difficulties with depression, anxiety and fears? Would you want your child to follow in your footsteps? Would you try and make sure you listened, observed and understood? Mirrors don’t lie. What you see looking back at you might be your outer shell but within that reflection their might be some clouds, shadows and hidden secrets that only by finding and creating a clearer focus will your mindset change and your concerns about our children help nurture them in a more positive way.
The way this author presents the information is original as part one is titled Overture where the audience hears the first part of a symphony and sets the tone for the many different movements to come. Within this first section he included information about family, social isolation and the importance and I agree of having the lines of communication open between parents and children. Reading this book, as you must, with an open mind and reading it while you are alone with no distractions. Challenging yourself and your beliefs and sharing information with your children in order to help them grow in a “Constructive Way.” The second chapter is titled Symphony and each section is another movement. Symphony can be defined as “ an elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportion and more varied elements which describes the information imparted in this section beginning with part one The Sonata. Defined in music as a composition for one or two instruments, typically in three or four movements in contrasted forms and keys this section has many different components and focuses on a crucial definition that of What is parenting? The author reveals his feelings, his fears for parents and implies that maybe some or all should be licensed. Next the adagio and scherzo sections which if we read this information in a leisurely manner and slowly to take it all in we will learn the methods, techniques and important support needed to raise children properly. As the elements or movements of a symphony increase in complexity so should the skills of a parent and they should put their own differences and prejudices aside when focusing on issues with their children. If help is needed they should seek it. Give children choices and not hand them the skills they need on a silver platter but help them to develop these skills and learn from them. Choices and skills will open new doors for them and help them to decide on their own what is right for them. I know that my mom and dad were really great parents and learning from my mistakes, and we all make them helped me to grow, make more informed choices and become an educator. There is much more that the author shares on page 23. Scherzo is defined as a movement played in light playful named and allegro at a brisk tempo. The final section allegro sums it up where the author discusses in at a brisk tempo the definition of neocortex and how humanity sets us apart from animals.
The next few chapters reveal information in the form of a play with scenes acts and embellishes on why communication skills are paramount and how not being able to communicate his thoughts and feelings all the time hampered him and caused him to socially isolated. Speaking with your children, listening to them, and learning about their differences will help them thrive. This chapter is very compelling and the author reveals a lot about himself, a relationship that he had with a girl and why it did not work out and the current education system. Some of what he relates I agree with but some I do not. It is true that there is a lot of red tape, canned learning set up by districts, superiors and boards but some educators are creative and find ways to engage all of their students. The author relates why history and geography are really not needed but students need to understand the history of their country, where places are of interest including where they live and maybe the history of their state and read about it. Reading of course to me as to the author is the key to everything. Within pages 33-41 we learn more ending the chapter with what theater goers know as The Intermission which sums it all up.
He continues in the next several chapters to discuss his feelings about the need for higher education, in which areas parents need to focus in order to help children decide on their futures and explaining why communication skills and being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and be heard not just seen is important. Discussing why some teens become involved with the wrong friends and find themselves either using drugs, alcohol of even depressed, taking pills relates a problem that is quite prevalent in many cultures today. The book centers on the author, his failings, his successes and the experiences he had as a programmer, as a manager and now as an author. Would you consider this a self-help book or more of an exploration into this young man’s life, his hopes and his wanting to help parents repair some of the damage that has already taken place in a resourceful and meaningful way. Sharing his research into many well known people whose lives changed because they decided to pursue their own goals and not always through school but maybe learning on the job from a supervisor or manager, helps readers know that not everyone gets ahead by going to school some learn the skills they need by doing them. But, throughout the book he never refutes what his parents did and are still doing for him. He adds his own take on his experiences loud and clear as we hear his voice coming through.
There is still much more in the next few acts and the final chapters dealing verbs, nouns and adjectives. Verbs of course are action words, nouns describe people, places and things, and adjectives are descriptive words. How does this fit into this book? As you read these final chapters you can hear the emotional upheaval within the author’s mind and words. Creating the last few chapters dealing with verbs, adjectives and nouns the author defines in many different ways Communication and Language leading this reviewer to understand the importance of words and who they are communicated. Each section is part of a painting headed by the words brush stroke. Realizing that he knew little about writing her decided to research and understand how we communicate, why we often become prisoners within our own minds and why from a family’s point of view communication is vital. Read this first section on pages 75-94 to learn more and remember forgiveness is a journey, a process and Communication is a key with which we can explore ourselves. Next section elaborates on Effective communication making sure your audience comprehends your message whether the audience is one person, a group or group of people. He continues to define primary and secondary messages and their differences: the first message or what the sender is saying is the primary message. The second will be “whether the sender’s likable in the eyes of the receivers or the secondary message.” Next, he discusses in detail why parents think children are a both, how body language comes into play and the importance of non-verbal communication. Including his real life experiences while doing his marketing diploma what he learned while in the hospital and teaching kids to say they are sorry when wrong. This section is brilliantly summed up on page 113 and titled: Break. Pages 115- 130 focus on an important word Rapport: Without rapport and getting to know someone and feeling comfortable talking with them it makes communication difficult.
Throughout the this last section on verbs, nouns and adjectives the author creates his own painting or colorful pictures teaching both adults and children the meaning of rapport, why shy people might not know how to have a conversation and learning more about communication. Read this chapter and then page 130 titled Critique where is summed up in what you might call it review of what he related. Finally, the last section I will leave to the reader to learn more about secrets and lies and finally as in any courtroom the Verdict which sums up why secrets and come out and the difficulty he had and others have talking to family when you do not have a real relationship and why secrets often mold and shape you. Author Daniel Alexander takes us inside this mind, his thoughts, and his reasons for sharing this insightful, well-researched and interesting book. From programmer to author and researcher everyone will learn what good parenting really is, take away what they want to use and hopefully understand that this is the author’s thoughts, opinions and feelings and of course you, the reader are entitled to your own. Communication: Definitely first rate in this book.
Fran Lewis: reviewer