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Nugget # 111 Life Influences from the Movie ‘Front of the Class’!

Front_of_the_Class_posterHi friends,

Hope this has been a pleasant week for you. Recently, I watched ‘Front of the Class’ which is a 2008 American drama film on the life of Nationally Recognized Teacher & Motivational Speaker Brad Cohen. This Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is based on Brad’s book Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had.

This nugget is one where instead of drawing life lessons, I’d like to highlight some inspiring people from the life of Brad Cohen, who have been influential in making him the winner he is today! Brad never let his challenges with Tourette’s come in the way of achieving his dreams.

At the onset of the movie, we find the 12 year old Brad who lives (in Missouri) with his divorcee mom Ellen and kid brother Jeff; get into all kinds of trouble with his dad as well as his teachers at school because his TS tics are unfortunately misunderstood to be his antics!  He is labelled the prankster and in one rather disturbing scene in the movie, he is made by his teacher to go to the front of the class and apologize for his disturbing behavior and promise that he would never to do that again. Brad’s mum, in her quest for answers lands up in a library where she comes across Tourette’s syndrome in a medical book. Hopefully, she seeks professional advice from a Doctor who agrees on her diagnosis (on the basis of symptoms) that Brad may be having TS but informs them that TS was incurable. In an effort to find others with TS, Brad’s mother drags him into a support group. Here, he finds a sorry group of people who have accepted TS as their disability & surrendered themselves to a secondary existence, giving up any dreams of achieving success in life. The only lesson Brad learns from them is never to become victims of TS like them. award

BRAD’S MUM- WHO ALWAYS BELIEVED IN HER SON & ENCOURAGED HIM NEVER TO GIVE UP HIS DREAM OF BECOMING A TEACHER ONE DAY, Tourette’s / No Tourette’s! * [A word to Parents, never underestimate the enormous role you play in molding your children’s future.]

At the beginning of middle school, Brad gets into trouble with his TS and is sent to the principal’s office who invites him to the school concert. At the end of the concert, (which is disrupted by Brad’s TS tics), the Principal calls Brad up to the stage and asks him to talk about his Tourette’s. He addresses the crowd & explains to them how TS was a disorder of the brain & that he didn’t like making the tic sounds any more than they liked hearing them, concluding that all he wanted was to be treated like anyone else. As Brad uncertainly makes his way back to his seat after his small speech, the school applauds him. It is then that Brad realizes the power of education. At this life- changing moment, Brad decides to make teaching his career.

awardTHE PRINCIPAL OF BRAD’S MIDDLE SCHOOL – who takes the time to talk to the boy about the real purpose of EDUCATION [which is to wipe out ignorance with knowledge]; more importantly, it is Mr PRINCIPAL who encourages Brad to educate the school about TS. This encouraging & noble act of his is pivotal in opening a door to a brand new world for him. Brad made that life changing decision that day – to become the Teacher he never had– *[ A word to Teachers, never get so bogged down by the never ending pending deadlines, futile inspections and heaps of test paper books for correction, that you lose sight of  the real purpose of education.]

As an adult, living in Georgia with his friend Ron, Brad’s primary focus is to get a job as a school teacher. He is used to being asked about his pet dog when interviewers call him & hear his TS related barks. We discover his amazing winning attitude as he answers those queries with humor. However, after being rejected in 24 interviews (because of his TS),we find a rather dejected Brad lying on his couch. It is at his darkest moment that Brad’s step mom visits him. Though he is definitely not pleased to meet her initially, her parting remark that ‘he had a gift to teach, and it was not in spite of his Tourette’s, but because of it ‘ gives him the strength to dream again. award

BRAD’S STEP MOM- Even though Brad does not appreciate her visit and doesn’t even make the effort to hide it, yet I love the way this amazing woman leaves him only after throwing in a spark of hope into his otherwise dismal day!  Many a time, our well-intended acts of help may be ignored, sometimes despised. Yet, we can learn from Brad’s step mom, how to do our bit;  irrespective of the response we get and then, just as she did, leave the place a little brighter than it was before. I’m sure that Brad would agree that his step mom on that day , played a major role in encouraging him not to give up, that too just before his final interview.

Soon after this, Brad finally gets his break when he gets an interview call from a school who accepts him (TS & all) & is ready to give him a chance. On the very first day, Brad explains to the children about his constant companion Tourette. He brightens their lives by bringing joy & wonder into it. He especially impresses the terminally ill Heather & helps the problem child Thomas. His out of the box teaching techniques are frowned upon at first but later on appreciated. award

THE SCHOOL WHO GAVE HIM A CHANCE- It is the Mountain View Elementary School, Georgia who accepted Brad and saw beyond the Tourette’s – which is the only thing that the other 24 schools who had rejected him had seen. I salute the Board who gave Brad both the courage & the opportunity to prove himself. We later learn that this turns out to be the schools’ best decision as Brad goes on to win the First Year Teacher of the Year Award in the State of Georgia for their School that year.   *[A word to those in authority, to those who have the opportunity to recruit others. Has prejudice ever clouded your perceptions? Do you have the eyes to see beyond the obvious? Do you look down intimidatingly/critically at that nervous/eager interviewee across the table? Wouldn’t it be better to just cut him some slack, maybe even smile as you remember how years before someone else had sat across you from that table &  believed in you enough to give you a chance?]

As regards his social life, Brad’s estranged relationship with his dad is restored & he also starts dating Nancy, who shares similar musical interests. They hit it off from the very start. When asked about whether his TS noises bothered her, she simply says Not when I compare them to the noises other guys make. You know, like, braggers, loud-talkers, egocentric, humor– challenged idiots.  Seriously, no. Your noises don’t bother me at all.” We can’t help but feel happy for Brad who has finally found his match!

awardNANCY- It’s quite refreshing to see someone who sees beyond Brad’s tics & who hears beyond his TS noises. She doesn’t even seem to notice what is obvious to everyone else. On being questioned about this, her reply is simply so profound. *[The world would be such a better place if there were more people like Nancy who see beyond the superficiality & accept/ appreciate people for who they really are.]
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At the end of the movie, like the cherry on the cake, Brad wins the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year Award for his outstanding teaching & positive role model abilities. His other victories are his Master’s degree; fulfillment of his lifelong ambition (to be dressed up as Homer-the Atlanta Braves mascot) & marrying his sweet heart Nancy in 2006. Now that’s what I call living life king-size!

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Nugget of Life: “Everyone, regardless of ability or disability, has strengths and weaknesses. Know what yours are. Build on your strengths and find a way around your weaknesses.” – Brad Cohen, (Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had)

Have a great week!

Cheers,

Sparky Laurie

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Nugget # 103 Life is an Acappella!

acapellaHi friends,

Hope you are doing fine. This week I’d like to share a nugget that many of us could relate to. Firstly let’s define what an acapella really is: Acapella according to Internet slang refers to “vocal music without instruments.” The first time I heard this kind of music I was flabbergasted. Since then I have been a big fan of all kinds of acapella music.

Click here to hear the first acapella song I heard. It’s made from an old Hindi film song. The song was brilliantly remade using sounds made by voice, mouth and body only. Can you imagine, there are no musical instruments used in making it! Amazing right? 🙂

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This week I’d like to share how much we too are like Acapella singers in our life as we do the many roles handed over to us- a daughter/son, a sister/bro, a spouse, a parent either by choice or chance, a homemaker / a career person, a friend, a writer, teacher, story teller, a cook, a cleaner, a singer, a believer… the list goes on endlessly…. And we can keep adding or subtracting from it. Just like how in acapella, we mainly sing vocals but simultaneously we also imitate the other instruments or sounds to give it the effect of hearing the original track , in life too we may be called to play several other roles in addition to our main role. Just like the acapella singers focus one by one on each sound and then synchronize it with the other sounds similarly we need to give our 100% dedication to each role assigned to us and do it with a spirit of excellence. Later on, we will be able to manage our time and prioritize the things according to their urgency. Sometimes we will have to postpone or even drop some activities from our list in order to live a balanced & stress-free life. Many times we may have to even sacrifice certain privileges just in order to see a smile on another’s face. At these times it may be tempting to ignore ourselves or others, the optimal method is to be able to know when and where to draw the line. Prayer & planning as well as delegation & brain storming with friends & family helps us to do this. Once we have drawn a blueprint, it is essential as far as possible to stick to it. However we need to be flexible enough to incorporate changes as we move along.

downloadThe final result will be the acapella where our different roles are played out successfully & now we can hear the lovely song played in our own unique version. Surely, there will be mixed responses and reactions to the music of our life but as long as we have tried our best and even enjoy or like what we have done, we can lean back and nod our heads to the trendy beat of the song we have always loved!

Click here to hear Pentatonix singing Mary, Did You Know?

guitar-smiley-emoticonNugget of Life: “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest. Heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from Heaven to the soul!”

Have an awesome week!

 

Cheers,

Sparky laurie

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in LIfe, Uncategorized

 

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Life is full of Surprises: VERSATILE Blogger Nomination?

Hi friends,

Life is full of surprises and the best thing about a surprise is that it comes when it is least expected but always brings along with it joy.

My surprise came today evening when a fellow blogger Holly [who writes an amazing blog describing her  travels and adventures as Au pair ]passed on her Versatile Blogger Nomination to me. My first reaction was definitely JOY as I shared the good news with my husband.My second reaction was to look up the word Versatile* since my Blog NUGGETS usually talks about ONE thing –  LIFE. But on looking the word VERSATILE up I realized  that NUGGETS qualifies as it touches  upon a wide range of subjects – literature, sports, parenting, poetry , philosophy, music, history  and draws a parallel of each to LIFE .* Hence it is both “multifaceted” and “flexible” which is the very definition of VERSATILE.   Thanks Holly for helping me realize that by nominating this Blog! 😉 

Now the Rules:

1.  Thank the person who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post. 

2.  Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.

3.  List 7 things about yourself. (end of post.)

These are my recently discovered 15 nominees for the AWARD

1) Sarah smiles awhile:   http://sarahpalma.wordpress.com/

2) My Eventful Life  :  http://myeventfullife.wordpress.com/

3)The Authentic Me : http://diggingher.wordpress.com/

4)It’s a long story : http://bakbay.wordpress.com/

5) Bola Babs : http://bola2008.wordpress.com/

6) Khushboo’s Blog : http://kthadani.com/work-it-out/

7)The Wuc : http://thewuc.com/

8)Baked Stale : http://sinbycosmoy.wordpress.com/

9)Balladeer’s Blog : http://glitternight.com/

10)The Frivolous Rantings of a University Student : http://therantingsofauniversitystudent.wordpress.com/

11)Twirling Girl : http://mysimplemusing.wordpress.com/

12) The Song of Life :  http://thesongoflife.wordpress.com

13)Euphoric Euphoria by Wan Azhar : http://azhardakbaek.wordpress.com

14)Zilch : http://ninasud.wordpress.com/

15)Vilho’s Blog : http://donclimax.wordpress.com/

Now 7 things about me:

Welcome to my world of paradoxes…

1)     I’m extremely simple and yet can be quite complex too.

2)     I’m a people person but not a people pleaser, 

3)     I enjoy friendship but thrive on solitude,

4)     Love the promise of a new day but am a night owl,

5)     Thoroughly organized but  diversely creative.

6)      A true encourager and yet often too straightforward with criticism- …am working on it! 😉

7)     I keep my phone conversations to the minimum and yet could write the longest mails.

Well, that is my NUGGET about me…keeping it short, sweet and simple…

Thanks once again Holly for this lovely opportunity.

Each and every blog above deserves this nomination. Be sure to check them out.

 

Cheers,

Sparky laurie

 

 

Copyright & Permissions: © Sparky Laurie and ‘NUGGETS OF LIFE’, 2011.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sparky Laurie and ‘NUGGETS OF LIFE’ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Comments Off on Life is full of Surprises: VERSATILE Blogger Nomination?

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in LIfe, Uncategorized

 

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