Dumb Nick (1920-2017)


Dumb Nick (1920-2017)


James L. Casale

As a child, he was initially considered a slow learner. Relatives dubbed him “dumb Nick.”  The nickname was retired when, at age four, he defeated his uncle at a game of checkers.

Who reads obituaries?

I do. I especially like to read about successful and accomplished people from all walks of life. I usually find these fascinating stories in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. Dumb Nick turned out to be Dr. Nicholas Bloembergen, one of three scientists who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981 for physics.

He came to America after World War II from his ravaged homeland in the Netherlands. He said he survived the war by eating boiled tulips but, they tasted awful.  He applied to three prestigious universities. Only Harvard accepted him. He became a professor and researcher.

His work with lasers was used on me

That’s right. I’ve had two surgeries that required the use of a laser. He was the scientist who devised a more practical way to use lasers for surgical procedures. He also figured out how to use lasers for computer storage and printing. These accomplishments are more than noteworthy since their applications are world-wide.

Don’t rush to label your child

Children are not people to be molded but rather-as flowers- to be unfolded. Avoid terms such as gifted, disabled, slow, bright, impaired etc. Parents must allow their children to unfold in a home that is committed to raising life-long learners and men and women of character. They may not turn out to be Nobel Prize winners but our schools, communities, and our country needs them anyway.

Dr. Casale is both a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to create a culture of learning at home and guide your child to succeed in school and life. It is available at bookstores and online.

His second parenting book, “Family Pledge; How to raise life-long learners and good citizens”, will be available soon.

He is available as a speaker.

Website – www.jamescasalephd.com.

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