OK, so “chewing the fat” may not be the right title. It implies a seemingly never-ending, pointless gab session, and my last visit with David was anything but pointless.

In fact, it was rejuvenating.

David Altshuler is an Educational Consultant based in Miami, FL. He has literally helped thousands of students and families in their academic and emotional-growth needs, and is highly-respected in our field. And, he’s a really good friend.

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending a Saturday afternoon with him. Surviving his days on the road through the Utah landscape on popcorn and lots of water – he had gone off sugar, an example I should probably follow – he made it out to Kaizen Academy to see the program, and reconnect.

I really enjoy having consultants and families come out to see us, because I believe we’re not only really good, but we’re authentic in our desire to help others, and it’s palpable. You can feel the goodness. Two subtle, yet powerful signs of a good program are 1) happy, engaged kids, and 2) caring, attentive staff. I love it when people see that. And feel it. (OK, admittedly, it’s a bit extreme to expect that kids in a residential treatment center are always happy and engaged. They’re not. But there IS a difference between an environment where it appears that the majority of the kids are a bit miserable, going through the motions, etc., vs one where there are smiles, healthy activities, and a sense of hope. Kaizen is definitely the latter).

I also love having visitors, because – selfishly, I suppose – it’s always good to learn from others as you hear their story. And, it’s even better when old friends can reminisce in the process.

After we toured the facility, we sat in my office…and talked. I felt like it was a pro-bono therapy session, but with a Master Clinician who truly understood. Lots of laughs, and even more words of wisdom later, we wrapped-up a long overdue re-connection session.

Before parting ways, I asked if he would sign two of his books that I had purchased – it’s always cool to have the author’s hand-written inscription! Though humble, maybe even hesitant about it, he obliged. THAT was actually a very funny “inside joke” moment that I won’t get in to, but I’ll never forget it 😊 #personallyinscribedagain

I have a recommendation: get to know David Altshuler! If not personally, check out his books. Or, something you can do right now is go to his website: www.davidaltshuler.com and sign up for his weekly newsletter. It’s just the right blend of humor and no-nonsense advice on navigating the often bumpy road of parenting, learning differences, troubled teens, and more.

Thanks David! I’m looking forward to the next session!

Clark Hammond