Monday, July 13, 2009

Challenged Beliefs

Have you ever stood up for what you believe even when it was very hard? Tell about it.
     Years ago, about 1974 to be more accurate, I had been a stay at home mother of three for about ten years. I was about to embark on a new experience, returning to college to finish my teaching degree. I had had three years prior to starting my family and was returning to finish my last year which by now had turned into two years because of added requirements for graduation that had occurred in that interium of time. Upon entering, the first classes I was required to take were sociology and anthropology.  In the early 70's life in our world had changed a lot since I had last been a college student. Life at the liberal University of Utah and my conservative Mormon values and beliefs were about to hit a  collision like no other I had ever experienced. My first class was an Anthropology class. the Professor was a very intelligent man with a broad vocabulary and very liberal views. One time I had missed a test and had to make it up. I was to meet the professor and take the test. After completing the test we walked across campus together to eat lunch at the cafeteria.  As we walked, our discussion turned to A description of God. My professor stated: "Who said God is a He? Maybe God is a she or an it. I was shocked to say the least. I attempted a discussion with him on why I couldn't agree with his view, and became extremely frustrated when I was no match for his debating skills and broad vocabulary. I returned home that day discouraged that I was not prepared to defend my own beliefs. Upon discussing it with my husband, he reassured me that I had done the best I could and I shouldn't argue religion anyway. I knew that, but couldn't be at peace about that conversation. I felt I was weak and inadequate at standing up for my beliefs. 
     A few days later, I was sitting in class taking notes for a test. The words that were being spoken by the professor were outrageous to me. Somehow being silent about what he was saying seemed like agreement. I knew that speaking out on my beliefs on the subject would cause me a great deal of discomfort and most assuredly would create a debate in class and I knew I was no match for his vocabulary and speaking skills. You needed a dictionary just to know what he was saying. However, my conscience whispered to me, Dare to stand for what you believe. I raised my hand and as politely and clearly as I could, I said, I just want you to know that though I'm taking these notes for the test and will use my notes to answer the test,  I just have to let you know that with all due respect for your beliefs I cannot believe a word you are saying. I feel a need to let you know that I cannot in good conscience agree with you. Well, what I thought would happen did. I became the object of ridicule. I however felt wonderful. As class drew to an end I stated, "While I respect your right to your beliefs, they are not mine. You are entitled  to your beliefs and I mine. Yes, I passed the class. But if I hadn't it would have been okay, because the feeling within was worth it!  

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Philosophy about death and the after life.

After a recent death in my family my mind has been focused on my beliefs about life and death.
My feelings and knowledge about death stem from my religious beliefs and my study of the subject and my experience with it. Sharing my feelings with you the reader somehow feels as if it would be theraputic, even though we might not share the same viewpoint.  Sometimes we feel like speaking about death because it is such a curious subject, yet other times speaking about it is the last thing we want to do. So I will understand if you find me a bit morbid. 
First , speaking of life, may I say I believe in God and Jesus Christ. This world couldn't have just happened. I believe their is order in all things. I believe Christ is a loving God who gave us the free agency to choose for ourselves. I believe in an afterlife. I think God wants us to be obedient and return to him in the next life. The scripture are  our book of instructions so to speak. The scriptures can be misinterpreted so we must pray about them as we read them. The light of Christ will speak to our minds and hearts and tell us the right way to live. We will make mistakes of course because we are human. We will have trials. We will be tested, we will grow, we will learn, we will experience joy and sorrow. If we will let him, God will be there to comfort and guide us. Then comes death. Death is hard, but not the final part of our existence. We who are left behind feel homesickness and loss.  Upon death the spirit leaves and the body stays in the grave. We either feel that we won't see them again or it will be such a long time we cannot bear it.  In God's perspective of  time our separation will be short.  We feel it is long. I believe that our loved ones who have passed are possibly right here on earth. We just can't see them.  They are busy working for God and checking up on us. Sometimes they are allowed to communicate to us in different ways. God gives us many chances to become more perfect like He is. When we leave this life, however we will be as far along the road to perfection as we have attained to in this life. We will take ourselves with us so to speak. Some of God's children who are  further along will be happily teaching others, just like on this earth. The only difference is they won't have this glorious body.   When the time comes and no man knows when that is , Christ will appear  on earth.  Our bodies will be reunited with our spirits. We will be glad to have our bodies back. Then comes Judgement day. Time to see what place we have earned in the eternities. God will have given us many chances. Will we be happy in the estate we have earned? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Prepared to be a parent

Was I prepared to become a parent? Now as a grandmother looking back, I asked myself that question. Is anyone ever totally prepared? Never! However all the education and tutoring you can have will be helpful. The education of child development classes I had in college were useful as well as the many self-help books I read. And don't forget Dr. Spock.  Studying and meditating on my parents skills helped, but like so many others before me I thought vainly and mistakenly that I was going to improve upon what my parents did. Many times I heard my mother speaking as I corrected my children. My religious  teaching  probably gave me my biggest success. 
     I remember a rather humorous experience that happened to my husband and I as young newlyweds just out of college who thought we had the world by the tail. Fresh from child development classes, and enthusiastic about our first child, we were excitedly explaining how we were going to raise our first son to some of the members of my husband's family. My brother-in-law, a seasoned parent, finally more than amused at our inexperience replied, "I can't wait until this perfect child is born!" We were indignant! When our first son was born he continued to comment each time he saw our son, "So this is what a perfect child looks like!" In the passage of time, he finally put that sarcastic comment to rest and left us to make our mistakes in peace. Finally, with much love, prayer and sincerity of heart, we through trial and error finally raised two sons and a daughter quite well, though not perfect, somewhat like their parents, whose diligent parents raised them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just a note

It's been awhile since I have been here. have you missed me?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Worldly Wisdom Elementary Style

One day my second grade students and I were discussing a story we were reading in our reader. The story was fiction about a world where their was no illness or death. Hoping to start a thought provoking discussion, I ask my class,”What do you think a world like that would be like?” Max, my deep thinker, raised his hand and said, “Crowded!” The moral to that story, Never underestimate a child’s mind.
Another time around Thanksgiving time we were discussing Pilgrims. We were saying that all of our ancestors came from another country, unless we were Native American. At the end of that discussion, I asked my students to follow up with a homework assignment for that evening. They were to go home and find out what countries their family ancestors left to come to America. The next morning only one student had is homework and was very anxious to share with the class his new knowledge. I praised him for doing the assignment and invited him to share. He said with a mischievous grin, “My family is from Mars!” Surprised, I chided him gently, “Now Max, you know that is not true.” “Tell us where they are really from!”
“Really teacher, that’s what my mom said.” replied Max. He paused and grinned as he said, “ Of course, she was mad at my Dad and my brother at the time!”

My Friend Janay

The following story by a second grade student named Janay illustrates one of the many reasons a teacher teaches. One of the Perks of the job if you will. This little Janay and her friend Kristi had been ganging up on a little girl called Christina. Christina was quite a character herself, but after a few days of cruel words and treatment of her at recess, I pulled Kristi and Janay aside and talked to them at length about being a friend. Janay took things said to heart and really gave it some effort. Later in the year for a writing project, I asked the students to write me a story about their friend. This was Janay’s story.

My Friend

My friend helps me when I need help. She helps me when I need to be nice to people, even Christina! She is not mean to me. She teaches me how to be a friend. If I am nice to people they are nice to me. This friend is a real teaching person. She helps everyone. This person is Ms. Riggs.

At the end of the year, she made a cute little memory book as only second graders can do. In it she stated, “ I want to be a teacher, because I want to be like you! I like you and love you. Thanks for teaching me. You taught me how to do Art, Math, etc. You are the best to me.

Such are the rewards of teaching! No amount of money could compensate for this experience.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grandchild Wisdom

     Healthy Thinking.
     My granddaughter age eight was riding in my car with me to the mountain cabin.  We were having a heart to heart talk.  She said, "You know grandma, some people say I talk to much, but I love to talk, so I think I"m just going to keep talking."  I her grandmother who also loves to talk was proud of what I thought was a rather Healthy attitude that she ought to keep throughout her life.

     Too Old to Share
     My four year old granddaughter wasn't happy about sharing her crayons with her three year old cousin. Her older and wiser sister tried to persuade her that sharing was the right thing to do. With her hands on her hips and her lower lip stuck out, she uttered, "I'm too old to share!"