Monday, March 14, 2016

March Madness

It's the most wonderful time of the year! 
There are shots that are falling 
And good teams go crawling with tears
It's the most wonderful time of the year
Number one seeds should be cruising 
While Mid-Majors are bruising with shear
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Ducks happy and quacking 
While NC is slashing its bracket to fear
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
The Big 12 looks strong 
And my gut's certainly wrong but I'll cheer.
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
The South and the West 
Let's see which bracket is the best to appear.
It's he most wonderful time of the year!
We start with 64 teams
Only one banner will stream and it all will be clear!
It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!!!

Monday, March 7, 2016


I watched a TED talk this weekend given by George Land. Dr. Land was asked to make a creativity test for NASA to help qualify people in the application process and to test on their astronauts. After creating and using the tool for NASA he and his research team decided to try it on children.

They first tested kindergarteners. Their results showed that 98% of the kids test above genius level on creativity. They decided to make it a longitudinal study and tested them two more times. They tested them 5 years later, when they were around 10 years old, and only 30% were testing at genius level.  5 more years later, only 12%.  Just for fun, they went on and tested adults and only 2% were testing at genius level. What does this mean?

First , there was a clear trend. As children get old their creativity diminishes. What causes them to get “dumber”? You could just say they get older and lose creativity. The world is a real place. Life is tough.

Where do kids spend most of their time between kindergarten and adults? School. I’m not going to say learning is a bad thing, but I will pose the question to you: What is the purpose of education?

If nearly all children born with this genius capacity why do they all loose it. Could it be that our school and society take it out of them unintentionally? The school system is about getting the right answer and society is highly based on competition. As children are told they are wrong for not getting “THE” answer, then they perceive are not smart. They would think, "I'm not smarter than Tom who got an A in the front. Mrs Jones loves Tom." Research does show that those who have better relationships with their teacher get better grades. It also shows that there are teacher personalities that work better with certain learning styles. So, Mrs. Jones held my mental state in 3rd grade and Mrs. Smith held my fate in 10th grade.

It’s the same pattern repeating it self all the way through college. If you can figure out what’s important to your teacher then you win! Children are fragile and as they start to see they are wrong, they don’t see the other possible right answers any more, what they thought was cool or important to them isn’t. They have to conform to one answer and one way and it’s usually the teacher's way and thinking. The child only feels dumb for not getting the right answer. They start to separate themselves from the “smart” people and become the “uneducated”. There is more behind that than the one item we have placed on the table (how was our public school system created, why study the subjects we do, how does standardize testing help our kids, how does testing them at one moment  of time help them, focusing on ability not effort etc.)

So, what’s the purpose of education? Is it really for the student? Are they growing or just conforming? Are we creating people or one type of person that if they don’t fit the mold we don’t care? Children are born with the capacity. What if we helped people reach their capacity versus our standard. If we create an environment where they continue to develop their creativity, question the status quo, question what is considered important, allow them to fall and get back up, maybe we can all contribute to society in our own unique way.

I want to finish with two stories as examples:

1)   I’m in a class where we read, “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” by Gottman. We discussed in class the importance of embracing how children our feeling. When they are clearly sad or frustrated instead of saying suck it up, ignoring them, or trying to fix their problem it’s good to say, “I can see that you are upset, and that is ok to feel that way. Why are you upset?” A child can recognize your care or concern by validating how they feel and then following up with trying to understand them. This helps them develop healthily.  Now think back to the kids that feel dumb for doing bad on a test. Are those feelings of inadequacy valid? The teacher that asked us to read this book and taught us the importance of validating emotion asked us to turn to a page in our textbook. A girl who bought a previous edition, because of costs, was trying to find the same information in her book. The teacher asked her to read from her book. She asked for a second while she tried to find it. She said, “You know that is the wrong book. You should have this book.” She then directed a comment for everyone, “Those who do not have this book, it shows in your test scores.” WHAT! Not only was that extremely rude, pointed, passive aggressive, and impatient, but she publicly outted the girl on her grade and made her feel dumb for not having the right page and not doing good on her test.  Does this girl not have the capacity to find the page? No. The teacher demanded performance and a certain time. The student did not perform, thus she was neglected. This is the same pattern that exist in our school system through the test we give and how our teachers move on to new material after.
2)   I was at my brother-in-laws house a while back and we had just finished dinners. His two boys, 3 and 5, were playing with one of those sticky slap hands. They threw it up and it got stuck on the ceiling. They said, “Dad will you get it?” He replied, “No, I want you to try to get it.” They both started stacking chairs to reach it. Didn’t work.  They added a box. Unstable. They took off the boxes and jumped from those chairs. Didn’t work. They started to stack those chairs on the couch. Couldn’t reach it. Seeing that it was unstable, my brother-in-law got up and stabilized the chairs and then helped them reach it. He let them fail. We need that. They tried several different ways that could have potentially worked. In the end dad saw where they were missing and helped them see a solution after they had created a foundation. How empowering for those kids.

We all have the capacity.



Monday, February 8, 2016

Educational Media

Media. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I personally believe it's a two sided coin. Like most things you could make a list of 100 reasons why it does or does not work in your favor. I do however see a trend of people having a perception that media means technology and all they provide: iPhones, iPads, Facebook, Movies, TV etc. All of these things can get a negative wrap for time wasters. I would partially agree. A lot of forms of media today do simply provide entertainment. The catch, however, is that we all use it and we all devour it.

I want to try to make short argument that media is good and that media should be a stronger mean in our school system. What does that mean? Let me explain. What if we had actual video games for learning? What if you were a character and traveled through time and recreate history to learn history? Or what if you grammar worksheet became a new deciphering code to find a hidden treasure? I believe this something that would be beneficial. I am going to do it. Why?

The first argument I believe one might get is, kids are already sucked into these things. You can hardly pull them away. I would say EXACTLY! You can't pull them away to socialize, eat, exercise, or even do their homework. Why don't you bring that to them. Build on the strength. If that's what they like GREAT! PERFECT! Make school entertaining. It's true, not everything is entertaining, nor should be, but it's the world we live in and school is way behind. I believe there is a way to create a game that can displace the video games we know. They can be less violent, more educational, and be used to get them to do their homework. It's a weak argument on my part, but it's a start.

The second argument might be, why are we replacing texts books with media. That would never work. I learned in my Media and Family Development class media comes from the Latin word, medium. It means in between or middle. It is the source by which we produce a message. Example newspaper, books, art, music, etc. Now if this is the case books and video games are on the same playing field. It's simply a friend to the book. It's not to be substitute for traditional learning but a aid to help get with the times and get kids more engaged in what they are learning.

An example, Big Brainz. It is SWEET! It's a game for math. I have been using it with some of my kids that struggle in math. I had them use it to practice their times tables. One of their first test score was a 51 and they are already up to a 71 in two weeks!

This is my passion to bring kids to education in stead of bringing education to kids. Give them a reason and a desire to learn and they will do it on their own. I have learned in my classes that a kid who doesn't want to eat carrots might be annoying to a parent. You know he needs to eat vegetables if he is to survive. However, the kid loves peas! Why who knows why. Give them the peas. They are a still vegetables. Let him it eat the peas don't force him to eat carrots. Kids don't like lectures or boring white pages with black texts. Give them media, just in a the form of peas!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Be of Good Cheer

The Lord said, “be of good cheer, and I will lead you along

The purpose of my post today is to share somethings I learned from reading in the scriptures this week.  I hope you see that the Lord is constant and his plan is perfect.

True or False: We all experience disappointment
I believe we have all experienced a time when we went to an event or party and were expecting to be fed, only to find fruits and veggies on the table. OR, we have all watched our favorite sports team with high anticipation of a win only to see them plummet to an embarrassing loss. Or maybe we have all experienced when a friend or family member canceled on a fun adventure or having a friend or family member tell you they would do something and they didn’t. All these things are disappointing. They leave us sad, hurt, and losing trust and confidence. 

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in schedules, work, finances, school, raising children, planning, and so many more things. In each of these settings it is easy to become disappointed because things don’t always go the way we want. At certain moments in our lives we may feel like there are no answers or solutions to our problems? It becomes very overwhelming at times and can easily lead us to despair. 

President Uchtdorf said, “The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart.”

I know that these moments come into our lives. I have experienced disappointment and I have sunk into despair before. I know when we reach the point of despair we look to God and say as the prophet Joseph did, “Oh God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth they hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries. O Lord, How long shall they suffer.” (D&C 121-1-3)

It’s hard to go through life when all you see is disappointment and the Lord’s lack of intervention.

How do we have hope in God when little seems to go our way?

The Lord said, “And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.”

There Lord teaches us how we can have hope and how we can sustain it.

The Lord made us a promise that the kingdom would be ours. In Hebrews 6:18 & 19 it says, “It was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation (or comfort)…to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.”

What is the hope that the Lord gave us? He said that the kingdom is ours.  That is a promise that the Lord has made and he cannot break. Robert D Hales said, “Those who wonder if their current circumstance or condition cuts them off from eternal life should remember that “no one is predestined to receive less than all that the Father has for His children.”

We know that life after death is a gift for everyone through the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the light of our hope. If we were to lose all we have and all we love we can still have hope knowing that all can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We will live again. Our loved ones will live again and the blessings of eternity, the “riches of eternity” will be much greater than and riches we may hope for in this life.

Let me give you an example of an eternal hope. My little brother has been diagnosed with 22q11 deletion syndrome. It is a syndrome that has autistic like behaviors. He gets hooked on certain things. He gets overwhelmed easily. He has learning disabilities, social disabilities, and even some minor physical disabilities. He has many hopes and dreams. He has always wanted to do what big brother did. In his own way the Lord has blessed him to fulfill some of them. However as a brother it hurts my heart to watch him struggle with some of the most simple of things and watch as sadness over comes him and tears fall down his face. In those moments I wish I could trade my situation for his, even if it was for a moment so that he could experience some of life’s great joys. It’s in those moments all I can do is give him a hug or a pep talk and move on. It’s in those moments that I look to the Savior for help and strength. It’s in those moments I remember what he did for us. He died and rose again so that we might all live as perfect resurrected beings. It gives me hope that one day my brother will be whole and one day he will be perfect.  Because of that I can find peace and I can be of good cheer.

Hope is the desired outcome that is in front of us.  It is something that has not happened or that we cannot see but we can live our lives in a way that we may obtain those desired outcomes.  Things may still seem dark and uncertain but we can always see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If we remember the Lord also said, “be of good cheer, I will lead you along.” Because God truly loves us, he does not leave us only hoping for the light and promises at the end of the tunnel. He wants to lead us along on our journey to our eternal promise.

My wife mentioned how faith was something that takes effect in our minds and hope is what takes place in our heart. The Lord said, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; “

 Revelation is communication between the Lord and us. We need communication with the Lord to sustain our hope. We communicate with him through prayer. He communicates with us through the spirit. We invite the spirit into our lives in many ways. Going to church, reading our scriptures, going to the temple, inviting good media into our homes, etc. Often times I find myself thinking the Lord is going to fix my problems or give me the answer simply because I have the faith to do the things that he asks. Thus our righteous actions are what gives the hope. I have found having that mentality can lead to more disappointment than hope. To find hope we must truly understand that the Holy Ghost is what comes with our righteous actions. The Holy Ghost doesn’t not fix the problems in our lives. It is the tool that allows us to know where to go and what to do. It is the peace that answers will come in the Lords time.

Let me give two examples. When I was a kid and I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time and the answer didn’t just come.  I finished the Book of Mormon and did as Moroni asked to pray and to see if the Book of Mormon was true. After my prayer I had no overwhelming feeling nor did I have a vision. I got up from my prayer a little confused. I knew I didn’t have my answer, but I knew if I kept praying I would. I read and prayed all week. Nothing. A week in the mind of a twelve year old is forever. It wasn’t until Sunday when I went to my first fireside. At the fireside my Dad was speaking. He was speaking on his testimony of the Book of Mormon. As he spoke the spirit filled my heart. It gave me the peace and the assurance that the Book of Mormon was true. Not because my Dad knew it, but because it was the spirit making the connection that this was the answer I had been praying for.

The role of the Holy Ghost in our hope is to allow us to have peace today as we work toward our answers and solutions for the next day. Sometimes it takes longer than a week.

When I got home from my mission dating was not my thing. I only found high expectations of liking someone only to realize that they did not feel the same. After a few swing and misses I gave up. I gave up for almost two years. I let my disappointments turn into despair.  I started to wonder if I had done something wrong. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I just decided in all I was not good enough. I just went through for a long time with my head down. I thought in those moments that if I was doing the right thing then I should being having hope. What I didn’t realize that was during those two years the Lord was leading me along. As I read my scriptures, went to church and the temple I was receiving the glimmers of light. I knew that eternal marriage was down the road, but the road seemed like it went  forever. The Lord was kind enough to send his spirit and pick me up along the way. I’m grateful the Lord didn’t just let me settle. I’m glad he made me work. I’m glad he gave me just enough hope to try.  Because from the moment I met Sheena it was different. She filled my heart like no one else had. It was so easy for me to know. The spirit had shown me along the way who I wanted and what I needed. The Lord gave me the hope I need to make it just far enough so that I could receive the greatest blessing I now have in my life.

Brothers and Sisters my invitation to you is have hope. Believe that God has a perfect plan for you. And when the path seems dark don’t give up. Don’t give into disappointment and despair. Trust in God. Know that you “cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, The LORD will lead you along..

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why I Watch What I Whatch

I was asked in my Family Media class "Why do you watch the things you watch?" One theorist said that the reason we choose to watch certain movies or shows are to:

  1. Be informed and educated
  2. Identify with characters
  3. Entertainment
  4. Enhance social interactions
  5. Escape from stress
  6. a lot more....
I agree that I have experienced each of these at one point and time. So the next question is, what do i watch? Right now I find my wife and I are watching The Flash, Arrow, Parks and Rec, and Brooklyn Nine Nine. 

If I did a case study on myself, I would say that first reason I watch these shows are for entertainment. I know that my wife and I get hooked on the stories. We consistently get on Netflix and watch a few episodes a week because the stories are compelling. We want to know what happens in the relationships. We want to know who the super villain is. We want to know how the good guy prevails. 

The second reason I watch these shows are to escape from stress. The times that my wife and I sit down and watch our shows are at night. We work at a school during the day, coach basketball teams in the afternoon, and in the evening we try to get a little school in. Once everything is done it's nice to relax before bed. We usually choose Parks and Rec because it's shorter and light. It allows us to calm down and laugh a little before bed and remember the world isn't so bad. 

The final main reason I choose to watch these shows are to identify with the characters. I like to watch these super hero shows because I want to make a difference in the world. I can't have super powers or become a vigilante, but watching them make the world a better place makes me want to do the same.

Now the next question to ask is Why do you watch what you watch?