to teach people something) and instructive, they give insight and promote understanding that is often inaccessible by other means. Because all parents are teachers, parables are powerful in parent’s paws as well.
Life is the stories you can tell…….and often there is a moral to the story.
Two Saturdays ago our fabulous friends, the aMAZing Mayes, again took us rock climbing. Chick scaled a tricky face and then followed an ascending ledge. At the ledge’s ending edge sat a significant boulder that had to be circumvented before one could finish the climb. Somehow Chick found himself straddling the boulder, facing the clear, blue sky. His position was great for conversing but it was not-so-great for climbing. “I cannot see a way up”, he said repeatedly, as he sat there, apparently stuck, “I cannot see a way up.”
Of course he could not see a way up; he was not looking up. He was looking down and out. If we want to go up, we need to look up. When Chick turned, faced the mountain, and began looking, he found a way up and was soon at the top.
Two or so weeks ago I gave my students the final test on the ecology unit. I am fundamentally opposed and philosophically against giving students impossible tasks. In the Teresa Hislop Book of Teaching everyone who earnestly tries should be able to earn 100% on my tests; the test is not easy but it is passable. To this end, I give students very comprehensive review sheets. The tests are long and complicated enough that the review sheet must be truly studied to be helpful—a casual glance will not do—but dedicated study will yield a high score. During the class period before the test I encouraged and challenged the students, promising them high scores, if they would study.
Test day brought a mixed bag of results; most students did really well, thirteen students earned 100%, class averages were 80%, 88%, and 96% for three of my classes. Some students really stepped up to the mark. Two students, in particular, warmed my heart. The two boys, neither of whom were stellar students, both earned 100%. They clearly had faith in my promise and their faith brought forth the promised results. There was a group of students in the fourth class, however, that showed little improvement from pre- to post scores. They failed the test and there was a reason for their dismal showing; they do not think in class and they did not study at home. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
You can lead a student to knowledge but you can’t make him think.”
I was so FRUSTRATED. As I looked at their low scores I found myself agonizing internally. “I gave you everything,
EVERYTHING, you needed to succeed. All you had to do was use what I gave you!”
Suddenly time stopped as an insight pierced my lamentations. It was as if I were experiencing our Heavenly Father’s feelings as He surveys us, His children, and laments over our sadness and turmoil. “I have given you everything, EVERYTHING, you need to succeed. All you have to do is use what I have given you.”
It is true. He has given us everything we need to succeed—the opportunity to converse directly with Him [prayer]; His written word to study and apply [scriptures]; the power to act in His name [priesthood]; covenants that protect us and bind us to Him [baptism, temple ordinances]; a spokesman to reveal His will to us in a chaotic, ever-changing world [a modern prophet]; children of God whom we can serve and who serve us [neighbors and associates]; and, most significantly, a Savoir who, with His example, taught us how to live, who, with His blood and suffering, paid for our sins, and who, by rising from the dead, conquered death, giving all of us the gift of immortality [His Only Begotten Son, even Jesus Christ]. EVERYTHING. All we need to do is use what we have been given.
Knowing that passing the test was within the capability of all my students, I gave those who did not pass the test a mandatory invitation to stay after school and study with me. With proper motivation and individual guidance, they learned the material and passed the test. It took some of them four or five mandatory after-school sessions, but they did it. One young man,
who does have some learning challenges, studied, re-took the test, and scored lower on the second take (28%) than he had on the first (59%). When he learned he had to pass the test before the mandatory invitations ceased, he took the review sheet home and studied in earnest. He met me at 6:55 a.m. the next day (he did not want to stay after school
because it would mean he’d have to miss basketball practice), took the test, and earned 88%. I was thrilled…..and so was he. We rejoiced together.
All of the students who accepted my mandatory invitation passed the test. All of them. Some of them required extensive coaching. With two or three, I had to read the test to them and discuss the possible answers with them. Nonetheless, they choose the correct answers; they passed the test. A few students chose detention over tutoring; they did not pass the test.
Does Heavenly Father give us mandatory invitations? That is a parable for another day……. :)
For now, here are some stories that are certainly less significant and perhaps more interesting.
Chick is accepted by Utah State University. Below you see a photo of him holding a banner that says “Instructions: 1) Place your hands in dotted lines. 2) Raise above head. 3) Run around screaming “I’m in! I’m in! I’m an Aggie!”
Chick turned 18 about a month ago. His levels of forgetfulness and absent mindfulness have not noticeably changed since the landmark event.
The fall plowing is done. Add “Make homemade bread for Doug Terry” to my to-do list.
Mature hens lay about 3 eggs every four days. The 20 hens in our coop should be laying about 15 eggs per day. For the past month I have been getting 1-2 eggs per day. This is not good.
Grace made her junior high basketball team. This is good.
“The Slipper and the Rose”, Roy High’s fall musical production, begins this week. Tanah is the show’s star milk maid. The
play opens Thursday evening at 7:00 and continues Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Tickets are available online at https://www.ezticketlive.com/checkout/eventbdate.asp?id=196 . Prices are $7/adult, $20 for a family of four, $5 for 18 and under and 65 and older. We, her nuclear family, will be there on opening night.
Maricia, Jakob and Sean recently joined the Church. The boys are adorable, active 9 year old twins. [Their conversion story is an interesting one….perhaps another day I will write it as well.] The children sit with us in church and it feels like we have toddlers again; they simply have no experience being reverent and have no idea how to behave in a sacred place. Last Sunday Jakob wanted to sit in our pew but did not want to squeeze past the people who were already sitting there so he simply entered the pew in front of his desired destination, put his hand on the back of the bench, and vaulted. Just like that.
His little body sailed gracefully over the pew and there he was, sitting next to the family. I feared that Bishop Hansen, who was watching from the stand, was going to bust his gut, he was laughing so hard.
Given Aaron Roger’s injury induced absence from the Green Bay Packers and their consequent less-than-stellar performance, , Miles is now voting for the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl. He is still a Packer's fan however. The number one thing on his "I-want-for-Christmas-or-my-birthday-list" is a Green Bay Cheese Head.
Orville Redenbacher’s has specialty lime and salt popcorn that is really tasty.
Tanah looks great in contacts; her eyes are as big as or bigger than her dimples.
Lance likes me.
FYI: Do you know the difference between parables and fables? Parables feature human characters while fables utilize plants, animals, inanimate objects, and/or forces of nature. Now you know.