iM a moRMon, yES, i AM, if YoU waNT to StUdy a MorMoN, Im a LiVINg speciMen
it's about time
LDS Humanitarian Services Current Needs
When You're Finished Changing, You're Finished.
...a crazy day and a half on an airplane coming home from Japan. Silly boy.
'Will you, um, marry me?' I haven't seen you in weeks! You don't look happy or excited about the prospect of our marriage! You're asking me to give up my - my freedom, my joie de vivre for an institution that fails as often as it succeeds? And why should I marry you anyway? I mean, why do you wanna marry me? Besides some bourgeois desire to fulfill an ideal that society embeds in us from an early age to promote a consumer capitalist agenda?
I have been reading a book called the Greatest Thing in the World. It teaches that Love is the greatest thing and gives you 9 ingredients for the Spectrum of Love, being: patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness, sincerity. I really have enjoyed this book.
I have really had a lot of fun journaling each day. Sometimes I feel like I could fill a page with all the things that happen each day, the kids say cute funny things and we are blessed so very much. It is hard to only pick a couple of things in the time that I have to write. I have gone years sometimes without writing anything, so it has been nice to get back into the habit. I think of all the catching up I do on email with family and friends and think that I will begin to copy and paste some of the funny things I share with people each day and keep them for my history and records. I have to remember to print each page in case of a casual disaster with the hard drive. These memories mean a lot and will be a treasure for my family someday, and for me if I get the old age memory loss that runs in the family. I feel like I have it now. If I don’t make notes for myself I can’t remember anything. Today was a really nice day. It was nice to have the whole day to enjoy my family, not having to run Jake and Zoe home. I did enjoy having them and missed seeing my sister and the twins. I hope Sheri got the rest she needed this weekend and gets feeling better soon.
Monday, October 23, 2006 Nice to have a quiet day. I am trying to get caught up on a few things. I had a Math test today. I got 100%. I am finally really getting the hang of this.
Busy, thankful for all the activities that we are able to do. Kids are happy and active. We are positively blessed with health and happiness. We have finished working on our family activity. We made a family tree with all the handprints of our family members. It was a delightful activity and made me really think of how blessed we are.
I finished reading the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I found the strongest message overall was in the statement that Fletcher made in the end to his new students in the beginning of their lessons, "you've got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your thought itself." When I read this statement after engaging in the text of the book reflecting on my life and what I have hopes of it struck me....I am nothing more than my thoughts....and that to me was the message of the book. What we believe ourselves to be, no matter if others outcast us, no matter if we fail and make mistakes, in it all it is our thought itself that matters. I really enjoyed reading this book. There were many moments that impacted me; many thoughts that I had to engage and reflect upon during the reading. One was that I must allow others, including my children, to discover for themselves what it is that they dream and love. There is nothing normal or secular in any ones life, we must all decide for ourselves. There is meaning to life, and when others refuse to see then we just need to move on, be content and happy with our individual dreams and live. Love and kindness are essential values and we must be willing to help others out. If we are living our lives and others see that we reflect our values, they will begin to wonder and want to know and learn. That is the way. I loved when Jonathon taught Fletcher to be forgiving of the flock when they outcast him. He said, "Don't be harsh on them, Fletcher Seagull. In casting you out, the other gulls have only hurt themselves, and one day they will know this, and one day they will see what you see. Forgive them, help them to understand." The bottom line for me was then Jonathan said, "Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too..." Fletcher did not truely believe yet, he was tired, but Jonathan kept teaching and encouraging him. I get so discouraged with myself everyday. This book was a really good opportunity to see that there is potential in everything, not giving up and continuing to learn and dream will eventually elevate me to heights that I have yet to discover for myself. I heard a story once about a young boy heard someone say come to the edge and jump, and he said I can not for I will fall. Come to the edge, he was told again and again. And he said again and again, I can not for I will fall. He finally did come to the edge and jumped, and he flew. We all have wings but we have to be willing to come to the edge, to face fear and hardship with determination, only then will we realize that we have wings. This was such a great book. I have given it to my brother to read.
I have decided that I am going to keep my responses to this course as part of my journal, I feel that I am really pouring my heart into the discussions and even the quizzes. These are really a part of what is changing me, so I will be doing the assignments in my journal and copying them to the discussions. (Discussion responses in italics.)When I initially took the test my score for family was fairly low. This really puzzled me. I looked back at the questions that I had answered low and realized that the questions were posed regarding feelings toward parents. I chose to reanswer those questions arking Not Applicable to me and my score changed that Family was the highest value. I did some thinking about how my upbringing has so influenced me and how I feel or view things and that I have so overcome some of those challenges that what would have seemed to be my lowest value, was actually my most important value. I felt that the values scale was very accurate for me. It also helped me to recognize some areas that I would like to work on. One being physical. I realize that I have a great influence on my children and the things they see me value become important to them. I have mentally made a goal to work on representing physical aspects that will help me to feel better and also to have more mental and emotional energy. The lowest scores on my test included wealth and renown. I agree that these are the least important values to me personally, but in writing my paragraph I spent the most time evaluating the question on wealth. This puzzels me still. I also feel that I very much enjoy praise and being noticed for my accomplishments, but I think that I am not necessarily motivated to do things for that praise, which made me feel really well balanced. I do things because of the pleasure I get from them, not because of some good mark people will give me. The most prominant innaccuracy that I found was in the initial reading of the value of family which I was able to really learn something about when I went back over that part. Again, I think that it was innacurate because my gut reaction to the question was to score it low on the questions that regarded parents, I did not think first about myself as a parent or how I view parents in general, only my circumstances. This was really interesting to begin the course and I am sure that I will reflect back on what I have recognized in myself throughout the process of our many assignments.
Yesterday afternoon went great. I had forgotten that I had a dinner in the evening. Brian came home and did the dinner for the children and I had an evening to my self. It was lovely, and refreshing. This afternoon was the usual chaos, Sam has chess from 3- 4 pm. Gavin has Newspaper at the same time. Clarissa has to be to Piano at 4 pm, then I get her at 5 pm and Sam has piano from 5 – 5:30. Clarissa and I had a bridal shower from 6 – 8 pm and I had a neighbor go into labor and ask me to keep her son overnight, so we have Guy here. He is two. Gavin had Young Men’s from 7 – 8:30 pm. The kids are finally settled down and I am looking at our crazy schedule today and thinking I am now quite sure how I do Wednesdays. I know for sure that I appreciate the calm days after having crazy ones like this. The positive thing is that I am healthy and capable of doing all these things to help my family and others. My sister is so ill right now she is struggling to recover from her babies births and really not able to take care of her family. I feel so much sorrow for her with the babies in the NICU and she is not well enough to go to them.
Thursday, October 19th, 2006
Clarissa had a play date today, it was nice for her to have someone to play with, in all the craziness of our life right now. The kids are preparing for a piano recital. I really enjoy hearing them play the piano so much. It has such a calming effect on our home.
Friday, October 20th, 2006
Sam and Clarissa have a fieldtrip this morning. I am thankful that Brian has a job that allows him to do so much with the children and their activities. He is going to go to the field trip with both of them today. We have a Halloween party this evening, and two parties, two soccer games, scouts for Gavin and such tomorrow that it will be a crazy day. My brother Jake is driving up this weekend to give me a break from the driving that I have been doing every weekend.
Today is the SCC meeting for Wasatch Elementary, we have quite a large agenda. I just hope to get out of there my 4:30, it will most likely be more like 5 pm. I am thankful that my kids are so great at the meetings. They really do have respect for what I take the time doing in their school. It is great, their homework is done, they have a snack, and we go home to dinner and a quiet evening together. This is my positive thinking that all will go as usual, no surprises today.
FRIDAY THE 13TH! I love this day. I only wish that I had realized it was coming along and planned a party. How appropriate, and in October. We went to help my sister out today. Gavin actually had a Scout Service Project that he spent the day doing. My brother came back for the weekend at our house. I am thrilled to have him and we are trying to find something fun to do. 1985 is playing at Kingsbury Hall; we may try to see that show tomorrow. It is positive that we are healthy and able to help others. Jake giving so much of himself to my sister right now, it is all such a new experience for him, taking care of a child full time. He is putting aside all the things that he enjoys to be here. I appreciate his sacrifice to help our sister. It hasn’t been easy for him.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Gavin and Brian had a “baby shower” for Gavin’s young men’s leader today. It was fun to send the boys off for their first shower. It was actually a bar-b-q, but the real idea was a baby shower. Gavin’s “girlfriend” called and his sister told her that he was at a baby shower. Jake jumped in really quick to correct her that it was a bar-b-q. I thought it was pretty funny. We went to see the play 1985, wow, that book was the first book that made me actually think: think outside the box. I loved the production. I think it is really positive that there are things that make us think, to question our beliefs and what is happening to us, realizing that things do have to just happen to us, we can change many things that are happening around us if we think and question. It was a cool thing to do, and better that I went with my brother. We always spend a fair amount of time talking, especially after exposing ourselves to these types of genre.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Wow, Sundays are really difficult right now. I have been leaving my family to take my brother and Zoe back home to Cedar Hills. It takes my day, the afternoon anyway. My sister is not doing very well. I find that I really enjoy the weekends with my brother. We have really had a great time together, even if it leaves me tired for the week, it is nice to have him here.
One of the most interesting points of view that I enjoyed was Plato, "Are We Living In a Cave?" This was interesting because of the relationship with the idea is age old. A couple of his comments: "prisoners cannot turn their head to discover the true nature of the shadows" "people too quickly accept the first appearance of things" "I don't see how they could see anything else if they were compelled to keep their heads unmoving all their lives" (26-27). As I mentioned they were interesting to me because of the timeless meaning. I began to reflect on how we, as members of an American society, are prisoners if we do not seek to discover the true nature of things. When we accept things at face value, or because "the news" said so, then we are similar to the analogy of living in a cave, in darkness. We, as beings, are destined to believe a great deal of what we are told; as children by their parents, as adults by our politicians, our news media, our bosses. We must decide that we are individuals and that as individuals we should question our existence; potentially everything about our existence. I engaged in the ideas suggested in the book, that even our political leaders, governments, and even parents, are just beings who make decisions and choices based on the experiences and cultures that they were raised in. Chapter 1, viewpoint 1, M. Scott Peck, Choosing a Map For Life, he poses the ideas that we perceive and respond to the world which is developed in childhood, and appropriate for childhood, then goes on to suggest that: "Our national leaders are human beings who all had childhoods and childhood experiences that shaped them" (23) One statement in the introduction by George Santayana eluded to the fact that if we do not gain knowledge and understanding of where we came from we are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past, "Those who do not remember history are condemed to repeat it" (37) I would like to add that history is just his story, what about her story, and why do we put so much stock in "stories". I believe there is much to be learned by the stories of the past, but first we must begin to question the realities of what we are told. To be open to others understandings and to re-create our existence by finding purpose in our individual and unique interests. There are far more than two sides to every story. I really did not find myself disagreeing with much, because I read it with a truly open mind, understanding that I did not need to defend my beliefs to engage in another’s. I found myself fascinated by the overall process of participating in so many different philosophies. 5 STARS - A great read!!!
I don’t know how so much got planned for today. I found that today was a busier Tuesday than usual. The kids piano lessons were changed a day early, my cousin is planning on bringing her family to play this afternoon, four rambunctious boys. It will be fun. My kids have missed their cousins and they are always fun to have over. Sam has his PTC this afternoon; Clarissa’s was changed to today as well. I am trying to work in seeing Gavin’s teachers today, but haven’t quite figured it out. The kids are out half day. I will probably have no more time until this weekend to catch up after today.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I figured it out! The kids are out of school on break this week and I am not. I had changed the whole schedule so that they could go with their aunt to the cabin overnight, so that I could still go to my classes, which made our Tuesday crazy. I never even thought of something yesterday to be positive about. I don’t think I really had a chance to think. So for yesterday and today, the positive thing is that when you are in the moment of a hurried, blurried, situation, there always comes a break. Just pushing through will bring you to something new and oft times better. I have a couple of days now to really catch up and have some quiet time to get my homework done and focus on a few things that I have wanted to do. I always miss the kids, but they return like a storm. Today is a day for me.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
It felt weird to get up today without the kids and go off to school. I am thankful that it is only temporary. I am not ready for the kids to be gone; life is so full with them. I really appreciate this and other opportunities I have had to be “home alone” and realize that I wouldn’t trade all the frustration and chaos for anything. This will come alone all too soon and even then I will be wishing I could go back. I am learning to enjoy them here and now. They already have grown so fast and I am sad that so much of life has passed by. I missed them as little people discovering everything new, but I love them now, and just hope the future comes along good and slow!
“Most people have learned to live in the moment” (Einsteins Dreams, May 3, 1905, Alan Lightman, 1993). Einstein further states that: The argument goes that if the past has uncertain effect on the present, there is no need to dwell on the past. And if the present has little effect on the future, present actions need not be weighed for their consequence. Rather, each act is an island in time, to be judged on its own. Families comfort a dying uncle not because of a likely inheritance, but because he is loved at that moment. Employees are hired not because of their resumes, but because of their good sense in interviews. Clerks trampled by their bosses fight back at each insult, with no fear for their future. It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or no future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy.
Each person has a vision for their moment, what they want in that moment, why they want it. Where do those desires, needs, passions, and impulses come from? How do we become to understand our own views of reality in order to appreciate the moments we are given? What can we do to better appreciate the vision of others? Can we find happiness in blindly following paths laid before us or is it critically important to find our own way and keep focus on our personal vision?
Reading the very diverse opinions in the Constructing a Life Philosophy I have gained a greater sight of others viewpoints, and have ascertained a better vision of my own opinions. I particularly chose to reference Chapter 7; What Should We Strive For, and its relationship to Chapter One; The Importance of Choosing a Life Philosophy. However, there is a great deal of alternate views expressed between those chapters that effected my own views and vision for writing this paper, specifically relating what I have gained from engaging thoroughly in the text.
First, Chapter 1 addresses viewpoints from a contemporary psychiatrist, an ancient philosopher, and two students of philosophy, religion and myth. Each essay presented the authors personal vision as to the best way that we as humans can base our life’s decisions and the necessity of seeing life’s purpose.
M. Scott Peck, contemporary psychiatrist, in his essay Choosing a Map for Life challenges readers to “examine how they [view] the world and how they [view] themselves” (17). Peck uses the word view in a rhetoric way to grab the reader’s attention that if a person does not “more clearly…see the reality of the world” their minds can be deceived by “falsehood, misperceptions and illusions” (18). If we do not know where we are headed in our lives we can be blinded, if we do not seek for a way, have a plan (a map) for our lives then our view is obfuscated. He particularly discussed our dependency as children, our reliance upon the opinions and views of our parents and other adults influencing our lives. Theirs and our views are also dependant upon circumstances. Oft times I believe that we interfere with the experiences of others as we try to protect or obscure their understanding of the issues around them. In this we are taking away from them the experience they should have and replacing it with experiences we want them to have. This distorts their view of the world, and therefore changes their life’s map. Peck also discusses how we “denounce the new information even attempt[ing] to manipulate the world so as to conform to our view of reality (19).
Plato, a philosopher from Ancient Athens taught metaphorically that we must not live as though we are in a cave. His essay, Are We Living in a Cave?, shows the effects of a society that is unteachable, who mock the idea of higher learning, education and thinking. He discusses the fear of pain and hurt, that holds us back from striving for something different, better; excellence. He states that oft times people are too quick to accept things as they see them without consideration of a different way, a different world saying, “people too quickly accept the first appearance of things”; in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way. He uses the idea of “fetters” to indicate the confinement of only looking forward, “I don’t see how they could see anything else if they were compelled to keep their heads unmoving all their lives.” If we are to remove our fetters as a society we have to be teachable, accepting diversity, understanding different views, letting go of narrow mindedness, recognizing that growth is painful, but for a moment. He suggests that if we live through each season, then we will better understand the whole of it.
Philosophy, religion, and myth students; Sam Keen and Anne Valley Fox in their essay, Discovering Our Personal Myth, discuss myths and how they form our views of our world. Myths create a “habitual way of seeing things” (33). They associate our values and cultures as being influential, even programming our beliefs. They also suggest that we don’t see what we know or think to be truths as myth, only what others believe. They say, “myth gives us security and identity, it also creates selective blindness, narrowness, and rigidity because it is intrinsically conservative” (35) Their essay caused me to think a great deal on the influences that parents have, and how parents views influence the choices of children. It is important to consider their ideas, “whoever authors your story authorized your actions” and return the sense of self to individuals allowing them to experience and see life in order to create their best individual vision. By holding onto the views of someone else; your parents, teachers, you are suffocating your ability to see for yourself who you have the potential to become. First opinions are essential to our understanding of the nature of things but as the evidence changes; as we are exposed to more knowledge and experience, so must the theories by which live. We can be influenced by positive experiences, letting go of negativity, and moving into each moment with clarity of our unique vision. In order to understand the true meaning of life each person has to find their own qualities, beliefs, values, integrating with the understanding of others beliefs, recognizing that no one person’s views are completely right for all people; each person is uniquely right for their own individual life’s purpose.
Second, Chapter 7’s focus is What Should We Strive Towards. The essays range from the opinions that we should be concerned about moral standard, education and health (Jefferson), love, creativity and understanding (Toynbee), divine love, wisdom, living as Jesus did (Hallesby), morality of thought and action, quest for perfection (Franklin) and (Machiavelli) accepting both good and evil in the quest for renown, and acquisition of power.
In the essay Develop an Honest Heart, letters compiled to a nephew, Jefferson places highest importance on an honest heart, a knowing head, and good health. He discusses that we all need to seek for these virtuous dispositions and that by consistently practicing them they will become habitual. His words invite readers to recognize the simplicity of doing what is instinctually right and that by doing right “be assured that [right] will extricate you the best out of the worst situations. Tho’ you cannot see when you fetch one step, what will be the next, yet follow truth, justice, and plain dealing, and never fear their leading you out of the labyrinth” (179).
Toynbee’s essay Seek Love, Creation, and Understanding, presents his belief that we must sacrifice to find the meaning of life. Love, understanding and creating are of ultimate importance and by seeking these ultimately we must sacrifice. He stated, “A human being’s life is a constant struggle between the rational and the irrational side of human nature” (208). The specific sacrifice and struggle I felt he was associating with was the intensity in understanding and accepting others values with a respect for their diversity; understanding that values differ based on environments, cultures and experiences, and although unlike a person’s views cause discomfort. Simply loving and understanding others, “what you don’t know really won’t hurt you” mentality, is key to his belief. Of his values, love being the value that binds the wound of a world broken by cultural difference and misunderstandings. Love begetting compassion, begetting tolerance, begetting respect, begetting non-violence, begetting special happiness, begetting a sense of peace, begetting well-being.
In Ole Hallesby’s essay titled Live for Others as Jesus Did he states “how inhuman the life was which I had been living. Jesus lived His life for others. I had lived my whole life for myself, in petty selfishness, pride and pleasure,…” (189). He first rhetorically engages the reader in stating that “the best men and women of each generation have been the ones who have sacrificed the most time and energy to ascertain the meaning of life” (184). This statement gives a reader a sense of ownership in being the best by sacrificing time to find purpose and meaning in their lives. He then goes on to address his journey in finding his purpose.
Aim for Personal Perfection is the title of Benjamin Franklin’s essay taken from his autobiography. His goal was certainly high for he “wished to live without committing any fault at any time” (197). He discusses his 13 virtues; temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, humility, and relates that it isn’t enough to want to change but that we have to be committed to breaking old habits and acquiring new ones. While he admits that he never achieved all 13 virtues to perfection, he did find that he was a better person and a happier individual.
Machiavelli’s focus was a great contrast to these previous viewpoints. His essay titled Be Powerful generously discusses the reality that if you want power and renown that you can’t be nice about it. You have to engage in both good and evil, whichever suits the circumstances of that moment. To become successful you “cannot observe all those things which are considered good in men” (194). His opinion is that to observe peace and good faith would be to lose power and renown.
A common thread among these, including Machiavelli’s, and many of the other viewpoints, is happiness. We all seek for happiness. In Chapter 4, How Should We Make Moral Decisions, the Chapter preface quotes Robert Ringer’s viewpoint that it is possible to find “a simple, uncomplicated life” by simply “looking out for number one” (127). In whatever path we take happiness comes from accepting the destination of that path. Of happiness Franklin can be quoted saying, “I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell short, yet I was by the endeavor a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it” (201). In summarizing Franklin the Chapter Preface states, “Franklin explains that the effort was worth it, because he did learn about his weaknesses” (177). At times the pursuit of happiness does not bring happiness. Shakyamuni Buddha said, “There is no way to happiness—happiness is the way” (115). Russell Conwell’s Inspiring Book About Opportunity: Acres of Diamonds tells a familiar story of a Ali Hafed. Ali Hafed had once owned a great deal of land. He farmed, had orchards, grain fields and gardens, and because of all that he had he had money. He felt content until he heard from an ancient Buddhist priest how the world was made and in that creation diamonds were made. The priest told Ali Hafed that if he could find a diamond the size of his thumb that he would be able to have his own country, if he had a mine that he and his posterity could be kings and queens. After hearing this, the wealthy Ali Hafed went to bed a poor man. He sought after the priest and learned how to find diamonds. He was told that if you find a river that runs through white sands, between high mountains you will certainly find diamonds. Ali sold all that he had and went on his quest for diamonds. He looked the world over and died a poor, afflicted man. The story goes on to say: The old Buddhist priest came to visit Ali Hafed’s successor, and the moment he opened the drawing-room door he saw a light on the mantle, “Here is a diamond! Has Ali Hafed returned?” The successor said no, and that is not a diamond, it is only a rock. The priest was sure and said positively it is a diamond. Together the priest and successor rushed out to the garden and stirred up the white sands and “there came up other more beautiful and valuable gems than the first”. Ali Hafed’s land was discovered to be the diamond mine of Golconda, the most magnificent diamond mine in all the history of mankind. Had Ali Hafed remained at home and dug in his own cellar, or underneath his own wheat field, or in his own garden, he would have had ‘acres of diamonds’ (13).
Happiness, as discussed in the many viewpoints relates to this very idea, it is in the eye of the beholder, and is truly not the reward, the reward that brings happiness is in the way that life is lived and appreciated. Chapter 4, viewpoint 7 discusses the unintended evil that comes at times by making choices without thought to the harm that it causes others. It says of happiness, The Self Can Be a Prison – Where outward circumstances are not definitely unfortunate, a man should be able to achieve happiness, provided that his passions and interests are directed outward, not inward. It should be our endeavor….to adjust ourselves to the world, to aim at avoiding self-centered passions and at acquiring those affections and those interests which will prevent our thoughts from dwelling perpetually upon ourselves (174)
It is a surprising reality for me to realize how some personal choices and seemingly ordinary behavior can contribute to the evil and in humane consequences, many times indirectly and without knowledge of the person. The chapter interestingly discussed Hitler’s behavior as being made capable by the actions and submissions of ordinary people. He states that his use of the word evil is “behavior that deliberately deprives innocent people of their humanity, from small scale assaults on a person’s dignity to outright murder” (172). In that context a person really has to consider their behavior towards others and indirectly in a personal pursuit for happiness. Individual happiness should not come at the expense of another human being.
Additionally the chapters relate to each other in discussing pride. In chapter 2, viewpoint 2 Finding Personal Peace with God Gives Life Purpose Charles W. Colson discusses his reaction to reading the autobiography of Richard M. Nixon, Born Again. He rhetorically suggests that pride is a cancer, “For Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense” (50). As Ole Hallesby is quoted earlier stating that he had lived his whole life in selfishness, pride, and pleasure…(189). And in the chapter How Do Religions Give Life Meaning? Bob George presents Christianity and particularly the bible as the only way to find God. Of pride he says, “Proud people cannot receive grace because they will not receive grace. They are convinced of their own sufficiency and enamored by their own ability” (100). Franklin summarized that, “In reality there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as Pride” (203). In each viewpoint that presents pride, it is indicated that it is a destroyer of finding our personal happiness.
In reading each viewpoint I had to set aside my own beliefs and convictions, understanding that each person had walked their own path to come to the conclusions and beliefs that they had. These are their visions, their truths, it is what they know. I do not have to believe them personally but I can accept them as reality, not myth. In wanting others to understand me for my diversity, I must understand them.
One thing that was certain to many was that we all came from somewhere; there was indeed a creation, if not by God, then by some scientific reasoning. In Chapter 2, viewpoint 4, one religion stated, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible” The Bible, Hebrews 11: 3 (67). Chapter 3 How Do Religions Give Life Meaning, “Religions very often dominate peoples search for meaning of life” (75). And presuming that a person has a belief or knowledge of a God or of a greater being, and then by acknowledgement of that any person’s opportunities are infinite. In contrast, the preface to Richard Robinson, Chapter 2, viewpoint 1, Life Has No Purpose – We Create It, suggests that “life has no meaning. Since he believes there is no God, there cannot be a particular goal or meaning for our lives… [Robinson] challenges his readers to create their own purpose for life” (39). With respect for all beliefs in finding their purpose, every being can achieve immeasurable content and happiness.
Each persons desire to find meaning in their life is a personal quest; an individual journey; and each person through their desire to see purpose in their life, can. Knowing what is important to you personally, in every moment, understanding your views of reality and appreciating the gift of each opportunity. Seeking for a greater understanding of the diversity in others values based on their unique experiences, cultures, and environments has purpose in our own happiness. I have gained a greater knowledge of these things and have a more perfected individual vision for my life. I have found that in engaging in others rhetorical views that my vision is clearer, I know myself better. For me it is important to know what I want, what I believe, to be aware of and accept others for their personal beliefs. This has been a valuable experience for me. It made me think more about the affirmations that I have engaged in for my life, I have a broader vision now and will certainly be revising them, particularly reflecting upon Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues in his aim for perfection. I also appreciate the testament that happiness is not to be achieved but lived in every moment. I hope to be able to emulate these things in my life. Dr. Seuss is known for saying many great things, one that comes to mind, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy that will decide where to go.”
Great philosophy, like anything, is what you make of it. Constructing a Life Philosophy, as suggested by the title of the book, is a process. In constructing anything a great deal of material is involved. In any great construction if only one material or tool were used, it would not be successful or even possible. In considering many opinions, views, and understanding others I know that I will be able to have a better personal philosophy; allowing me to live happily in each moment.
References used in addition to the book:
Lightman, Alan. Einstein’s Dreams. New York: Warner Books, 1993.
Seuss, Dr. Oh, The Places You’ll Go. New York: Random House, 1990.
Webb, William R., Russell Conwell’s Inspiring Book About Opportunity: Acres of Diamonds. Missouri: Hallmark Cards Inc., 1968
A busy day; catching up on homework and housework. Jeremy had an appointment with his kindergarten teacher, letting us know how he is doing in school. I can’t believe it is that time, Parent Teacher Conferences. Sam has soccer practices Monday afternoons and then of course Family Night. It was nice to be back to a bit of a routine, everything has been so consuming lately. I love that my kids look forward to family time.
Today was possibly the most beautiful Sunday. Gavin received the priesthood and we had a few family and friends join us afterward at our home for some warm soup and vegetables. It was good food, family and friends, and a truly wonderful moment in our son’s life. He is a good boy for all that we have been through. I am very proud of him and who he is becoming.
Sam’s soccer game was cancelled because of the down poor yesterday. I find it interesting that today the weather is nice and he could be playing but the officials, and the schools, are worried about the fields being ruined by the muddy grass from yesterdays weather. So it is okay for the kids to play in the horrible weather and possibly fall ill, pneumonia, or death from a cold, but cancel the games because they don’t want to ruin the grass. Whatever! Today was great, however, with Jake in town and Gavin’s birthday last week we planned to take him to his first Haunted House. It was great! Gavin had another game this afternoon as well, it was cancelled; the beautiful sun hadn’t dried up all the mud yet. I am finding it positive that Gavin is feeling well and there seems to be no sign of a cold.
Today Gavin has a soccer game. The weather is scary today. It has been hard to sit at some of the games with how cold it has been. Today was especially bad. Gavin had to play in the worst down poor I have seen in Salt Lake for a very long time. It was sooooo cold and wet, and I am worried that he will fall ill. I think the most positive thing is that we have umbrellas and warm homes to find refuge, possibly the greatest of all things is recognizing blessings.
Today began to be a simple day, not much but taking care of my niece, my family, and school. It became complicated as the day went on. I went to class and hoped to come home to a day of catching up, my sister called and needed a few things, and so Jake and I left to go after the things that would help her right now. I missed picture day for my kids and a field trip for my son. It was horribly sad. He called me from the school, expecting me to come to the field trip and I had to tell him I couldn’t. He was crying and I just felt torn in two. I generally take care of my kids and family, and myself first, but right now I need to help my sister and her family as well. It is surely taking a chunk of me right now. I was also late picking them up from school, not cool. The positive thing is that when Sam was broken hearted about the field trip I was able to call Brian and he went and met Sam at the museum. Sam had a great time with his dad, and his dad was the only dad there, which was really cool. I am thankful for Brian’s willingness to leave immediately to take care of our children when they need something.
Regarding Henry Discussion: My experience in watching the movie was surreal. I know that I have seen the movie a couple of times but this time, under these circumstances I watched it with an open mind and heart. I really felt the process of Henry’s change. It was really interesting to see and feel the change in his values and experience the growth with him. It was fun to see how it affected his family and acquaintances’. I think that as he changed there was almost a jealousy in the people who were calloused by the world and their selfish desires. I recognized that in their experience that they in turn were unkind, but I believe that when people react that way it is because they are experiencing a change as well. In the first of the movie the visual rhetoric that caught my attention was the immediate presence of the words in the courtroom “In God We Trust”. This foreshadowed for me the whole change that would take place in the life of Henry and his family throughout the movie. Bad things happen, but for our good. If you can recognize this in the placement of these words in the movie, they were contemplated and not by chance. The overall picture was that Henry was destined to experience a life altering change; to come full circle. In the beginning Henry was not a likable person; his values were displaced and did not bring real fulfillment or happiness for him or his wife and daughter. He was really lost trying to be someone who I believe even he would not have liked, as the movie portrayed so well. He was caught up in the table he didn’t like, winning even when it hurt other individuals, and in controlling and being attended to, admired. Henry was initially a very egocentric character, much like many who we deal with in our world, even sometimes myself. The world really revolved around him; in his apology to his daughter, it was more about him. He didn’t listen to his wife, was only concerned with his own issues. He was an egocentric individual. He was not likable at all. However, I did see the look in his eyes as he glanced at the victims in the courtroom, there was more to Henry than he was portraying by his choices, and lifestyle. In watching the change take place in him it made me really evaluate the changes that I would like to see take place in me. I would like to be less controlling, less of a bark and bite reaction to the circumstances I find myself in each day. I recognized in watching him try to learn to walk, talk, read, very much become childlike in essence to then overcome and reach the potential that he had within him. There is much we take for granted; that could be gone in the blink of an eye. I have hope that I will be able to make changes in my life without having to experience the loss and pain that he suffered. I thought to myself that things can always be worse than they are now, and that it is important to look at the challenges that I have been given and grow from them, evaluate them, learn and move on. Deciding who I am and what I enjoy and going for it is essential to happiness. I enjoyed understanding the character Bradley. He was a delightful person and exemplified the type of happy content person that I think we all seek to be. Whether we would choose to live a life of service or not, I think that people want to be happy with themselves; and he was. I really appreciated that the movie offered insight into why Bradley was such a happy person. Some of the advice I took away from the movie in Henry’s (and other characters) own words are, “Be patient, I’m trying”, “I thought I could go back to my life, I don’t like who I am”, “I changed”, “I had enough, I said when”. Bradley, “It was a test”, “Ask me if I mind having bad knees”, “Don’t listen to nobody trying to tell you who you are”, and “It might take a while but you’ll figure yourself out.” And finally the housekeeper, “I like you much better now.” I really enjoyed watching this movie in this way and for this purpose. I really believe that this will help me to consider my ways, who I am, who I want to be and to be thankful for the painful and oft times difficult challenges that I face, to recognize the growth and potential in them. I also hope to be more aware of how I interact with others. I hope I always remember to be patient, to change when I need to, to say enough when I have had enough, to know who I am regardless of what anyone else thinks, to figure out my beliefs and values, most important I want to like myself and to have no regrets at the end of each moment in time and finally to “trust in God”.
Today I picked my sister up from the hospital and took her home. I got my niece from my Brother in Law, Aaron and we went to get my brother Jake at the Airport at 1:00. I am so glad that he is back here. I am going to be keeping my niece for a while so that my sister can rest and heal.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Today I had a Math Test. I got 99%, better than last test. I hate it when I don’t do well on things. I will have to retake the last test sometime. I would like to be able to better understand Math. The positive thing today is I have some hope to understanding the math I have been struggling with.
Well, I missed writing yesterday. I didn’t get home from the cabin and taking Zoe home to my sister until almost midnight. My sister’s water broke yesterday morning and she ended up having the twins early, nine weeks early. They are in the NICU right now. I talked to her and they are doing okay. I will go down in a day or so to see my sister. Zoe is staying with her grandparents at her home for now, and my brother Jake will be here by Wednesday. We didn’t have phone reception at the cabin. Sheri tried to call me at 6:30 am, when her water broke. The girls were born at 9:23 and 9:24., Emma first at 3 lbs 11 oz. and Eliza next, 3 lbs 15 oz. I am so thankful today that they are doing okay. Emma had to be intubated and is on oxygen. Eliza was breathing on her own. This experience has made me think of my spiritual values and what I really believe. I have felt very much that these girls knew they needed to come. Last night my sister started into pre-eclampsia, which if the girls had not been born could have been lift threatening to my sister. Emma broke her water bag, and during labor Eliza’s heart began to have trouble. Emma is struggling right now, but she probably realized that if she didn’t get them here that Eliza would not make it under the stress of my sister’s body. Emma is still having a harder time and on oxygen and lights. But in all the girls are really healthy and I am thankful. I am also thankful that my sister is doing well today. My sister was really having a hard pregnancy. She was measuring 64; the lady who delivered 7 babies only measured 60 inches on delivery. I could not believe the size of Sheri right before the girls were born. I couldn’t believe she could tolerate the discomfort. She is a strong woman to have done as long as she did. We pray the girls and Sheri will continue to improve and come home healthy.
“You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experiences.” ~Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley