Monday, March 27, 2017

Another Day in the Life of Primary


        Jordan and Tawnya Ewing moved into the ward about eight months ago.  They have four children which make up about a fourth of the primary.  I don't think Tawnya was snagged into the primary quite as quickly as I had been. She teaches the CTR class which is the smaller of the two.  Her older three are Valiants.

        I continue to look at the manual even since Danny announced her return with her/our primary class.  In the beginning I was more diligent about how I studied, but only read last week's lesson and was not prepared to teach in the event that Danny didn't show up.

        When I walked into the primary room, nine chairs had been set up, but only four students were present.  Bess announced that Tawnya had not showed and I asked her if she wanted to combine the two classes.  But then Danny showed up and I volunteered to take Tawnya's class.

        There were only four students in her class also - three I had formally taught in Sunbeams.  Dylan is a regular visitor who sits still and listens.  Even as a sunbeam.  Hayden was just as wiggly as he'd been in my sunbeam class.  That's just his nature.  Even at home.  Mimi was actually more well behaved than I had predicted; she's the one I had never had in my class before.  She certainly does have a mind of her own - do not tell that child what to do or what not to do.  More times than not, she will do the opposite.  She didn't wish to sit in her chair until I invited the rest of the class to stand up, than she sat down.

        Bess frantically brought me the manual and said the topic was on prophets.  I didn't need the manual - the subject was enough to get me going.  Bess also brought some pictures of prophets - past and present.  It didn't matter which picture I held up and asked the children to guess who this is - Emily always yelled out "Jesus"  even when I took a different approach.  "See these things in the corner of the picture?  What are those?" 

        "LIONS"    

        Oh, yeah.  "Okay.  This is not Heavenly Father and it isn't Jesus.  Who here knows a song about a prophet that was thrown into a den with lions?"

        We went through the pictures.  We went through the song.  We took some time for " get-your-wiggle-out" sessions and played "Simon (The Prophet) says" 

        Carly came into the classroom late.  She had brought some pennies to class with her and used them to bribe the other children to be reverent.  She actually pretty much took over my role as a leader or tried to.

        "That's great, Carly.  I see you have a gift.  Would you like to be a teacher when you grow up?"

        "NO!" she was quite blunt about it.  "You don't get respect.  I wouldn't want to try to teach someone who doesn't show respect"  Actually, I think I had things under control before Carly demanded for the others to show me respect. 

        I believe Carly was trying to assume authority as she is the youngest in her family and doesn't have opportunity for being in charge.  Same with Hayden, when he hovers over Christopher, who was one of many absent last week. 

        I sent Tawnya an email commending her for dealing with the CTR class on a weekly basis.  She wrote back to say she would be absent yesterday as well.  I forwarded the message to Bess and let her know that it was highly probable that I wouldn't be there yesterday either.  I wasn't. I've been fighting a cold and did not wish to discipline primary students at the same time.  Thank you very much.

          Today is Corey's birthday.  He is not feeling well, either.  What a lousy birthday present!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How do you feel?



          Imagine your childhood.  What did you dream about?  Becoming a firefighter? ballerina?  traveling through space?  Imagine what your interest was when you were in your teens?  Did you set goals for a particular profession?  Did you develop a talent such as dancing or playing the piano? 







Did you learn skills that would steer you in the direction that you were seeking to go?  How did you get there?  What do you do?  Did you fulfill your dream?  or did you settle? 
            Let's just say (for example) that you may have studied the stars and dreamed about traveling through space. You studied science. 




You didn't apply to work at NASA for whatever reason.  Instead, you became a teacher.  You love your students.  You love sharing your knowledge with them.  Your desire of space travel has been left on the back burner.  Now imagine it's 1984 and Ronald Reagan has made the announcement of the "Teachers in Space Program".   How you might feel if you were told you had an opportunity to train for a childhood dream?



                Imagine being one of 114 candidates selected out of over 10,000 applicants.  You have the opportunity of participating in a one week workshop in June.  How do you feel?  Excited? Apprehensive?  You go through extensive training with those who share your profession.  Only one of you will be picked to advance to the space station with six trained astronauts.  How do you feel? Determined? Competitive?  Are you a team player?   When you go before a committee from NASA to answer questions, how do you feel?  Are you confident? Prepared? nervous? anxious?


Now, imagine that it's July 19,1985 and Ronald Reagan is announcing who will be the first teacher in space and it isn't you?  How do you feel?  Happy for the one chosen?  disappointed in yourself? resentful? 





Now imagine it is January 28, 1986.  You have turned on your TV to watch the liftoff of the Challenger space shuttle.  Within seconds after take-off, the shuttle explodes.  You see fire in the sky.  Everyone on board has died.  You were not chosen. How do you feel?



               I'm not really certain what triggered this post - except for I had written "Challenger: those that hadn't made it".  I had read an experience in one of many "Chicken Soup for the Soul" - I don't remember which one.  He went into more detail about the hard work and how he felt - before the announcement, before the explosion, and after the explosion.


       I think because sometimes we will see ourselves or our children or someone else that we know work so hard at something, persistent even.  And even with all the hard work, the study, the prayer, the dreams . . . there are several emotions that go on when we didn't get picked.  When we didn't get the approval.  When we felt we weren't chosen. Do we feel like failures when that happens?  Maybe there's a reason we didn't get "chosen".  Perhaps Heavenly Father has something else in mind.  And sometimes we have the advantage of saying, "Oh, I guess it really wasn't meant to be".  How great it would be if we were able to put our faith in Heavenly Father to begin with.



      

            There are hundreds of examples of things that went wrong that prevented something even more devastating - like oversleeping, car accidents, power failure - all interferences.  And yet what worse thing did you miss?  A woman living in Oklahoma was already late for work at the Federal Building when she experienced car problems on April 19, 1995.  She may have thought her situation irritating at the time.  She was still stranded on the highway when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (where she worked) was bombed.  And what feelings must have gone through her mind.



     I have been in enough frustrating situations that turn out for good that I try to keep it with me that "this may be a blessing" and try to be thankful before I know the end results.  (see here) My situations have never offered as much drama.  I do have quite a bit to be grateful for.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

No Elbow Room for Sardines - the last three Concepts


            I was late getting to the next class called "YW are Essential Participants".  I sat in the back - uncomfortable in the folding chairs provided.  I don't think it would have been so bad if there had been any amount of elbow room.  I felt like if I had taken notes, I would have ribbed the sister sitting next to me. 
           What is up with the RS chairs having to be smashed so close together that there is absolutely no breathing room?  Who's idea was that?  Don't the people who set up chairs realize that there are several overweight sisters who might enjoy having a space larger than even elbow room would allow?  I think I would have found more elbow room in a refrigerator box. I was actually quite uncomfortable about the seating arrangement for the most part.  I have made it no secret that I enjoy having space.  I am NOT a sardine.  Perhaps I should be more vocal about that. 

               I must have missed the very mention of young women.  When the instructor concluded her class she said something about Priesthood 101.  That is what it felt like.  I did not take notes nor get much out of her class.   

        The next instructor is in the stake young women's presidency.  I probably enjoyed her class the most.  Her part of Bonnie Oscarson's talk was "Gospel Living can Influence Others".   "Your personal example of faithful living can influence your family and friends . . . (even if your home is less than ideal)" 

            She started out by introducing a marriage that came with a four-year-old.  I can speak from own understanding that becoming a mother and wife on the same day was not "ideal".  Not the "ideal" we had planned.  She than shared a book with us called "The Uses of Adversity" by CarlFred Broderick - a book still in publication because she buys and shares so many copies.






            Many of our life experiences are not only not ideal, but often seem unjust.  We have to go through trials.  People watch how we react.     We don't have insurance against our pain, but rather resources to deal with the pain.  She read a few examples from Broderick's book.  The first one was an illustration of the Yellow Brick Road leading to Oz.  It reminded me of the New Beginnings that had taken place to welcome Jenna (see here)

There was no wicked witch portrayed, and yet we encounter representations of Satan or "wicked witches" everyday.  We need to become "steadfast and immoveable"  which means solid and firm, unshaken and resolute. 

             Instead of "steadfast and immoveable" , our next instructor used the term "Bedrock" fundamental principles on which something is based also SOLID.  Her subject: "Women must Raise Sin-Resistant Families"   She talked about "sin proof" vs. "sin resistant".  In the council in Heaven, Satan's plan was to "sin-proof" us all - which would have taken away our free agency.  Sin-Resistance is a choice.  She then played a piece of Patrick Kearon's talk (here) when he decided to wear flip flops instead of shoes, and how the flip flops were able to protect him from the stings of the scorpion.  Often times we allow ourselves to fall into temptation because were either lazy and/or rebellious.  Disregard always brings consequences.  A person can choose his or her actions, but he or she may not choose the consequences of those actions.

            We need to give our whole heart in order to be cleansed from sin. She referred to Todd Christopherson's talk (I think he was quoting Robert D. Hales) about not being able to pray another's agency away and how we need to prepare ourselves to watch our children fail at things - just as we may  have failed at certain things because we exercised our agency and had to face consequences.  Our children will have the same opportunities.

             We are all still learning - though we may be experienced at many different levels, we can offer guidance to those who see corrections.  We don't fertilize plants with candy bars.  Sometimes something as to go wrong in order to grow.


Okay.  I realize that last line doesn't make sense.  It did at the time that I wrote it down.  And if I could have written and posted my blogs at the time all of this was fresh in my head, it would have made more sense.  I would also understand my wandering mind and other notes that I made. 

            The final class that I went to had been given by the wife of the mission president.  The name of her class we "Boldly Take on the Name of Christ".  She talked of a zone conference and about how the mission president had passed out priesthood lineage to all of the Elders - and how their roots could be traced back to Peter, James and John.  She had prepared a talk to give but changed it when she noticed the sisters glancing over the Elder's shoulder to see what had been in the envelopes that the sisters themselves had not received.



             Some may see Eve as weak as she gave into temptation and was the first to partake of the forbidden fruit.  In doing so, she made it possible for each of us to come to earth, to make choices, and to fail but to press on. 

             It's quite obvious that there is a difference between the way a man thinks and how a women thinks and feels.  She gave a demonstration on how the man has a box in which he puts all his thoughts and emotions.  A woman may get upset with a man because he didn't take notice that his dirty socks had fallen on the floor (for instance) When he leaves the house, he leaves his concerns at home or in his box.  He goes to work and focuses on work.  When the woman stays home she vacuums the floor.  She is angry (not so much about the socks as her husband's lack of acknowledgement) and does a fantastic job because she is metaphorically sucking away whatever's bothering her - or trying to.  The woman holds the emotions and builds on them - so that when he comes home - perhaps in a happy mood even - she just lets into him.  And he still has absolutely no clue what may be bothering her.




            Or, the next example she used, a man and a woman may be at the movie together.  The woman is only half focused, as she hears a screaming child in the background and wonders how her own children are doing, or perhaps triggers set in because of a certain focus.  Yes, the woman came to watch the movie, but she is not 100% there and never will be.  The man, on the other hand, came to watch the movie.  His only focus IS ON the movie.  Earthquakes happen.  Bombs go off.  The man doesn't pay attention.  He is there to watch the movie.

             I laughed even though I know not all men or women fit in that stereotypical mold.  I know at my house, Roland and I have the roles pretty much reversed on some things - though he does focus on the movie and I actually don't care.  He is the observant one, who notices when clothes don't match, have holes or are dirty.  He notices if the child's hair isn't combed or if they're acting up.  I am not so observant.  I am ignorant.

             But for the majority who do fit into the stereotype - where the woman may automatically straighten the collar of the sister sitting ahead of her, or have automatic radar senses for "fixing situations" The mitochondria is what powers the cells.  That is what can be traced back to Eve.

             I actually did not take good notes during her class and am having a hard time remembering things on the few lines I do have.  I asked Jenna for her input (because she actually remembers things better than I do) but couldn't remember the exact word that we're looking for. 

             I think as a whole woman are more compassionate than men.  I think overall, many men just seem oblivious to certain situations.  But Roland has compassion.  Sometimes I call him "Mother Hen" as he seems to be better at "mothering" than I am. Regardless of our role, we are all unpolished and need to listen to the still small voice.

             She shared a familiar story about a famous pianist (Paderewski) and a little boy who went onstage to play a song (some legends say it was "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" others say Chopsticks.  The point of the story was how the famous pianosit reached out to the little boys and encouraged him to "keep playing" and "Don't Quit" You can find a version of the story here, or an updated commercial of encouragement here.  And whether the story is accurate or not, it's still a good message.  One we can definitely learn from. 

She also talked about staying focused on the positive.  If you get 49 compliments but only one negative reaction - stay focused on those compliments - not the one things you may have disagreed with.  Jenna does that A LOT.  I find it quite annoying actually.  She had fun in Salem.  She rode the carrousel in Salem.  She played the Ukulele.  I guess Roland won the game they had played together - but still, she did quite well for not knowing the area.  She walked away with a bunch of prizes.  She had fun on the playground that she was really too big for.  And then she gets upset when people (including us) leave because of the rain.  That was her focus.  Really?  I have to constantly remind her.  But I don't suppose I've been a really great example for her and so we're both trying together.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

One Concept at a Time - Temples  



            President and Sister Landon were dressed in their temple clothes.  They asked questions about how the temple made us feel, why we go to the temple, and what does the temple represent.  I was both pleased and surprised to learn that "Understand Temple Ordinances" had been Sharon's favorite.  She had her hand up to answer questions and participate.  

            I love to hear Pres. Landon speak.  He mentioned two of his grandchildren - cousins that are 3 and 4.  He had told us about the three-year-old before. She will often whine about whatever and say, "I can't do it.  It's too hard." (and he whines as he quotes her - which is most effective) 

            The four year old seemed uninvolved and quiet and often misunderstood.  It turned out that she needed glasses.  When she wore those glasses for the first time, she looked up at the stars - in taking the beauty.  Mesmerized almost.   Pres. Landon said that while she was out-side star gazing, her six-year-old sister (who didn't need glasses to assist with her vision) sat beside her and the four-year-old removed her glasses and handed them to the six-year-old (not realizing the 6-yr-old had been able to see them all along) and asked her if she would like to use them so that she could see the beauty in the sky. 

            I actually don't know which example he started with.  But isn't it amazing how different people react?  We are all children who react in the same manner.  Some of us whine  "I can't do it.  It's too hard" while others do their best to share their joy.   

            I think occasionally I am like the four-year-old.  Occasionally.  Overall I am more like the three-year-old whining  "I can't do it.  It's too hard." or "I know I can do it, but I don't want to.  I don't want this trial anymore.  I don't."  I want to lose the three-year-old part of myself and be the one who shares the joy.

            There were a few years when I was really good about going to the temple once a week or a few times a month . . . and then I allowed it to fade.  I went with the youth to Medford temple just once.  I have never gone through a session.  And honestly I haven't missed it - though I did enjoy the sense of peace I felt within the temple.  I did enjoy the solitude of "putting the world behind me" I don't see or feel the worldliness in Myrtle Creek as I did in Salt Lake. 

            We should go to the temple because we want to.  As of now, I really don't want to. 

            We then broke for lunch.  Roland had gone with us to help set-up, clean-up and serve.  He wore a purple shirt.  He was supposed to wear a white shirt and a tie.  He hadn't received the message. I don't know that any of the women cared.  Eva, who sat at my table, really liked Roland's purple shirt.  He is leader material.  Wouldn't have made any difference if he'd been wearing white.  He asked several questions to those "supposedly-in-charge"  He doesn't mind helping, but it would be nice if he were given direction.  After receiving too many "I don't know"s Roland put himself in charge and said, "This is how we're going to do it" and gave direction.  He doesn't do it to insult anyone.  He's just a take charge guy.  He told the men to be sure and ask at each table if there was anyone who had special dietary needs. 

            Eva's pretty "take-charge" herself.  When Sharon announced that she couldn't eat her salad, Eva volunteered to go to the kitchen to get some more chicken and rice.  She said she would eat the salad.  She LOVES salad.  She brought back a plate with Chicken rice and fresh broccoli but Sharon said she could chew the broccoli either.  It wasn't until then that I realized Sharon  didn't have any teeth.  So then I wondered how she was able to eat her meat. 

            Eva left the table periodically in order to mingle with other folk. It was fun to watch her enthusiasm.  There were two different desserts.  An overly tangy lemon pudding or a sugarless Jell-O that everybody seemed to like better.  No birthday cake this year. 

            Neither Eva nor Sharon were able to finish what was on their plates.  They got extra plates to cover their food and a box to cart around to their next four classes. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

One Concept at a Time - "Deception and Tools"



            Creating posts is often a feast or famine thing in my mind.  I have notes on paper but have not converted them to a copy and paste form.  The clock moves so quickly when I am on the computer - which means I will need a computer-related job so it won't feel like I'm there for eight hours.

            The Relief Society was organized on March 17, 1842.  LDS churches everywhere celebrate the RS birthday sometime in March (usually the 2nd week)  Each one I've been to in the past includes dinner and a program.  The birthday dinners I have attended in Utah have always been done on a ward level.  When I was called to the activities director in the Myrtle Creek ward, I was told that the March activity is always done by the stake. (For those unfamiliar with term "ward" and "stake", see here)

            I really enjoyed the meeting that I attended in the Roseburg Stake last year.  I don't remember taking notes although I must have.  Those two posts seemed quite lengthy if I was just going off handouts.  No one gave hand-outs this year.  I had even brought a tote bag to put them in. 

            Last year  I created two posts  (here and here) to describe the Saturday meeting.  I seem more pressed for time this year and so may have to stretch it out into several posts.  Last year I had made a comment that I wished the young women had been invited.  Last year we started off our meeting in the chapel.  We were given color bands to wear. 

            This year the young women had been invited.  We started off in the cultural hall and did not use the chapel at all.  The programs were color coded and easily traded.  Jenna told me that she wanted to be in the same room as me.  I didn't care.  We both found programs that were orange.  When she moved to a table to be with a friend, she sat in front of a program that was green but ended up with a yellow program.  Jenna and I were not on the same session - which I think was good for both of us.  I think we both got more out of it.  And she did participate.  But I don't know if she would have participated as freely had I been with her.

            I have mentioned before how the leaders try to assign a specific scripture or just a paragraph or two of someone else's talk and make a new talk out of it.  This assigned topic was Bonnie Oscarson's talk Rise Up, Sisters in Zion.

            There were four sisters at my table.  Eva and Stephanie stayed together, and I went on the same sessions as Sharon.  I was surprised to see her there as I've only seen her 3 or 4 times since I moved to Myrtle Creek.  I asked her if she'd be to church on Sunday, but I don't think she's been attending the Sunday meetings.  So it was nice to see her at a stake activity.

            The first class we attended was called "Don't Be Deceived by False Teachings".  Our instructor used to be a science teacher and started out the lesson by asking for a volunteer to bounce a ball and blow up a balloon.  Her rubber ball bounced but the volunteer's did not.  Both weighed the same and felt the same - yet only one was designed to bounce.  The one that didn't bounce had a heavier material similar to that found on bumpers. 

            The "balloon" was also a scientific "trick" The instructor was able to produce more air than the volunteer.  (Before Jenna went to this same class, I told her to be sure and volunteer - which she did.  But she called me mean.  Jenna had learned these concepts already and she knew was able to get a good amount of air into the "balloon".  She said that had been her favorite of all of the classes.

            We can be deceived by tools, knowledge and experience.  She told us about a book she'd been reading about a Senior devil trying to find a replacement, I think.  The author is C.S. Lewis. I don't remember the title though.  

            She then asked if we know why the ships running  to Portland will come up the river rather than make a direct move from the ocean.  While the boats are in the ocean, the barnacles will stick to the sides and the bottom of the boat; when the boats go into the river, the barnacles fall off.  Just as barnacles attach themselves to the boat, we allow sin to attach.  We need tools for detaching.  We need the "fresh water" tool to remove the "barnacles" of sin. 

            She concluded with a quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland:




   That was just one class.  I will post more tomorrow and hopefully the rest this week.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Turtle Power!






When Jenna returned home from school yesterday, she was in a very good mood.  She removed some of her green and added to it. 








She had wanted to dress up as a Ninja Turtle ever since she saw this sign








She tried to rope three of her friends into going with her.  They said they would all dress like Turtles, but only Jenna followed through








The woman at the counter seemed very excited and said she wondered when someone would show up in costume - indicating to me that Jenna was probably the first.


She got a free personal sized pizza








Uncle Bill would have dressed up his entire family as turtles the minute the sign went up.  However, I don't think he would drive thirteen hours to get it.







 I bet Bill is really quite pleased with Jenna.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Another St. Patrick's Day

I did not get a picture of my non-Irish looking girl (she actually does have some Irish in her; though not confirmed by DNA but family history) when she dressed in green the first year she attended Vista Elementary School.  I did get her picture today -




Happy birthday to my brother, Patrick and his grandson (my great nephew) born on the same day.



Monday, March 13, 2017

Assorted Thoughts on blog, school and blossoms


        I notice my brother has not posted to his blog for over a year now.  My niece seems to gradually be returning to her blog.  She has created seven posts called “Define your Dash”.  It appears as though she has reached into a journal jar and writes on whatever subject she’s been given – although in her Dash#1 she explained in better detail what she’s doing.  She also uses actual names unlike Corey and me.

        I’ve obviously slipped at posting myself, and my reading has been even more pathetic.  I have so much to catch up on.  It’s just a matter of prioritizing.  This will be my last week of the two accounting classes I'm currently taking.  I have only one assessment and discussion for my favorite class.  I have a normal week for the class I don’t like.

        I have another comparison I have made for the relationship between me and the instructor.  Have you ever watched a Peanuts cartoon and the focus is always on the childish characters and you never actually see the adult?  And when an adult does talk there is only sound but no formed words?  That is what my instructor sounds like to me.  I’ve decided that I’m not alone.

        I mentioned that there are two students who are in both of my classes.  One is a returned missionary I’m guessing in his early 20’s.  He’s been in a few of my other classes before.  He is going for his bachelor’s in forensic accounting.  Dare to dream.

        The other, I'm guessing, is an woman - possibly around my age.  That is basically all I know about her.  Except for she posted her phone number on my discussion coast addressed to me.  Could I call her and help her with the assignment?  I don’t know why she singled me out – unless it is because I am in both classes and I have been to the live lectures (when the instructor calls us by name, other students can figure out who attended the live session)

        My grades in that class are not the greatest though are better than my current understanding.  I have been on the President’s List ever since my first two classes, but my understanding of Acct 213 has robbed me of making the President’s List for the next five or six months (however often they are sent)

        It was late when I received her message – well, maybe not so late my time, but I didn’t even know what state she was in; it appears to be on eastern time and landline.  At this point I don’t know what kind of grades she gets.  But I feel her frustration.  I wish I could get a hold of her to see how she’s doing.  Her line was busy when I tried to call on Friday morning.

        Jenna was home from school and I took her to parent/teacher conference.  She showed me the memorabilia that hang the walls of the hall –






tribute continues for Nick and Andrew.  The students released hundreds of balloons into the sky and left daffodils at the flagpole.







I tried calling my unknown classmate a couple of times but her line was busy.  I couldn’t even leave a message for her.  I hoped that she was receiving help from another.   

        Jenna and I ran several errands.  It was such an awesomely beautiful day.  After months of rain, there was sunshine.  Just that day.  I came home and finished my last assessment.  I wish it had been the final.   

          On Saturday, Savannah came over and spent some time with Jenna. Roland took them to the movies and brought them back to hang out.  I spend some time with him before he went into his office to study.  I took advantage to create a few posts. 

             Yesterday I noticed the pink and white blossoms gracing several trees between our house and the church.  Last year the flowers were blooming in February - which the residents said was unusual.  This year was quite different from last.

            I tried contacting my classmate again.  Now my phone insists that it is not even a working number.  What?



       

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My Shared Primary Class

          As I have mentioned in previous posts, my first calling in this ward was with teaching the sunbeams.  I have never seen a physical attendance roll in the entire time I've been here, but I believe there were four sunbeams in total.  I think the most I ever had in my class at one time was three.

           My first experience in that class was actually a visitor named Dylan.  I live in an area where there are many members who are related to one another.  I think Dylan was a nephew of the former sunbeam teacher who had developed a comfort zone with teaching sunbeams. She seemed to hover just a bit to make sure I was doing the calling justice.  She had been newly called to Young Women's.  I had heard her give a talk just the week before and thought it was an awesome calling for the young women to have her on board.

          Dylan doesn't come every Sunday.  But he's been there enough that it seems like his name would have been added to the roll - but I don't know.  The most I ever had in class at one time was three.  After Skylar and his mom had moved out of the ward, it was mostly Emily by herself - which did not thrill her.  She didn't know me.  It was scary for her to be in the room with me.  And she cried for about a month before she decided to become a horse (see here)

          The following year I had her cousin, Hayden Braun, who was also not thrilled with the idea of being left alone with this stranger - though he seemed to come around a lot faster than Emily had.   For about a month his dad (who had actually called me to the position) sat with Hayden while I gave the lesson.  Bro. Braun had somehow felt impressed by my teaching methods.

          In this post I explained how I came to transition from Sunbeams to Valiants.  It is the larger of the two classes - with at least eleven children - though the most that have come (since I have been teaching) is eight.  Danny has returned to teach the class.  She comes to church for just one hour to teach.  I try my best to discipline Helen and Thomas.

          Both of them have to have something in their hand to wiggle, to rip, to play with, to destroy . . . Helen actually absorbs everything being said.  It amazes me that she actually knows the answers - or most of them anyway.  Thomas on the other hand seems focused on anything NOT related to the lesson - unless he happens to wearing his glasses - which unfortunately has not been every week. Shen he has his glasses on, it almost seems like he is a different child.

          I actually described Thomas in this post  though I hadn't shared his name. There have been a number of times I have said to Roland:  "Please explain something to me as though you were explaining to Thomas Jay." 

            I think of the eleven class members, I have already mentioned five of them in one post or another - I suppose because Jenna had been in the same primary class with many of them. Thomas had been in the CTR class when Jenna started attending Young Women's and did not start the Valiant class until just this year.

          When I was teaching, I asked Roland to please sit with my class - particularly Thomas.  Roland often has a way of teaching children and keeping them in line.  I figured that since he had already made a connection with Thomas that Thomas would listen to him.   Actually, Thomas had somehow made a connection with me while I was still teaching Sunbeams and he was a CTR.  It was with his extended family where Jenna, Roland and I had Thanksgiving in 2016.

           It had been during the hour that both primary classes meet in one room for singing time and sharing time. Thomas would choose to sit next to me when I was teaching Hayden - or perhaps it wasn't always by choice.  Often there are just certain individuals who cannot sit together.  The primary leaders didn't like Thomas to sit with his sibs or cousins.  As I mentioned, Thomas feels the need to keep his hands busy - even if it is to taunt others.

           For the most part the class members are eager to participate: read scriptures, say prayers, and so forth.  Helen and Thomas have both expressed their lack of desire to read - which is okay.  I'm not going to make anyone read if they don't want to.  I feel more like a referee than a teacher.  Especially with Danny returning to her position. 


          Danny and I have two totally different teaching methods.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I think of it as an early introduction to diversity. Whatever works, right?  Danny sets up the chairs against the wall in a straight line putting a great distance between herself and the students.  I put the group in a circle.  I have allowed for more reading thus far.  Danny incorporates more videos and games.  We both ask tons of questions.

           Our largest class (well, since I have been a part of it) was yesterday.  The only two missing were Callie (who has been active for the most part during Achievement nights, but I think I have only seen her attend Sunday meetings four times since we moved to Myrtle Creek) and Krystal, (here) who has been coming with her grandma until her grandma went out of town.  I had called last night to see if we could pick her up this morning.  I never heard back from the family.  We haven't had any luck getting a hold of them on Sunday.

           Two of our class members will start young women's this year.  Callie and Lisa.  Lisa is Thomas and Emily's oldest sister.  She is really smart in math.  Though she's still in elementary school, Jenna says she has seen Lisa at her middle  school as she Lisa takes math on a level higher than her elementary school. Callie is also attending  Coffenberry Middle School but Jenna says they don't interact with one another.

           In the past Lisa had been invited to sit with Emily during singing time as Emily when Emily was having a hard time making the transition from nursery to sunbeams.  And Ann was allowed to sit with Hayden.  Ann and Lisa are both focused enough to comfort their sibs while still paying attention to their leaders. 

           Christopher actually does do better with the CTR class than he did in sunbeams.  Helen has tried to "mother" him the way Lisa and Ann had done with their sibs.  But Helen is HORRIBLE.  Christopher does much better without her.  Both the CTR instructor and I have requested to keep Helen and Christopher separate - thus separating Lisa from Emily and Ann from Hayden so that we're not playing favorites.