The Anatomy of a “Menace to Society”

All my life I’ve heard snide references to the concept of a “menace to society”, as Brigham Young allegedly referred to unmarried people over the age of 25.

According to Brigham Young, yesterday I became a menace to society.

Although I’m aware that Brigham Young’s time was different than ours, and he was actually talking about men, and he may not have even said it, I want to make one thing abundantly clear:

I am not a menace to society.

I spend 9 hours, 5 days a week, with 20 children who are the leaders of tomorrow. I’m teaching them how to think critically. I’m teaching them how to clearly articulate their opinions in writing, and how to determine accurate and inaccurate sources of information. I’m teaching them about current events, and we’re discussing what kinds of things we can and can’t control. I’m teaching them to be thoughtful readers. I’m teaching them about the world around them and the vastness of the universe. I’m teaching them how to persevere through problem solving as they learn to solve algebraic expressions. I’m teaching them to be kind, respectful, and responsible. I’m teaching them to express gratitude and think about the needs of others before their own. I’m teaching them to fight back to bullies and stand up for people who are getting bullied. I’m teaching them that they are special, and they can can accomplish whatever they put their minds to if they’re willing to work hard.

I don’t really know what a menace to society is, but I think society would be full of a lot more menaces if we didn’t have teachers.

That’s all.

There’s a Crack in Everything

My thoughts today center on being okay with not being perfect. Unfortunately, that’s something I can’t say I’ve achieved. However, I’m working on it.

I was studying 1 Nephi 10 the other day, and a few verses really stuck out to me.

First was verse 6.

My favorite part of that verse is the last line– “UNLESS they should rely on this Redeemer.” (That’s the direct Spanish translation.) We’re not fallen if we rely on the Lord!

Then verse 10.
It’s just talking about what Jesus will do when He’s on Earth, and the last line brings me peace. It says Jesus will “take away the sins of the world.”

Duh. I already knew that. I’ve read this verse a million times.

But He will TAKE AWAY our shortcomings! They will be gone! We will one day be perfect!

I can’t really explain why I care so much about being perfect. I know we aren’t expected to be perfect now, and I know we just need to do our best. But the idea that Jesus will take away our sins and make us perfect brings me more comfort that I can convey through words. What a relief.

Then on top of that, He gives us weaknesses to bring us closer to Him. This song speaks deeply to me. I hate that I have weaknesses, or cracks. But that’s how the Light gets in.

Making a Difference

Yesterday, I told my mentor teacher that I want to be a music teacher. This is our subsequent conversation:

Me: Teaching just isn’t what I expected.
Her: What did you expect?
Me: Well, I thought I’d be making a difference all the time.
Her: You are making a difference.
Me: Well, I’m not happy. I want to be a music teacher.
Her: I thought you said you want to make a difference.
Me: Uhh yeah. Music changes lives!
Her: Science, math, and language arts are what change lives. That’s how the kids will get jobs. If you want to change lives, general education is the way. They don’t need music.
Me: *Internal screaming and disagreeing with every fiber of my being.*

When I think of my teachers that changed my life, the first ones that come to mind are Mr. Larson, Mrs. Chantry, Mrs. Jensen, and Dr. Fullmer. Music teachers absolutely make a difference. I want to be a music teacher so I can help kids see a more beautiful side of the human experience. So they can have tools to cope when life gets hard. So they can learn to work hard at something and achieve great results. So they can appreciate something that took more than 30 seconds to create. Kids need music.

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Everybody needs music. My music teachers continue to change my life.

Thoughts on Hard Times

I’m pretty sure no one reads my blog anymore, so I’m just going to be super honest today: I am currently going through the hardest time of my life. I thought my mission was kind of hard, but teaching 6th grade at Escalante Elementary under the current administration (something like Umbridge, to give you an idea) makes the mission feel like a Disney cruise.

I love my kiddos, and I won’t abandon them in the middle of the year. But no amount of money could entice me to stay at this school another year.

This morning I was writing Lauren, and Elder Holland’s Mormon Message about good things to come came into my mind. Heavenly Father gives us hard times because He loves us, and He wants to help us grow. I know that this will give me experience and be for my good, and I’m trying to keep that perspective. As long as I stay faithful to my covenants, which I will, everything will be okay.

Be Still

I had bedbugs for like 4 weeks of my mission, and I have said that the bedbugs represent the single most difficult time of my life. I was literally covered in bites (hundreds), everything in our house was put into black garbage sacks, we were heavily drugged on benadryl to control the excessive itching, we had to sleep on the floor, the Spirit was not in our apartment, and it was just uncomfortable in every way.

Last week put that trial in the dust.

I NEVER expected Donald Trump to win the presidency. I even promised some of my kiddos that it would never happen, when they approached me in fear during the election.

Somehow our country let this happen, and we’re still in shock. I played this song for my class on Wednesday morning so they could write their feelings about the election, and I feel it’s appropriate for anyone grieving.

We can’t break character; we need to continue in love and acceptance, no matter who our president is.

13th

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I love documentaries. They’re one of my favorite genres, and I delight in Netflix’s documentary selection. Last week I noticed a few Facebook posts about Netflix’s new documentary “13th”, and I found myself alone on a Friday night… So I decided to watch it.

Best decision ever.

It is by no means a “feel-good” film. It’s the opposite. I felt bad pretty much the whole hour and forty minutes. But feel-good movies don’t really empower us to change; this did.

“13th” explores the consequences of the 13th amendment, which gave every man the right to vote UNLESS he’d been convicted of a felony. Racisms continues in the United States today, with Lord Voldemort aka Donald Trump leading his Death Eaters aka Trump supporters all over the country.

Please watch 13th. It could change your life.

That #threefictionalcharacters trend

You know the #threefictionalcharacters thing that was going crazy on social media this week? I usually don’t hop on those bandwagons, including changing your profile picture to be the French flag, but I thought this one was fun.

I chose Hermione Granger, Anne Shirley, and Emma Woodhouse.

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I esteem Hermione more highly than possibly any other fictional character of all time, so I feel somewhat prideful including her in fictional characters that represent me. Nonetheless, I aspire to be more like Hermione, and I’d like to think we have a bit in common. For example, I love to read. I guess I love school, because I made it my career. I think friendship and loyalty are the most important things in this life, and I hope that I could be as loyal and true as Hermione is.

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I chose Anne Shirley because I feel like we share a passion for life. We’re also sometimes shamelessly outspoken and tactless. And I’d like to say we’d do anything for the ones we love. She also became a teacher, and I hope to be as dedicated to my students as she was to hers. And Imma marry a Gilbert Blythe someday.

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Emma. Reading Emma was a revelatory experience for me, because I became aware of several flaws I hadn’t previously recognized. I am prone to get myself involved in other people’s business when I shouldn’t, just like Emma. I’m also an avid match-maker. And Emma and I both almost always have good intentions, but often end up making big messes.

So that’s my #threefictionalcharacters.

Feeling Worthwhile

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Last week, one of our vocab words was worthwhile. We were reading a story that featured all the vocab words, and when we came upon worthwhile, I said, “Raise your hand if you’re worthwhile” expecting every kid to immediately wave his or her hand in the air.

I was wrong.

Only about 5 kids raised their hands!

So then I was like, “Wait a second! You don’t think you’re worthwhile? What??” I stopped the lesson to talk about how special each of them is, and I read “You Are Special” out loud. This got me thinking about the huge blessing I had to grow up singing “I Am a Child of God” from like age zero. Then in Young Womens, I stood every week and declared “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him.” This is a precious truth I’ve known my entire life, and I guess I’ve kind of taken it for granted.

My kids don’t know who they are!

On the mission, it was my job to teach that God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are His children. One of my favorite street contact questions was, “Who is God to you?” and they would respond, “He’s everything!” or “He’s in my heart.” and then we’d talk. But now that my job is different, I forget that my kiddos are essentially in the same shoes as my street contacts.

Because of church and state, I can’t tell my students who they are. However, I can help them feel God’s love by teaching them that they are in fact special, and treating them in a special way. CS Lewis’s oft-quoted passage about everyone being potential gods and goddesses who we would be strongly tempted to worship applies to EVERYONE, including my students.

Cool Dads

It recently occurred to me that some of the kindest, most beloved men I’ve ever known are school custodians. So on this Father’s Day, I want to give a shout-out to amazing dads with less-glamorous jobs.

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I know girls always talk about wanting to marry a doctor or a lawyer, and I myself wouldn’t mind a husband with that kind of paycheck… But tbh I want someone as universally loved as the janitors in my life.

Mr. Giles, the Wasatch janitor, is quite possibly the most popular individual I’ve ever known. He couldn’t walk down the hall without having kids yell, “MR. GILES!!! HIIIII!!!!!” Does your job provide that kind of satisfaction?

At the end of the day, the paycheck doesn’t even matter. What matters is how many lives you touched. And in my experience, school custodians touch a hecka lot more lives than society gives them credit for.

A Political Post

Oh hey, I just wanted to let you all know that I’ll be voting for Pedro. Please consider joining me. I can promise that all your wildest dreams will come true.

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On a more serious note, I want to say that I’m truly distressed that our nation has come to this. Two horrible candidates, and we have to choose the lesser of two evils. Tbh I’m embarrassed to be an American rn.

Also, to be clear, I remain solidly in the #NeverTrump camp.