Thursday, April 24, 2014

It happened

We have better things to do than dribble.
Image courtesy of Naypong,
It didn't take long, but it happened. My oldest, who turned 14 only two months ago, last night said to me, "I'm not going to Mutual tonight, because they're just playing basketball again." I told him that that's fine because he has better things to do, but also recommended that he come up with three things he'd rather do on a Wednesday night, and give them to his Teachers' quorum president and advisers.

I'm going to suggest to the TQAs that they give each boy that same charge to determine their own program. (I know, I know, what a novel concept.)

Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, April 21, 2014

Measuring and Metrics

With te$ting time looming large for our kids and Scouts, here's some perspective shared by photographer Chase Jarvis:



Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Owl Post: A Dream Cannot Be Sold

Jehdi and Hassan were two merchants who were very close friends. Jehdi was a cheerful person, almost frivolous, whereas Hassan was very serious, perhaps too cautious and careful. But an unbreakable bond of friendship tied them together and this made their journey for business happy, for they never had any dispute.

One time they started together toward the city of Touria.

They arrived at the outskirts of a forest where the big trees, moist rocks and cool shade invited them to take a well-deserved rest. Within a minute Jehdi fell asleep.

Hassan looked at his friend with a sigh and told himself, "He sleeps peacefully in nature, as if he were in his own house. I am afraid of someone robbing me. Even though the thief might get very little, I am too apprehensive and I prefer to be cautious. After all, one never knows what might happen".

Hassan was ruminating over his anxiety when suddenly he saw a wasp coming out of Jehdi's left nostril. Its enigmatic dance surprised him. It flew toward a single pine tree standing on a rock, circled the tree 3 times, and then returned to the sleeping Jehdi and disappeared into his right nostril.

Just at that moment Jehdi woke up, sat up laughing and said, "Hassan, you will never believe me. I just had a marvelous dream. Just imagine that there is big pine tree standing on a high rock, exactly like the one you see there. A wasp droned around the trunk and its wings buzzed as if to say, "You must dig in this place, you must dig in this place!" I started digging and I found a big pot full of gold coins. I have never in my life seen so much money...!"

"Yes, truly it is a strange dream," replied Hassan. "If I were in your place, I would have dug around the pine tree there."

"My poor friend, how naive you are. I would never take a dream seriously. It is so hot here, to dig would be torture! Please, let us continue our journey.."

But Hassan insisted, "Jehdi, a dream like this surely has a meaning. If you do not want to dig, I will try instead. Do you know what I propose to you? Sell your dream to me."

Jehdi began laughing loudly. "This is a good piece of business for me! How much will you pay?"

"You have said that there is a big pile of gold coins. I am your friend and I do not want to wrong you. You tell me how much you estimate to be the price of your dream."

After a brief discussion, they agreed to the sum of 300 coins.

"Never have I made such a business deal. So much money for a simple dream of no value. How gullible you are, Hassan!"

The 2 friends then went under the pine tree which the wasp had shown in the dream. Jehdi was amused to see Hassan perspiring profusely and breaking his back with the shovel. He continued on until the shovel made a dull sound as if it had struck something hard.

What a surprise for the 2 merchants when they uncovered an earthen pot full of gold coins! Before breaking it, Hassan noted an inscription near the handle: "the first of seven."

"The first of 7. That means there should be 6 more pots buried," Jehdi understood, starting to regret the deal he had concluded too quickly.

This time both of them dug with energy and, sure enough, they found the 6 pots, one after another, each one filled to the brim with gold coins.

Hassan built a huge inn in the city and named it The Bulging Pot. He lived as a rich and satisfied man until his death.

Jehdi often came to visit him and greeted his friend with the words, "Well, Hassan, how are you? I have come to see what has happened to my dream." And the 2 comrades patted each other on the back laughing. But every time Jehdi returned home sadder, for he knew that he could never buy back his dream.

What are you doing with your DREAMS?

Prepared. | For Life.™

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Owl Post: The Wooden Bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four year old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four year old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

I've Learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your Life.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Owl Post: Are You Alone?

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.
He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it.
He cannot cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night, he is a M A N.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified.
He can hear all kinds of noises.
Wild beasts must surely be all around him.
Maybe even some human might do him harm.
The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his cold body, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold.

It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.
It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.
He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone.

Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.
When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Just because you can't see God, doesn't mean He is not there.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Safety Briefing

As you know, I was released from my Scouting calling a few months ago. Even so, I have kept a handful of Scouting RSS feeds active. This Nat'l Parks Council Safety Briefing turned up in one of them. There's a Church-produced video embedded in the link that discusses one troop's experience with adverse weather (to put it mildly). I passed it along to the SP in the thought he might like to share it and the new Church Safety web page (linked through the above link) with the stake's YM (and YW) leaders.

I took a couple of things from this clip: (1) careful, thorough planning and preparation are essential, (the Troop in the video prepared for 8 months for their "hike") and (2) a willingness to listen to the Spirit, especially when circumstances change, is equally essential. This places a great deal on a Leader's shoulders, and it necessitates abandoning some "incorrect traditions" that seem to be prevalent (like the "just show up" or the "it's just my church calling" mentality). It underscores the idea that the most successful activities are not the carefully choreographed lessons that go off without a hitch, where boys and girls learn the lessons that we adults want Youth to Learn, but are those where real experience is gained; a testimony is one's experience.

The corollary here is that there's an equal share of responsibility on the youth, to prepare themselves physically and mentally for the challenges of their chosen adventures. For instance, to mitigate the risks associated with a rafting trip down the Green River and Desolation Canyon, watercraft handling and basic boating safety should be regularly studied, discussed, and practiced, say with canoes on a local pond or the (very calm) Jordan River. (In my opinion, such deliberate and appropriate preparation for a given activity should take precedence, even over Combined Activities, or DTG night - because a good Scoutmaster can make any activity night DTG night.)

There was a third takeaway I got from the above video: This Scout Troop obtained firsthand experience with adversity, and with relying on their Maker to help them out of it. You can't get that inside any Church building, no matter how great the basketball court may be - unless it's literally on fire. I believe that's the real value of Scouting: it's a real, practical application of the ideas and theories they get in Sunday classrooms; it's a laboratory in the truest sense. Rather than trying to eliminate risks, we mitigate them through preparation. We ought to prepare our soon-to-be missionaries to grab the bull by the horns, or the boots by the laces; to give them the skills and confidence to overcome risks and adversity, but at the same time, the caution to do so safely. Which sounds a lot like real life.

(Thanks to LDS Scouter for sharing this link)

Prepared. | For Life.™

Roses are white, er, red.

Whenever you paint the roses red, you have to kill some flowers.
That's called Progress.

 --Eric the Half-bee

Prepared. | For Life.™