Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Let Them at Least of Heard of Brave Knights and Heroic Courage

Purpose: Micheal Flaherty’s purpose in this speech is to propose to modern educators that perhaps they need to improve their intellectual criteria starting with what is read.

Central Message: “You are what you read.” Those are Flaherty’s words when referring to what he believes we are taught from C. S. Lewis’ book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” He continues, “We are shaped and influenced by the books that we read. They prepare us for more than interesting conversations – they actually prepare us to face real crises that we encounter in life. Few people would dispute this simple statement, so let’s ask a simple related question: What are we reading today?”

Validations: Flaherty points out some sad facts: “For the first time in modern history, less than half of the adult population now reads literature.” (It is perhaps important to define this particular use of the word ‘literature.’ Literature is not factual, it is fantastic.) He goes on to say that this decline is not secluded to one particular group – whether ethnic or age, or education related. “In just twenty years, young adults have declined from being those most likely to read literature to those least likely.”

Personal Thoughts: Why is this so? It is sad, and yet, we do very little to fix it. We live in an age where everything is electronic. Electronic distractions come from all directions to take us away from the printed word. It is often said that “well, now I can just read the shortened version online,” or “oh, I just listen to it on tape.” I feel that I am safe in saying that there is nothing really that can actually compare with reading the written word. Allow me to suggest that we turn off the T.V. just once in a while, sit down, first as a family, and eventually individually, read a story. A real, honest-to-goodness story. Let them be good stories, filled with deeper truths, morality, and examples of only the best. As Mr. Flaherty says, “Let them at least heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

Taken directly from my last response paper for Foundations to Education. And this all written only after reading the first four paragraphs or so; I just skimmed the rest of it. I intend on reading it more thoroughly and allowing myself to be entirely enlightened. I can email it to whoever wants the rest of the speech. It's amazing.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wicked Weakness

Chapters 7 and 8 of Helaman are especially interesting to me. They so clearly show the difference between righteous leaders and wicked ones; so clearly in fact that I listed them out while I read. Nephi is a righteous leader, and a prophet among his people, the Nephites. The Gadianton robbers, at this point, have already taken over the judgment seats and now run the government as wicked judges. Nephi is so distraught over wickedness of the Nephites that he is crying (quite literally) unto the Lord. This shows his love for the people. (Point A: Righteous leaders love the people they lead.) The wicked judges on the other hand, were only concerned with two things: their own skins and the easiest way to get gain. (Point B: Wicked leaders don’t care about the people they lead, unless they can make their lives easier. This of course has nothing to do with the well-being of any individuals, but more the people as a whole. If one dies, that’s fine as long as another is there to take his place.) Nephi feared God, while the wicked judges feared the people. (Point C: Wicked leaders are weak. They will do anything to keep their coveted positions. Righteous leaders care about what the people want, but they care more about what the people need.) Nephi understood the power and abilities of God; that they were limitless. The wicked judges took pride in the work of men (which didn’t usually include the work of their own hands directly) and didn’t understand the power of God over the power of men. (Point D: Righteous leaders will call upon the Lord to help them and the people because they understand that He is capable of all things righteous.)

These chapters made me think of the weakness of the wicked. Weakness is something I can easily say I have always abhorred. It is important to be careful not to get weakness confused with humility. Humility is a Godly trait, and so is strength. Humility is almost always a sign of strength and confidence, while wicked pride is so often due to a person’s weakness. The wicked show their weakness in the fear they have towards other people. They are so easily swayed from on idea to another, as long as it’s not the one right idea, even if they’re off by only a little, it’s still wrong. They are “blown about by every wind of doctrine.”

Taken from my most recent journal for my Book of Mormon 122 class.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Noble People Keep Their Word

In chapter 1 of Helaman, verse 33, comes one of my favorite examples of the Godly attribute of covenants. It says, "And it came to pass that Moronihah took possession of the city of Zarahemla again, and cuase that the Lamanites who had been taken prisoners should depart out of the land in peace." This is taking place right after the Lamanites had attacked and destroyed many Nephite homes, in multiple cities. I thought to myself, why would anyone take compassion on the Lamanite prisoners? Why not just keep them there, and then they would have that many fewer people to put on their armies. I decided to look at the crossreference to Alma 44:15 and find out. I remembered that the Lamanites and Nephites had entered into a covenent with one another not to attack the other ever again. However, wouldn't the Lamanites breaking that covenent break it on behalf of the Nephites too? (I scratch your back, you scratch mine type of deal.) It was then that I realized the nobility that Moronihah has by keeping his side of the covenent.

I have always felt that keeping a promise - no matter how casually made - is a God-like attribute. God is always keeping His side of the bargain, even when we screw up, over and over and over again. You word should be a serious thing. People should be able to trust you at no more than that.

Taken from my most recent journal entry for my Book of Mormon 122 class.