Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Days

I have a lot to say. Some of it will be worthwhile, some of it will be extemporaneous. If you know what that word means, props to you and I hope we're friends.

First, let's talk about the weather. Summer has finally come to Rexburg ...for now. Today we reached a scorching 85 degrees! (I give the Arizonans my full consent to laugh) It's so fun to watch the town transform with good weather. Students at the school will find a patch of lawn and just stretch out and soak in the sun. The parks are filled with all sorts of activity, the streets are busy with long-boarders, cyclists, and strolling couples. We really know how to take full advantage of good weather in these parts.

Now on to other things. I've thought a lot about learning lately. I think I am absolutely addicted to learning. After being in school for as long as I have, you make some observations about the process and about yourself.
I think that it's a shame that we know so much and pass on so little. All of my more aged instructors have stories to tell of when they were in high school and how much algebra they were taught. What happened to those days?
I try to imagine how life would be if I had learned, really solidified the basic operations of algebra in high school. My college experience would be enhanced exponentially. I'm now taking calculus and just barely getting comfortable with nearly all the aspects of algebra. The world has known these concepts for centuries, and yet children and adults alike float through life completely in the dark ages where math is concerned. I am seeing more and more how learning truly is power; it's a cliche expression, but the truth stands. This world is looking for good thinkers. Subjects like tough math develop thinkers; look at the people we admire for their contributions to our current advances in understanding the world -they all knew how to work with math. I have struggled with math in the past, as much of the world's students do, but that's the point: I struggled. I learned. I am empowered because those ideas are now mine. Oh that every child could learn the great ideas that open the world to amazing possibilities.

I've been taking a communications class semester called group dynamics. Let me interject and say that all of my communications classes have proven to be the most enjoyable and useful of all. If you ever get the chance to take a communications class, you'll be glad you did. I want to share some of the concepts I've taken from the class recently. In that way, I think my readers are getting some real meat along with the cotton-candy fluff of my usual posts.

For class, I attended a Forum put on my Robert Whitman. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Franklin Covey. He is so much more than that, but I think you get a hint of what kind of guy he is from his job title. It was AWESOME to get insights from someone who has been so successful in his profession. I'm going to share my notes from the forum here:

Be “a game-changing person” or someone who improves whatever they’re involved in.

Choices an individual makes in order to achieve success:

1) Believe in yourself: What would you try if you knew you could not fail? A true mirror (undistorted) reflects that all are gifted (example: Paul Potts, opera singer, Britain’s Got Talent, YouTube clip). If you don’t believe in yourself, find friends that believe in you.

2) Be strong in the hard times: Do the work that your goals require of you.

3) Put God first in your life: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.

4) Stay away from the avalanche zones: Remember Reinhold Messner (Italian mountaineer considered to be “the greatest climber in history”).

5) Bring others with you across the finish line: Remember that life is a team sport.

That's the end of the notes. I just loved what he had to say. He had awesome insights, and I felt empowered by his comments to go and make some changes to how I approach life. I hope at least someone finds this beneficial.

In my comm class, we have full access to the entire collection of Harvard's online material. Only two schools in the world have this access: BYU-Idaho, and Harvard. It's some of the best material, and I always come away from class discussions completely engaged in thought and so enriched by the discussions we have. Anyway, one of the neatest things we do with the Harvard material is a simulation of climbing Mt. Everest. We get together in small groups, open up our laptops, log in, and start the simulation of climbing day-by-day together. If you implement the skills of group dynamics we've been learning in class, you do much better succeeding in your goals and it grades your success as a group at the end. We get to do the simulation a number of times, and each time we do it, we have so many things reinforced about life and working together. There's a lot to be learned from all the accounts of groups who have attempted the Everest climb. We all have some challenging things to face in life. A successful end is much more likely when we help each other, lift each other, and work as one.

Okay, one last bit of wisdom from that class, and I'll move on.
Every week, we get to come up with our own "Sharpen the Saw" activity. This idea comes from Stephen R. Covey's book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I know, some of you are thinking, "Well excuse me for livin', but I've never read it." (Ten gold stars to whoever can guess where that quote is from, although I think Cat has a slight advantage). And then there are those of you who have read it who are thinking, "It's so good." I digress. Sharpening the saw is basically the idea that a person can work hard all day trying to cut down trees with a saw that is a little dull from constant use. If he would stop occasionally to sharpen the saw, the work he did with a sharp saw would be much more effective. A lot of people are so concerned about keeping on task that they don't want to take the time to stop and sharpen the saw.
Covey points out 4 dimensions to sharpen in life: spiritual, physical, social, and mental. We should get in the habit of taking some time each week to focus in on one of the dimensions that needs sharpening and figure out a way to sharpen it. I've had a real blast doing a weekly sharpening activity. It's been really neat to see what a difference it makes. It's a neat concept, and I think everyone should give it a try.

HEY! I just found out that I am an uncle again! My brother and his wife just had their first son! He has red hair! His aunt Julianne will be thrilled, no doubt.
I'm just as thrilled as can be to have yet another little guy enter our family. I can't wait to be able to actually see him in person. Congrats to JC and Mari!

It seems so trivial to continue on with what I was going to say, but then the blog must go on. I am way too concerned about my collection of movies. Most of you know this, but I was reminded of it today. I opened my DVD wallet to select a movie to watch as I blogged (yeah, I think Alicia and I are related ...for reals). I found an empty slot. This is not good. Since they are alphabetized, I usually know exactly which one is missing. This time, it's School of Rock. My first reaction was "No! Where is it?!?! Who has it?!?!" Then I calmed down and thought, dude. You can buy another copy for like 5 bucks if worse comes to worst. Then I had a good laugh at how silly I am about my dumb collection.

I guess that does it for now. Thanks for enduring to the end of the post, and I hope your summer days are as gorgeous and enjoyable as mine. Of course they are, you're not in school. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go check our DVD player...

PS: My next post is going to be about fitness goals and desire. Be ye warned. If that's not something you're interested in, feel free to ignore my next post.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Capital blog post! Capital! Capital! Thanks for the pep talk and thank you for making me feel like I have company in the DVD lovin' world. Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in "Scrooged."

"No, no. I distinctly remember running down a hill with a little girl who had red hair in braids..."
"You are so pathetic! You are so pathetic! That was Little House on the Prairie!"
"Was it the Homecoming episode?"
"Yes it was the Homecoming episode."

That's pretty much me. Is it lame to have movies be a passion? Because they are for me. It isn't the movies, really. It's the stories in the movies.
Can't wait for your next post!