Highlights of the week include spending time with Julianne’s brother’s family, Keith and Kristin and kids, who we had not yet seen. We did a BBQ with them for Labor Day, and David came over with his kids, and we all had a great time. It was good to see them again after so long. It was particularly nice to visit with Kristin, the only one of our family who also went to Jerusalem as a student. You just understand something more if you were also there.
Another highlight was beginning things at Maeser. I got quite sick for a while, catching whatever Sabrina had last week. We had been fasting and praying to know what we should do about Maeser. I believe Julianne was fully inspired in how she interacted with BJ and Tashara regarding it. In the end, after some wonderful conversations, she gave them the choice. BJ felt the weight of that, but quickly decided not to go (even though I think he knew it would be a good idea). Tashara bravely decided to give it a try for the week. So I ended up taking her in the first day she went. I was amazed at that school. Everyone holds the doors open for everyone else. Everyone is amazingly polite. All the students look sharp, and the girls all look very cute. One of the first things I saw was a 16 year old or so girl in her nice uniform standing there spinning a basketball on her finger. Not quite the nerds BJ was predicting. The environment seemed incredible. I heard nothing but friendliness and kindness. We found all Tashara’s classes quickly, and it went very well. I just could not get over the great feeling in the school. I kept wishing I could get BJ to go there one time, if he just went once he would feel and see something. It really was incredible. Tashara ended up loving it. Her report, and the report from every student we have talked to, was that no one ever swears there. Just that makes it worth it.
The more days Tashara went the more she liked it. There is more homework, and it seems a bit demanding, but she likes it. It has become a very hard decision for her. She has to give up friends and few things she loves about her classes and choir at PG Jr. High if she goes, but she has to give up that great environment if she doesn’t. I don’t envy the tough choice she has to make. We keep trying to get BJ to give it an open minded try, but he just won’t. I wish he wasn’t being so silly. Anyway, we tried one last ditch effort. They were having a BBQ for students and families Friday night, and we hoped that the students would show up and BJ could see how cool and fun they were. So we went, but no one really showed up, only a few students. That totally backfired. He thought it was more nerdy than ever. Too bad, it is now a lost cause for sure with BJ. Tashra will have to decide within the next day what she will do, and it will be a tough decision for her.
Things at work got a little more earnest for me. We had a hiring committee meeting. I tried to help with that. I take that very, very seriously. There will be so many people hired in the next while, and it will shape so much of who we are in the next while, and I want to make sure we do it correctly. But these end up being heavy deliberations. The students are so precious, and it is we have to be so careful in so many ways. We are trying. I am glad to be involved, but some aspects of it are difficult. I would love to give all these people a job, I would love to help them. But we can’t, and the deliberations sometimes make me sad. The good thing is that I think that by the time we are through we will have an even more incredible faculty than we have already had.
The amount of meetings and the things I need to do for this new position just keep adding up. I don’t know how I will keep up, but I will find a way. I want to spend some time this week with our new hires. I feel very, very strongly that I want to make sure that they succeed. I will do all I can to help them, I want to make sure they do well.
I was also part of some wonderful and serious discussions about the Pearl of Great Price this week. We are considering making that class required for every student. If we do that, we have to get a lot more people teaching that course. We don’t have that many people who are ready to teach it. So we talked about different approaches to teaching it, and what we need to do to help people to be prepared to teach it. This is important stuff, and I am determined to make sure it goes right. There are many reasons to ask everyone to take the course. It addresses so many important concerns. But it will take a lot of work to make sure we do it right. We can’t let those who would make it mostly a Church History course do that. But we can’t force them to teach away from their strengths either. We just have to equip them to succeed. And this will take some work.
We had several students drop by the house this week. That was fun. Mostly they came by on the day of Sabrina’s birthday to wish her happy birthday. I can’t believe she is 6 now. She has been struggling with still wanting to go to school. Some kids there are being mean, and that has her rattled. I think something else must be making her feel like it is something she hates as well. She cries and cries now when we take her there, begging to not go. Something is going on. But at least Saturday was a happy day. She got the kind of lunch and breakfast she wanted. She had a bunch of people come by to wish her happy birthday. She got to do all sorts of stuff she enjoyed. We had a party with her friends. She loved her presents. Tashara worked hard to make her a creative and fun cake. Her brothers and sisters used their own money to get her gifts. I think it was a wonderful day for my wonderful little girl. And that makes all the other crazy stuff worth it.
Jaker swings at the pinata
Blowin' out the candles on the cake Tashara made
The village cake Tashara made
Nothing can replace a good game of Duck, Duck, Goose