Thursday, February 26, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
One of the most fun things this ward does is participate in the Klondike derby in Kandersteg,
Lots of families come down with the scouts and we all hang out while the scouts participate in all kinds of snow, survival and scouting exercises. The boys took second this year.
We ended up in 2 different houses, because there just wasn't room enough for everyone that wanted to come. We did all have dinner together and play games together at least once, however. Every night we had kind of a potluck. At least we ended up sharing our food with lots of scouts- as we were in the house with the scouts. Luckily, I brought tons, since I figured that might happen.
When we pulled into town the first night, we were a little depressed. There wasn't any snow! It ended up snowing that night and the entire next day. The scouts had 3 teams and 3 sleds that they used throughout the day.
We went out and watched for a little while. We watched them have to find a baby in the snow and treat it's injuries. The group before them had the baby all wrapped up in an emergency blanket and someone had taken off their coat and wrapped it around it. Our boys, used a scarf to tie the baby to a shovel- as a backboard- and didn't do anything else in the way of hypothermia. They ended up getting the same points. Hmmm. When the other group was done, they placed the baby back where it belonged. Ours threw the baby with the shovel.
We also went walking downtown. We had a wonderful talk with a lady all about languages and the festival that started that weekend. They went around in old fashioned clothing and used old fashioned skates and sleds during the festival.
Sunday, we had a nice devotional and then went with a bunch of other to the ski hill to sled. European sledding is crazy- steep, long with some hairpin turns. Wipe outs are normal. They recommend you wear a helmet. We declined. You take the gondola up to the top of the hill and then you walk and sled and walk and sled until you get to the steep part that takes you all the way to the bottom.
Because of the new fallen snow, the powder showered us like crazy as we went down on the first run, freezing us to death. We got some more gear and wrapped up tighter for the next run. Just as we hit the steep hill part, there was a big back up of scouts in a tour group. Some of them obviously weren't used to how steep it would be and somehow someone stopped in the middle of one of the steepest parts. How you do that, I will never know. But it caused our group to pile up on top of him. One of the runners was up and I slammed right into it with my left leg. That hurt a lot. I ended up getting back on to my sled and made it to the bottom. By then it was time for lunch, so we walked to our van and sat down to eat. I decided to look at the leg. Rob said, "no, don't look at it!" I did anyways. As soon as I pulled up my ski pants, I saw the blood seeping through. Sure enough- I needed stitches.
We taped it together as well as we could. I was determined to do more runs. Sledding is just as expensive as skiing there, since you use the same lift. But as soon as I got up, I almost fainted. I tried several times to sit and then get up again and each time I almost fainted or threw up. Finally, I let them take me back to the cabin. We stopped at the scout hut and the doctor- one of the Laundstuhl doctors took a look. He told me that I needed 4 stitches or if I didn't mind a scar- steri strips. He was just leaving for a scout outing and wouldn't be back until 4:30 pm, so I chose the steri strips. He gave me the supplies and I did it myself. After that, I had to lie down for a good hour. Joseph stopped sledding the same time as me. He had gone off the side of a cliff once and over the sides of hills a couple of times. Max and Sam quit soon after. Sam never dresses warm enough, no matter how much we try to get him to.
Emma was the only one that got the whole 6 runs in with Rob. It takes about an hour to complete each run, so you really can only get 6 done in a day.
We also celebrated Emma's and my birthday while we were there. Emma is 19-1.
On the way home we stopped in Zurich for some fresh Lindt chocolate at the chocolate factory.
We enjoyed our trip, despite the injuries and cold.
Switzerland is a beautiful place! We enjoyed our adopted son for the weekend, too.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
My opinion keeps going back and forth on these new seminary requirements. First of all, I think they had to do this, because they stopped teaching the scriptures in church- which I have a serious problem with. I love the Come Follow Me program for YM/YW, but not for Sunday School. LDS people used to be known for their scriptural knowledge. Very few people have read or studied the Old Testament like we do, or did, I should say. A graduating high school student would have read and studied the Old Testament at least twice, as well as all the other scriptures. Not any more. Since they will get each scripture thoroughly only once now, the requirements to pass have been increased. Besides having to read the entire set of scriptures- which I really think should have been mandatory all along, they will have to take tests.
They make it very clear that the testing is for learning purposes and that you can take the tests as many times as possible until it is passed. That's good. Except when you realize that the tests are right in the middle of midterms and finals. My children (and my husband and I, I might add) already get up before 5:30 am every morning, so that they can go to seminary. Since they do compete in sports, they don't come home until close to 7 pm at night. They are exhausted, hungry and still have homework to do. Because we live in Europe and travel among competitors is so far, Saturdays are meet days. It's a 4 am wake up call on these days. This leaves Sunday as their only free/sleep a normal amount of time for a growing teenager day. I encourage them not to do homework on Sundays, but some weeks they just can't help it. Finals week is always a tough time, but midterms are especially hard, since sports are still going during those testing days. Now we are going to throw another large test on top of that? Oh, and by the way, you have to take it over and over until you pass it. Are you crazy!!
The report on the LDS website quotes the scriptures: Where much is given, much is required. I understand this. I also agree with the quote by Thomas Paine, "what we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly." I agree 100% that release time seminary students should have to treat this as a class and do the class work and take tests. I just think that the early morning seminary kids are already obtaining something a little on the expensive side. Because, apparently teenagers need more sleep than me, yet I am exhausted every night by 8 pm, too. I cheer every day there is no seminary. So can I blame my kids if they grumble a little about it? They don't. They are actually very good. But I couldn't blame them. The only time they try to skip it, is usually one or two days at the first of each sport season when they are extra exhausted. And I let them. Because I don't want them to resent seminary or me.
Let's set aside the early morning argument and let's focus on another aspect of early morning seminary versus release time. My husband is a former CES employee. He taught seminary full time and got paid for it. I have seen the process they go through to pick those teachers and it is cut throat. The release time people may not get their favorite style of teacher (emotional based, knowledge based, fun/game based), but they get some of the best teachers out there, hands down. Now let's look at early morning- who do they get? Not always your top of the line teacher. It has to work with the schedule of whoever is called to do it. That leaves a very small pool of people to choose- generally females whose children are all in high school or graduated or who don't have any children. Sometimes there is that odd man who is self employed or something like that who can make it work, or a woman that can do it in her home while her children still sleep, but even with that the pool is small. And from that small pool they have to choose the most likely to be able to teach. It doesn't generally work out super well! They do their absolute best, but even the best teacher has a hard time keeping sleepy teenagers engaged and now you have someone who may or may not know the scriptures well themselves and may or may not know how to teach worth a darn, trying to do it. Not quite comparable- is it?! Yet the requirements are the same.
So now the grumbling has started. "Tests? They are making us take tests- during testing week!!" "This is stupid. I'm not doing it." Etc, etc- all the things teenagers say when they are mad. This is something I have never had to face before in regards to seminary. And I'm not sure I can try to counter it, because I'm not so sure that I disagree with their being upset. So, what would you do? What do you think? Am I missing something?
PS- after hearing that this post was passed around, I wanted to make absolutely clear that I am not saying that the early morning seminary teachers are the bottom of the barrel of anything. I am not insinuating that my children have had terrible seminary teachers- they have more than a few and each one tried her hardest to engage the children and make them enjoy and love the scriptures, yet they are working at a disadvantage- is what I was specifically saying- they are not professional, they have little time to prepare and they are working with early morning, sleepy teenagers. This is not comparable to full time CES employees.