Monday, September 24, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

This post was first published on The Ink Ladies blog on August 29, 2007. It has been edited for relevance.

I attended Brigham Young University Education Week August 20-24, which you all know by now. I'd like to tell you about a few of the classes I attended, and insights, if any, that I gained from them. I may not have the exact titles of the classes, since I'm working from my notes and not the class schedule, but hey! Is that important? Let's see how much of the week I can get in one post.


Richard and Linda Eyre's Emptying Nest Parenting
This was a popular class, the last of three they did that day, dealing with young and then elementary school age children. They skipped the teens and went right on to this class, about how to deal with children as college-agers and then adults. The thing Richard said that struck a chord with me is "God is an empty nest parent."

The Eyre's have a website at

Brad Wilcox's Getting Kids Hooked on Books
Educator/author Brad Wilcox read several intriguing books aloud, which parents and grandparents should be doing for their offspring. Children need their minds to work, and reading does this for them. Brad gave several cogent facts about the importance of reading, and the frightful statistic that since World War II, when children had a vocabulary of 25,000 words, the literacy of our children has dropped, so that children only have a 15,000-word vocabulary today. EEEEEK! Read to a child today. Flood your progeny with the sound of language with nursery rhymes, jump rope jingles, finger plays, camp songs, and leg rides ("This is the way the lady rides . . .").

Check out Brad Wilcox's website

Don Aslett & Sandra Phillips: Decluttering the Simple Way (the actual title was way long)

The class taught me to ask this question about my belongings: "Does it enhance my life and that of others?" If not, it's junk. The problem with junk, or stuffication, Bro. Aslett says, is that it keeps us from loving and being loved.

I found several websites listed for Don Aslett, including,, and Aslett and Phillips have another site jointly,


Barry J. Ewell's How to Effectively Use Family Writings, Newspapers, Internet Resources, Libraries, and Historical Societies to Find Your Ancestors
Yes, that was the actual title.

This session focused on newspapers, and among the info I gathered is that the society news, also called the gossip columns, can be mined for information about the friends of ancestors. In case some of them are still alive, they can be interviewed for data about the ancestors.

Although the instructor was good and the topic interesting, since my friend was going to catch the series, this was the only session I attended.

Devotional Address by Elder Richard G. Scott
Elder Scott taught us how to learn through Spiritual Guidance. He asked us to write down and apply the following:

Throughout the remainder of my life I will seek to learn by what I hear, see and feel. I will write down the important things I learn, and I will do them.

He said that knowledge flows through endless avenues. When we record a spiritual impression, often, more impressions come as we do so. He urged us always to have paper--even a 3x5-inch card--handy for writing our experiences down.

Elder Scott said to find out what is critically important in our lives. We should devote our efforts there, setting aside other good things that we could do.

Daniel C. Peterson's Islam: The Continuing Presence of the Past
Tuesday's class focused on "Muhammad's Life and Its Influence Today." I found the class so intriguing, and the topic so important in today's world, that I attended the entire series, and enjoyed it a great deal.

Since there wasn't an Arabian literary culture at the time Muhammad was born, little is known about his early life. However, some facts exist, and legends fill in the rest of the blanks. Brother Peterson is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at BYU. He wrote a biography of Muhammad entitled Muhammad, Prophet of God.

I also attended a performance Tuesday night. It was "Take the Mountain Down," a tale of the prodigal son, and lived up to its billing as a "foot stompin', hand-clappin' musical". Steven Kapp Perry and Marvin Payne collaborated on the work, and it featured the Potluck Social String Band. It was great!

I've gone long here, so I'll give more details in the next post.

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