Kids These Days…

At the risk of sounding like one of those crazy, old, “get off my lawn!” geezers, I’m gonna talk about kids these days. Specifically… teenagers. I was a teenager once, I coach teenagers, I worked with the teenager girls in church for a few years, I teach teenagers… So, yeah. I’m an expert on teenagers. Pretty much.

I have these two girls on my high school color guard. Neither girl would be considered a star performer. They aren’t bad at all. They just aren’t great. I have some girls on my guard that are great. These two girls aren’t girls I would give a solo to and they often have to be given extra instruction and corrected many times before they fix a technique issue. There is a huge difference in these two girls, however, and that is desire.

One girl wants to be great. I mean, she really, really wants it. She takes her equipment home every day and practices every. single. day. She hasn’t been put on the weapons line yet, but she still works on her rifle and sabre technique. She goes with other girls to practice in the park. She signed up to help teach at a middle school and an elementary school so she could learn how to write choreography and how to teach basics, all while improving her own. Over the summer, she traveled to California to attend a clinic put on by the Blue Devils (one the best drum corps out there who has, hands down, the best color guard). I don’t think there is a single girl on my guard who wants it more than this girl. She will do anything to improve. She has made goals to be in a drum corps and wants to teach guard one day. She wants this.

The other girl has been doing dance and guard for a while, and she says she loves it and guard is her life. But I have noticed that rather than wanting this, she expects it. She expects that because she is an upperclassman, she will be on the weapons line. She expects that because she has been dancing for x many more years than someone else, then she should be the dance captain. She expects to come to rehearsal and learn all the technique and all the choreography and just be able to do it. She rarely takes her equipment home, and she rarely spends any time practicing (I’ve taught guard and private music lessons long enough, I know when a student has practiced.). She skips rehearsal because she’s “sick” or “has too much homework”. She never volunteers her time to help other, newer, younger students out. She trash talks the student leadership and acts as if she could do a better job, but never applies for the position herself. She gossips about her fellow members rather than calls them to meet with them. She never tries to do anything extra. She just expects that she will get it. She expects that leadership positions will be given to her. She expects that people will respect her because of the years of “experience”. She says she wants it, but she has shown me that she expects it and isn’t willing to actually work for it.

In my middle school guard, I have many girls who leave rehearsal frustrated and upset. They come to me and say, “I’m no good at this! I’m not a natural. I want to quit. This isn’t fun.” This is after the first or second rehearsal, friends. Not at the end of the season. No one is good at color guard in the first rehearsal! No one is a natural! It is not natural to spin a flag or toss a rifle. These are techniques and skills that have to be taught, worked at, practiced, and perfected over a long period of time. These girls expect to come to rehearsal and just get it and have tons of fun. I have to teach them that if you don’t have to work for it, it’s not worth doing. No one has told them that.

It’s a shame, really, because I see so much talent and promise in these middle school girls and so much talent and promise in those high school girls. But when they just expect it to happen? That’s when things don’t happen. Rather than taking their lack of training or ability as a kick in the butt to work harder, they whine and cry and threaten to quit. Many girls do quit. They won’t put in the effort. They just don’t want it. And that makes me sad.

I don’t expect anything. Ever. It really isn’t worth having if it’s handed to me and I don’t have to work for it. I can’t savor my success the same way as when I know I have put in all my effort and all my desire. The result is truly sweet when I get my wants that I’ve worked for.

Marriage Advice

I think the best piece of advice I got when I got married was this:

Never say anything bad about your spouse publicly.

At the time, it didn’t mean that much. I was in love and he was awesome and would I ever have anything bad to say about him? I mean, like, ever?? But of course the honeymoon was over and suddenly I was living with this other person and we didn’t always see eye to eye or maybe I didn’t like that shirt or maybe it annoyed me when he would try to help me in the kitchen (I was not a cook. He was great at it. I know now it was intended to be helpful but at the time I found it condescending. We laugh about it now.). I could have called my mom and my friends and my sister and  complained all day long. Any time we had a fight, I could have gone to someone else and whined and cried about how bad I feel. I’m sure I would have gotten the comfort I needed and the validation I needed at that time.

But then, a week later, when everything is wonderful with us, how would my best friend be feeling about my husband? Knowing intimate details about our fight? Or thinking that he is a horrible person for treating me so badly when it was actually one little misunderstanding and he and I worked it out, but of course I didn’t run to my friends to tell them how awesome and nice he is and how he made me dinner and hugged me for half an hour while I just cried or how he randomly brought home a movie that I love and have been wanting to buy…

Thankfully, I never put my family or friends in the awkward predicament of having to choose sides over issues. If there is something serious going on, we went to our ecclesiastical leaders or to a professional. Not to my friends or his friends or my mom…

In this day an age, we have Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram and… I don’t even know. There’s so much. And with all this social media people are breaking down walls of what they say. People aren’t afraid to get into arguments with complete strangers. And it seems like people are willing to risk friendships over stupid and trivial matters. Everything has become life of death and if you don’t agree with me, then I’m unfriending you and blocking you. And I’ll let everyone know what a crappy person you are.

I have seen so much personal stuff just thrown out on the internet because “It’s my Facebook and I can post what I want!” The last few days I have been devastated to read a friend making some vague and some not-so-vague digs at her husband’s family. They are definitely warranted, but I have to wonder if this is really the right venue to do so. I’m really uncomfortable. To top it off, things are being said about her husband now. I saw a comment thread go on and on as people talked with this friend about what her husband needs to do. Her husband even got on and half-heartedly tried to comment and yet more and more people got on and told him what he needs to do for his wife.

I really feel this should have been a private matter between them. I don’t live in their house and I have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors. I can shout my opinions about the the limited information I have gathered from Facebook, but how is that actually helping them? If I were to have this on my Facebook and I had 15 people jumping all over my husband, telling him what I need and what he needs to do, Ches would feel completely betrayed by me. I wouldn’t blame him for walking out, honestly. It is not the business of my friends to comment in a public manner on what I need to my husband. There are other, better, more effective avenues to take.

And another thing… if you have confided in me terrible things about your significant other and you went through a LOT of emotion in a break up, please don’t expect me to be able to just pick up and be happy when the two of you get back together. I’m super cautious. This person hurt you. And I love you and I get protective big time of the people I love. It’s hard for me to forgive all the hurt they caused you because I. Am. Not. There. And I’m scared they will do it again. I have to worked very hard to be happy for you.

I’m not saying don’t ever confide in me. I’m not saying I’m not here for you. Just know that once a person has been put in that position of “we hate so-and-so”, it’s really hard to get out of that position. I can’t switch gears that quickly. I love that you think enough of me that you come to me when you need a moment to vent. I get needing those moments (I have them. A lot.) and I encourage it because it’s not a good idea to just keep everything inside and pretend your life is all happy happy joy joy. I may talk to someone individually from time to time about my frustrations, but I don’t think you’ll ever hear me talk badly about Ches to a group or in a public forum of any kind. I love him and our marriage too much.

Overall, I think we all need to be careful of what we say in public and who we say things to. Do we want to betray that person we love? Do we want to risk damage to a relationship that will be harder than ever to repair?

A Toddler’s Life

It must be so hard to be Collin. He’s the shortest being in this house (unless you count the fish, and that really doesn’t count at all) and can’t reach all this cool stuff on the table our counters. He’s always being told “No!” as he tries to climb or grab. He gets super frustrated with building blocks because he wants a really tall tower, but the blocks keep falling over. He thinks he can swim, but nope. Not yet. Pesky ol’ Mom keeps grabbing on to his arm whenever he gets near water. He has to sit and be strapped down in a carseat when he would rather be wandering around the van while Mom or Dad is driving. He’s 16 months old and still doesn’t have any words for anything, so people just can’t understand what he wants.

He’s been spending a lot of time frustrated lately.

Collin is so adorable and a shameless flirt. As his family, we can mostly understand what he wants. He will reach for something if he wants it and make a little noise. Every now and then, at the dinner table, he will sign “more” for us.  He dances and “sings” along to music (especially The Wiggles) and the other day he even found a baton to wave as Ches listened to band music recordings. Seriously! What 16 month old does that?? He does some of the actions to his favorite songs and changes the shape of his mouth to sing along with some of the vowels.

But no words. I still don’t really know if I should be doing about this or just let it ride the course for a little longer. We had a home evaluation and he scored really high in things like “fine motor skills”, but really low on “communication.” Well, duh. He doesn’t even say “Dada” or “Mama”. Nothing. So they are coming back with a therapist.

I keep thinking this will blow over and he’ll become so frustrated one day he’ll just shout, “Give me the dang block already!!” or “No! I don’t want to read Barnyard Dance again! I want to read Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! GOSH!” (and apparently Collin speaks like Napolean Dynomite. Sweet!)

It just must be so hard to be Collin.


When Abnormal *IS* Normal!

As you may be aware, we have really been struggling with Aiden. He is very behind in his school work and just not performing up to his potential. No where near his potential. It’s frustrating how unfocused he can be. It’s disconcerting in so many ways. And it’s a major reason that we’re pursuing the ADD/ADHD route.

Last night I kept Aiden up until 11:11 pm, working on research and a rough draft. The rough draft was due last Friday. His final draft is due tomorrow. We will be up late again tonight because he will turn this paper in on time. I have been so overwhelmed by the amount of work he has to do and doesn’t get done. I even had a panic attack about the paper yesterday! I do not feel that I should be there, holding his hand constantly just so he can get his regular homework or school work done. He is 9 and a half years old and in the 4th grade. He should be able to get it done, right? He is given plenty of time at school and plenty of time at home to get the various assignments done. Yet things still get lost and forgotten. More like everything still gets lost and forgotten. I am at my wit’s end.

Today I got to volunteer in Aiden’s classroom again. I walked in and his teacher said, “How are you at math?” Normally I feel shaky, but some boys needed help on a math packet (that I had insisted on Aiden bringing home earlier in the week so he could get our help if needed and get it done early, thereby giving him more class time to work on stuff he kept leaving in his desk…), so I said, “Oh, I can do that!”

Please remember that Aiden is in a self-contained Gifted classroom. This means that ALL of the children in this class are exceptionally bright kids. They kind of scare me with their collective intelligence sometimes! However, it also means that each of these kids has different personal, social, mental, or emotional issues they have to deal with because of the “Gifted-ness”. It can be so fun to work with their fast little brains, but it can be very frustrating at times. And the level of work they do is so far advanced of what I did at that age!! Wow. It’s hard to keep up with them, and I’m just so grateful for the teacher in this class because she is so wonderful for these kids. She really gets them. She likes each and every one of these kids! She works so well with and for them. I love to watch her interact with the kids and I love to watch her teach.

Anyway, so I took three boys out in the hall to a table so we could work without distraction. These boys really didn’t need my help (other than an initial “How many mL are there in a liter? I know you don’t like working with metrics. Neither do I. We’re American. But Aiden’s dad is Canadian and he totally helped us, so it’s easy. Let’s think this through…” Quite comical, actually.). They are smart and can problem solve and think and they really knew what they were doing for the entire packet. No, what I really had to do was sit next to them and say, “Do your work. Do your work. Got that question done? Good. Do the next one. No, don’t talk to Jaedin. Do your work. Darius, do not go get another drink of water. Do the next question. Yes, Jaedin, I know he’s distracting you. Aidan D., stop distracting Jaedin. No, Darius, you can not have a second one of Rachel’s birthday donuts. You can finish your question. Aiden D., get a pencil you can actually write with and then finish the page.”

It was exactly — I really mean exactly — like working with my own Aiden. It’s constant redirection and focusing. It’s a constant presence to make sure they get the work done. Like I said, they are all smart enough they can do the work with no help. They just need someone there making sure they get it done.

After my volunteer time was up I went to pick up Parker from preschool. I was talking to a mom at the park after preschool. This mom also has a daughter in Aiden’s class. I mentioned that Aiden had to stay up late to finish his rough draft and how we’ve been spending so much time trying to play catch up that I think he’s getting behind in a lot of his current work. Best thing I heard? She said, “SAME HERE!!” She had to keep her daughter up late to finish one assignment a couple of days ago and her daughter just turned in another major assignment (that was due weeks ago… and one that we want Aiden to redo since he only got 11 out of 52 points) just today. Her daughter kept asking, “Can’t I just go lie down for a minute? Can’t I have a short break?” It is exactly like Aiden!!

The moral to my story? I do not at all think it’s normal for kids to be this unfocused on a regular basis. However, Aiden isn’t the only one. All of these kids are abnormal, thus making them normal. It makes me breathe so much easier to know that we are all fighting the same fight.

Oh, guess what? I’m going to win, too. Aiden is being taught to be responsible and focused. It will work. I will win. There is no other option.

Life Lesson: You Never Left Junior High

True story. No matter how old we are, we’ve never left junior high. I’m 35 years old, but I still feel as insecure as a 7th grader. I think I’m all grown up and the women around me have also grown up, but no. It’s all the same.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the park for our “official park day”. I pick Parker up from preschool and we walk across the street where we know all the kids and moms from church. It’s supposed to be fun. I don’t usually have a lot of fun, but I’m there for Parker. He loves it. I try to make an effort. I do. I just don’t feel comfortable around most of these women, try as I might. I know it’s just one-sided, but if you don’t feel like you fit in, why push yourself, you know?

Anyway, I sat there for an hour, listening to conversations where I had little to contribute, and trying to just be friendly and happy and enjoy the good weather. The women then commented on my pregnancy, and one woman asked, “So, are you having a baby shower?”

I thought it kind of an odd question. I mean, the baby isn’t due for months yet, we don’t know the gender, and it’s not like you throw yourself a baby shower, right? But, whatever. So I just answered with an, “I don’t know…”

Woman number two pipes in with, “Well, you want to know what the baby is, right? So people can buy blue blankets or pink blankets. You don’t want green or yellow. That’s just ugly.”

Ummm, okay. I like green and yellow. I’m fine with gender neutral things. But whatever.

So this whole other conversation is going on and on about how I need to know the gender of the baby (seriously folks, not my fault I have such an active baby that was moving too much during the 19 week ultrasound and we couldn’t get a look!! Also, not my fault that the doctor won’t try again until my 28 week ultrasound. Like I can afford to just have extra ultrasounds anyway. We can be patient… so can you!). And while the conversation was directed toward me and about me, I still felt like I wasn’t actually part of the conversation. I couldn’t get a word in!

Woman number one asks me again, “So, are you going to have a baby shower?”

Are you fishing for an invitation or something? Geez. I decided to be a little snarky. “Well, I don’t know because it’s not like I can go up to someone and say Hey, will you throw me a baby shower?

I got the desired chuckles and thought that would be the end of it. (Or perhaps an offer to throw me a shower? Because I have nothing for this baby!! I know it’s baby number 4, but my personal belief is *every* baby should be showered. And it’s been years since I had a baby. We gave just about everything away. And yes, I just want the attention. I’m an attention whore, just like everyone else!)

It wasn’t the end. Woman number two said, “Well, I’m sure someone will give you a baby shower. What about [named three woman who were not at the park that day]? You’re in their group. I’m sure they’ll throw you a shower.”

Woah. “Their group”??? We have definite “groups” now? And I have seen these three women, other than passing them in the hall at church or cub scouts, in months.

I’m sure nothing mean was meant by it, but I went away from the conversation feeling icky. That’s right. Icky. I felt like I had blotchy skin (oh wait, I do!) and a bad perm (thankfully, no) and wore last year’s style of clothes (yup). Or I wore orange on Pink Friday and the Mean Girls were about to go write in their slam book… four pages, just for me.

Park day is tomorrow. I don’t really want to go. But Parker looks so forward to it. I will spend all morning picking out the perfect outfit and packing the best snacks and try out a new hairstyle I found on Pinterest in the hopes that I will be accepted into this group. Or any group.

Can we put Park Day on my Murtaugh List???


When I was a senior in high school I was the 3rd chair flute in our school’s audition band. The 2nd chair flutist was a junior I’ll call “Kayla”. Kayla and I were friends… to a point. She actually drove me crazy. The worst was that whenever she made  a a mistake during rehearsal she would turn to me and tell me what to fix. “That was a B flat”, she would say in what I heard as a sickly sweet voice with a simpering smile. Blech! I sat next to her and could hear that she was the one who played B natural instead of B flat. Not I. I played to correct note. I hated being “corrected” for something I never did wrong.

In the spring we both auditioned for and made an all-region honor band. It just so happened that I actually made second chair and she made third chair. In the middle of sight-reading a piece, I made a mistake on a note. I couldn’t help myself. I turned to Kayla and said, “That was an F sharp, not an F natural” and gave her a big, fake grin. She gasped, “Oh my gosh! You’re right!” and quickly marked her music. She never made that mistake. Just me. But I wanted to get back at her. Not my finest moment.

Last night I got an email asking me not to do something. I can’t really go into the details here, but it was from a family member and it was asking me (with several other family members) to specifically not do something to one of my siblings. I felt like I was being admonished and chastised for something I have never done and would never do. If anything, I felt that this family member treated this sibling much the way I was being asked not to. It reminded me of sitting next to Kayla in band again. I bristled at the email, but the more I thought about it, the less angry I got.

You see, we all make mistakes. We all know that. It’s part of being human. However, it is often just so hard to admit when we have made mistakes. Sometimes it’s harder to admit the small mistakes than the big ones. So we point it out in others, perhaps to take the attention off ourselves. Perhaps to make us feel better about our mistakes. Perhaps because we assume that if we’re making these little mistakes, others must be, too. Sometimes we may honestly be blind to the fact that we make those mistakes and we really do want to help others that we see making those mistakes. I don’t know, honestly. I just know that I am going to try not to let the admonitions of others bother me anymore. They are not telling me something because they hate me. And maybe I am blind to the fact that I really am making those mistakes.

Here’s to me, recognizing my mistakes and striving to be better. That’s all we can do, right?

Mormons, Sex, and Basketball

There has been so much press lately about this “sex scandal” involving Brandon Davies, a basketball player for BYU. I’m not going to rehash the entire story or even provide links to the story simply because I think most of you have read enough and know enough of what’s going on. I just want to give a few of my own thoughts on the subject. Am I an expert? Nope. I am a Mormon, but that doesn’t mean I speak for all Mormons. I speak for myself. I enjoy watching basketball, but I don’t follow it closely. I just enjoy the game. So everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt.

I am not a fan of BYU. I don’t hate the school or anything, but I’m just not a fan. Through all of this “controversy” I have become a huge fan of Brandon Davies, however. And yes, I will be cheering BYU on as they play through the championships. I hope they go far.

I attended a Church-run school myself. I wish given a copy of the Honor Code with all the information about the school, so I had a chance to read it and agree to it before I ever even applied to the school. BYU and all the LDS church run schools are private schools. They have every right to have an extremely strict Honor Code. Every applicant knowingly signs the Honor Code. They all agree to it. It is never a surprise to find out that rules are being broken because as a student, you are made fully aware of what you are signing on to. If you don’t like the rules, you either don’t attend the school (thereby giving the spot to one of many students who would gladly follow the rules and attend the school) or you obey the rules but get on a committee that helps review things and change things. You try to change things in a positive manner. When I was at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) I was in amazement at the many people who had blatant Honor Code violations because they simply didn’t like it. I may not have agreed with everything,either (seriously… a curfew for college students??),  but I did my best to adhere to what I had signed on for. I signed my name stating that I would follow the Honor Code and I tried to be honorable and live by my word.

I have made the mistake of reading comments on other news articles and blog posts about this whole thing with Brandon Davies. Wow, there are a lot of negative, degrading people out there! I couldn’t believe how many people used the words “medeival”, “archaic”, and “antiquated” when describing the part of the honor code the says to live a chaste life. Most people didn’t even have the verbal skills to use those words, however, and pretty much just called it stupid. Many commenters said it is unrealistic to expect a 19 year old to not have sex with his girlfriend. And even more said that the Mormon church is making sex out to be dirty and shameful.

Again, I don’t speak for the Church and I don’t speak for every Mormon, but I do have my own experiences and opinions on this. So this is what I believe.

Sex is not dirty. It is not shameful. I have never, ever been taught that in church or by my church leaders or even by my parents. Not once. I was taught that sex is very special, sacred, intimate, and private. My parents didn’t talk a lot about it to me, and it would have been nice to have some more information, yes. It was drilled into me that premarital sex is not okay, but I knew there was a difference between being told not to have sex until marriage and not to have sex ever. Mormons obviously have sex (look at the number of children we have!), and we don’t have to constantly talk about it or advertise our sex lives to know that we actually have very healthy, enjoyable sex lives. The thing is, we hold it so close to our hearts… make it into such a special and intimate act… that it really is that important to only have sex with our spouse, and only after we’re married. Ches and I did not have sex of any kind until after we were married. Why? Because we wanted it to be that special. We wanted to wait and to save it for that time. Did I want to be intimate with Ches while we were engaged? Absolutely! But it was more important for both of us to wait. I cannot express how important it is to members of my church that we really do hold off until marriage for sex. It is not something that everyone else believes and I don’t think I’ll be changing anyone’s mind, either. I would just like people who are not of our faith to understand and respect that this is extremely important and leave it at that.

I also do not believe it is unrealistic to expect teenagers or young adults to abstain from sex. Yes, there are plenty out there that are going to have sex. I get that. I do not deny it. I feel like society has turned teenagers into walking hormones with no self-control that are ready to rip each other’s clothes off at a moment’s notice. We have made sex so prevalent in our movies, music, advertisements, books, speech, etc., that it’s no wonder that’s all we think about. Just because it’s so out there doesn’t mean that it’s that normal, however. There are so many things going on for teenagers and young adults. They are figuring out who they are and what kind of adults they want to be. Why do just expect that sleeping around is part of it? It’s not! It’s okay to teach kids to abstain from sex until they are older and more ready for it. Because of my believe that it is such an intimate and special act, I believe that it is a highly emotional thing that is being shoved down our throats as something commonplace. It’s not special if you’re experimenting with different partners or whatever. It’s not special if you never hold off or hold back. I’m not saying that it is shameful to ever have sex and we shouldn’t have it at all. I’m just saying to hold off… and don’t have such a low opinion of young adults that they “can’t”. Sex isn’t everything. There are so many more things… far more important things… than having sex. And there is so much more to it than having sex because your 19 and that’s what 19 year olds do.

I feel awful for Brandon Davies. He has been thrust into this spotlight for a seemingly small mistake. As important as chastity is to us as members of the LDS church, in comparison to the kinds of things athletes at other schools do, this is nothing. I find Davies to be extremely brave. He broke the Honor Code. He committed a serious sin. He did not wait until the end of the basketball season to confess. It seems to me he went to his bishop right away. He could have waited, you know. It doesn’t sound like anyone caught him doing anything. He made the choice to confess. He wasn’t coerced into confessing. There is no actual scandal involved. The girl isn’t pregnant. Again, he could have waited until April and stayed on the team, but he didn’t. He knew what he did was wrong and he decided to take care of it right away. That takes guts. That takes honor. Sadly, the entire nation knows what he did and he is unable to take care of this privately, as he should be. Can you imagine the pressure he must be under? Let’s not forget his girlfriend in all this. She is also a BYU student. Everyone knows what they did. That’s just never fun to have your private life broadcast. I wish we could just let them take care of this privately. (And yes, I realize that by writing on my blog I am also making this much more of a public display that I should. I have thought long and hard about writing this, believe me.)

I read comments that Davies will be shunned because of having sex. Interestingly enough, that seems to be the opposite of what has happened. Davies has the support of his teammates and coaches and the entire student body. Guess what, general public? Most Mormons do very little shunning. I’m sorry for that one random person you know that was disowned by their family, but in most cases, we are a very accepting group of people. We know that we are all human and we all make mistakes and we are all just doing the best we can. None of us are perfect, and we don’t ostracize others for not being perfect.

I am glad he didn’t get any kind of preferential treatment. It says a lot for the university. Basketball is extremely important to Mormons. We have basketball leagues in our congregations across the world. “Church ball” is crazy! But it’s part of our culture. We love playing as much as we love cheering it on. And BYU fans are pretty rabid (I know some of you reading this “bleed blue” and can attest to this) about their sports. So yes, it is disappointing to have such a great player get suspended from the team. I am absolutely amazed at the love and support Davies is getting. No one is going to blame him if the team doesn’t win the whole sh-bang. If they do blame him… well, we need to re-teach the concept of team sports, then. One person does not make the team. And honestly, before he was suspended, how many non-BYU fans had heard of Davies? It was all about “Jimmers”, wasn’t it? Not saying he’s not an important member of the team, but there are all those other guys on the team that also play and can pick up the slack.

So Davies confessed to violating the Honor Code and was suspended from the team. He had to know he was going to be suspended from the team. He had to know that by not waiting until the end of the season that he was putting himself in jeopardy of suspension simply because BYU has suspended football players for the same thing. It’s well publicized. You break the Honor Code, you face the consequences. Hey, Amare Stoudemire… he’s still in school. No one is denying him an education. Before you start spouting off ugly, hateful things you should understand what you’re talking about. We have this great concept that we believe in as Christians. It’s called the Atonement. We believe in repentance and forgiveness. By confessing what he did, Davies is seeking repentance and forgiveness. There are consequences for our actions, and being suspended from the team is the consequence. However, because he isn’t repeatedly breaking the rules he gets to stay in school and everyone says they are sure he’ll be on the team again next year. I can completely see that happening. We believe in forgiveness, and Davies is absolutely going to get it.

So, I’ve rambled on far too long. Most of my readers are also LDS, went to Church-run schools, and probably having the same thoughts as I. I just wanted to throw it out there. Not to beat a dead horse, as my friend Katie has said, but I find the entire issue fascinating because of the reactions of both Mormons and non Mormons.

Glee and Music Education

I read one of those stupidly gossipy “news” articles today that said the creator of Glee was upset and went on this angry rant about the Kings of Leon refusing to sign off rights for their song “Use Somebody” to be used on an episode of Glee. I knew that Kings of Leon had refused a long time ago, and thought that should be that. So this little rant comes a little out of nowhere to us lowly, normal folk. Anyway, Ryan Murphy (the creator of Glee), gave a huge “F– you!” to the band and said, “They’re self-centered a–holes, and they missed the big picture. They missed that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.”

Kings of Leon, meanwhile, apparently didn’t mean to snub Glee so much. They said, “This whole Glee thing is a shock to us. It’s gotten out of hand. At the time of the request, we hadn’t even seen the show. It came at the end of that record cycle, and we were over promoting [“Use Somebody”]. This was never meant as a slap in the face to Glee or to music education or to fans of the show. We’re not sure where the anger is coming from. We just said no to a license for a TV show, which we do a lot.”

Now, I’m not trying to become a gossip site myself. Just want to give you some background as I go on to my main point.

Is Glee really about promoting music education?

For me, Glee is a guilty pleasure. I loved the first episode. So did Ches. He hasn’t loved it since then, so he doesn’t watch it anymore. I love love love the musical numbers, and yeah, I even get into some of the outlandish story lines. I adore the interaction between Kurt and his his father. Those are often my favorite scenes. I don’t want to like Glee, but I do. It’s that musical geek in me.

I don’t know that it is a show that should be saying it’s promoting musical education. Of all the “agendas” of the show, that seems to be the bottom of their list. Their story lines are full of teenage angst, pregnancies (fake ones, teenage ones…), falling in love (seriously, is there anyone on the show not in love with someone?), and this crazy rivalry between Mr. Shue and Sue Sylvester. Their musical numbers all further the story lines. They have nothing to do with actual musical education.

There were a few things about the actual music education idea that always bothered me. First of all, they aren’t a glee club. They are a show choir. But I guess the title sounds better as “Glee” than “Show” or something. Anyway, there is a huge difference between glee clubs and show choirs. Quit calling yourselves a glee club already!! Second of all, not choosing your set list until the week of whatever competition you are in? Ummm, no. I know it’s not realistic for the show and would be boring if they show us what it’s really like. You work on the same few pieces of music for 6 to 8 weeks, then go to competition or festival. Because I don’t care how good you are, no one is going to be able to pick up a piece of music and suddenly the entire group can harmonize and know their choreography on the first shot. I just hate what a big deal they make of it, making it all “Oh no! We have regionals in two days and we still don’t know what to sing!” Whatever. Third, give the instrumentalists some due, please! These are supposedly also high school students. They can just come in at the beck and call of Rachel Berry and do a quick little number for Finn? Yeah, right. Personally, having been in band and knowing all the soap opera-ish drama that goes on there, I’d like to see the band members getting some lines and screen time. There’s a whole show on their own!

Anyway, if you want to push music education, then do so. But don’t try to pretend that the point of your show is give young kids something to look up to when it’s not so much about the music. If you want to send an anti-bullying message… yes! You are doing your job! If you want to send the message that being different is good… yes! You are doing your job! If you want to send the message that arts education is great and extremely important and everyone should try it… Sorry. I’m just not getting that message from the show.

Then again, maybe it’s working. A show choir has been started up at the high school where my husband teaches. Why? Because these kids all watch Glee and they asked for it. So maybe I’m just a stodgy, boring adult who doesn’t “get” it.

My Sunday I’s…

1. I am writing from my iPod Touch.
2. I feel so cool, writing from my iPod Touch.
3. I successfully used my new flat iron to do my hair for church today and I don’t think it turned ou half bad.
4. I was stopped by a lady at church today. She said she sees how skinny I am getting and she is so jealous.
5. I responded with “I am so hungry!” That’s the price of weight loss.
6. I absolutely love having the kind of weather in January that I can be outside in short sleeves and watch my kids play in luscious, green grass.
7. I miss wearing sweaters, however.
8. I am currently reading “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card and surprisingly am enjoying a lot.
9. I am lying in bed because I was trying to take a nap, but it just never came, so now I’m doing this instead.
10. I don’t think I have anything to day today that I haven’t already said on Facebook.
11. I think it’s time to lay off Facebook for a while.

Library Policy

I spent a good part of Saturday morning looking up books that I wanted to check out at the library, only to find most of them were checked out. So I placed them all on hold. Then Ches and I rounded up the kids and headed off to the library to just get whatever other books we could find (and return the ones that were due, of course). Two hours later, we returned home with our “book box” overflowing, as usual. Not even 10 minutes later, the library called to say one of the books I had placed on hold was now at the library and could be picked up within the next five days. Grrrrr. I wasn’t planning on going back to the library for a couple of weeks, actually. Luckily, my friend Kim spends a lot of time going by the library, so she took my library card and picked up the book for me last night.

Ches and I were gone last night (sold another item off Craigslist! YAY! So we were delivering it to a disabled guy that bought it) and I forgot to take my cell phone. Which is too bad because Kim needed my library pin number to check out the book. So she went to the front desk and said, “I can’t remember my pin number and I have been calling home to get it, but there’s no answer!” The librarian kindly said, “Oh, I can pull that up for you right here!” She wrote it down on a card for Kim (who was pretending to be me), and the book got checked out (yay! Now I get to finally read “Inkheart”!).

Then Kim said, “Oh, and you know what, my first name is spelled wrong in the system. Can we get that fixed?” You see, even though I had signed the card and filled out the forms correctly, someone had typed my name into the system as SHRIAH. It’s funny because whenever I get an automated call from the library they pronounce it just like that. It sounds like the first couple of years I was married and couldn’t say my whole name because my new last name starts with that “SH” sound. For some reason I always managed to say, “My name is Shariah Sh–” and sound completely drunk. Why is it that the good little Mormon girl is the one who always sounds drunk or looks high in pictures?? I’m NOT! Anyway…

So Kim points out to the librarian that the name should be spelled SARIAH instead of SHRIAH and the librarian says, “Oh, we can’t change that without picture ID. Sorry.”

So Kim and I spent a good portion of our walk last night laughing over the fact that the library has no problem just handing out pin numbers to people with library cards, but they can’t change the name in the system (even if it’s clearly written correctly on the back of the card) without picture ID. It’s really funny, although I can’t help but be a little worried about security there now.