Sunday, August 17, 2008

10 Things I Never Wanted to Know About You

When I was entering college, I didn't even know what the Internet was (apparently, Al Gore hadn't done a good enough job yet of advertising his invention :). I remember sitting in the University library trying to navigate my first Web page, telling my soon-to-be wife, "this thing will never catch on." It was too slow, cumbersome, and difficult to find things.

How things have changed in a decade or two. Now, we do most of our shopping for birthdays and Christmas on the Internet and actually going somewhere, rather than doing it online, is kind of a pain.

And we all have Blogs. I swore I'd never read one when I first heard the name. Not knowing it was a combination of Web plus Log, I was convinced if someone couldn't think of a better name than "blog", it wasn't worth looking into. Now, I write in one and so do more and more people every day. It's kind of nice...you almost don't have to talk to people anymore...just check into their blog every few days and you are instantly caught up on their life. And sometimes you know more than you may have ever wanted to know about their life. I guess it's the Jerry Springer effect--somehow it is easier to share things with the entire world that you would normally be too embarrassed to tell anyone privately.

In this spirit, here are 10 things I hope to never find on your blog(my apologies to any friends or family who have actually posted any of these things in their blogs...I assure you this is not written about you ...I'm talking about all those other weird people out there).

10) How many pimples you popped on your spouse's back, face, or any other body part yesterday.

9) Anything about body parts, for that matter. Or how smelly you or someone else you love is.

8) Pictures of your naked children, especially if they are placed in cabbage leaves or other strange things.

7) Anything that mentions your affiliation with, support of or sympathy for Oprah or anything she endorses.

6) Thanks for posting your favorite music on your blog. If I would like to listen to it, I will click on it, but please give me my agency so I can read your blog in peace rather than force-feeding me music I would never choose to enjoy. After all, I may have vowed never to listen to Enya again, and I wouldn't want to be forced to break my promise just because I'm visiting your blog (I know I could mute the sound, but even with the sound muted, some really repulsive artists somehow magically get their music waves into your system...probably through your fingers or something).

5) All of your pet peeves, spelled out in great detail. Come on, give us something uplifting to read. This one guy went on and on about hating camping and stuff...it was like he couldn't say anything positive...

4) Things that make my wife feel like she is not as good of a mother as you are. So, please keep it real and post lots of pictures of your over-piled laundry, dirty rooms, and messy children. Also, mention how you yell at them occasionally, ignore them while you do self-indulgent things and any other parenting imperfections you can think of, so that we will know you are human too.

3) That someone else MADE you write a blog. You know, like the following entry:
"There I was, minding my own business, when the entire country of China called and demanded that I create a blog. I really didn't want to do it, but since they insisted, I will now begin writing about all my personal business for all the world to see.(By the way, when they called, China did mention what a great writer I am, which is why then INSISTED, I create this blog)".

2) Anything about your new multilevel marketing company, how it sells itself or you'd like to help me become rich, for a small startup fee.

1) Entries that should have been marked: "Warning: For women only", but weren't. I'll go ahead and make you a promise: If you'll mark it that way, I promise I won't read that entry. This, more than maybe anything else, may help solve the "Wow, I REALLY, REALLY didn't want to know that" syndrome.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

High Security

I understand the need for security in many important places -- like airports, court rooms, and banks. I might even understand if you wanted to put security around a really good donught shop, because we've got to protect our country's most important assets. But one place I had never really considered to be all that high of a security need is a hospital.

After all, who wants to steal a sick person? Or hurt one...I mean, what's the point...they are already in the hospital. I understand protecting the baby unit, but the rest of the hospital I think is pretty much fine with a Wal-Mart greeter at the front door.

And I never had experienced all that much security at a hospital until a recent trip to visit my brother, who was pretenting to be sick (it is amazing the attention you can get if you tell people in an emergency room that your heart is doing strange things...you better mean it if you say it, because they are not letting you go until they put you through all kinds of tests).

I wasn't that surprised when we were asked to sign in at the security desk...that seemed fair enough. But it didn't stop there. They called the room we were going to visit to tell them we were coming. Next they wanted to see a photo ID to verify identity. My mother, who was with us, didn't have her ID with her, so she had to fill out a lengthy identify verification form. It was quite a process. After that, they took a digitial picture of each of us and printed it out on a temporary ID badge that they asked us to wear at all times. At this point, I was a little bit annoyed. We were going to visit my brother, who wasn't really even sick, and they were acting like we were getting clearance to visit the President.

But just when I was feeling sorry for myself, I noticed a guy nearby that had it worse than we did. He was leaning over a table, wearing a hospital gown, going through some sort of inspection that was much more thorough than ours. I didn't know whether to be nervous that we weren't done with the security screening and would be next in line, or whether to be relieved that we apparently got the expedited version. We put on our badges and hurried past, and no one ever stopped us, so I guess that guy just got the short end of the stick (or whatever the case may be).

The whole experience made me think though...if we could just hire the hospital people to be in charge of keeping us secure, we might be in good hands. You wouldn't have to worry whether your children were safe at school, because the hospital security people would have it covered (although checking in and out each day may take hours). You could shop at the grocery store without concern that someone was going to break in, without signing in, and cause all kinds of violence. There would be no weirdos at the library anymore, because security would screen them out. And there would be no concern that your jelly doughnut would be taken by prior customers--security would have it sitting there waiting for you, locked in an airtight container.

I guess the only drawback would be where to get all the money to pay for this kind of security. There isn't that kind of money in schools, grocery stores, libraries or doughnut shops.

Maybe that should tell us something about hospitals and hospital bills.

But at least all the sick and wounded can sleep well tonight, knowing no one is going to break in an steal them.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Because

It is not only a great Beatles song, but it is probably the best answer to nearly every question that involves the word why.

Parents have long tried to find the right answers for the never-ending inquiries posed by their children. "Why do we have to do chores?" "Why is the sky blue?" "Why does Jimmy get five gifts from Santa at Christmas every year when we only get one?"

Although we may get frustrated or even annoyed when our children ask all of their "why" questions, it is ironic that we turn right around and pose similar questions to our Maker. "Why, when I am trying my hardest to live right, does life keep presenting challenge upon challenge?" "Why does my neighbor find a great job making lots of money when I am barely scraping by on a small salary with no benefits?" "Why did God save the life of the ill child when his parents prayed in faith for a miracle, yet mine passed away?" "Why would a loving God allow some to be born into a free country and others into captivity?" "Why would I be asked by my church to teach the six-year-olds in Sunday School?"

It is easy for us to see how our own children are missing the big picture when they bombard us with puzzling "why" questions. It is not always as easy to see from an eternal perspective how God must feel toward us when we ask the "why" questions of the grown up world.

I leared in a family studies class once that the best answer parents can give small children when they ask "why" is the simple word, "because." Although not usually successful in quelling curiosity when spoken angrily or mockingly, a simple, humble "because" really does work remarkably well with young ones. Try it sometime...

Child: "Why is the sky blue"
Parent (Lovingly): "Because, sweetheart"

So, why does "because" satisfy the curioisity of young ones? Maybe the answer is more important than we realize. Young children trust their parents and believe they know all of the answers. Knowing that their parents have a handle on the mysteries of life is reassuring and can allow them to go back to what they were doing. As long as they know their parents know the answer, they don't need much more of a detailed explanation. They have faith.

But we adults are sometimes possess too much critical thinking to always be satisfied with "because" for an answer. We want to know the real reason behind the answer. We want it to make sense for us logically. However, consider the following examples from the scriptures about how we can certainly put even more trust in God that there is a reason to our grown-up "whys" than our children put in us when try to satisfy their "why" questions:

1) Matthew 7:11
"If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father in Heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

2) Malachi 3:13-18
13 Your words have been astout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?
14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?
15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.


3) D&C 6:34
"Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail."

4) D&C 122:7
"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

5) Joseph Smith History 1: Footnoe: Account of Oliver Cowdery
“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease."

So, the next time a young child persists with "why" questions, try the simple answer: "because." Likewise, the next time we find ourselves posing the same question to our Maker, let us listen for the same, loving answer and the wonderful reassurances that are contained within it.