Church Signs

Scarlett Jam

I recently read The Scarlett Letter and I couldn’t help but compare its fundamental depravity in judging others and outcasting people over the higher law of chastity with what has just happened with BYU basketball player Brandon Davies. Most of you may not know, but one of the key players was kicked off the team mid-season for admittedly having sex with his now pregnant girlfriend. BYU basketball has had an epic year and it was even rumored that they might take the first seed in the NCAA tourney. That is huge, but now they lost one of their most pivotal players.
Apparently BYU is one of the only schools left on the planet that actually makes college students live up to an Honor Code.  Part of me is proud to be part of church with a University that enforces higher personal standards, and the same part of me is ashamed. When reading this article tonight in the BYU newspaper I was taken back by it’s reference to justice. I guess I tend to be the kind of person more worried about mercy.
Originally I had written in this post that I wished that the University could have let the kid finish out the season so he would not have had to be living such public shame. I felt like if he does ever come back to play, they may as well iron a big old Atlanta Brave A to his jersey. It’s not that I didn’t think he should experience the ramifications of his disobedience and that he should repent. I have personally known many others who had to put their education on hold for a bit while working through their worthiness issues. I just don’t think that it was to anybody’s good to make such a public display of a man’s very personal life.

It’s such a sad thing for me to think about. It’s one of those things where two important principles seem to clash. Yes, let’s have a high standard, and yes, let’s love others, but how can we do both of these simultaneously? I feel like Brandon Davies has become a Hester Prynne and that just like the uptight community of the Puritan days, BYU sold him out to dry. My husband said that it wasn’t BYU that did this to him but his own actions and the media. He knew the standards he had agreed to when he signed on at the school.

When rethinking the option of letting Brandon Davies finish out the season, that would require the school to treat him with preferential treatment. As they kick all Honor Code offenders out immediately, it’s not that Brandon Davies should somehow be exempt.

I guess I am gonna be the kind of girl that stands at the Pearly gates and begs God to let in all the sinners. I  think that I need to study it out some more WHY God has standards in the first place and why I resent being controlled and others being controlled. If anything this news-story has been a lesson to me that our actions are never just about us, but they are also about our significant others and the people who observe us. But mostly it’s about us and our relationship with our Lord, and I hope that Brandon Davies will remember that while experiencing such severe punishment and horrible scrutiny. I pray that His Lord will carry Him through and allow Brandon to feel an extra dose of God’s love to counterattack everyone else talking about him negatively.

And let the record be made known that I would be best friends with Hester Prynne, well at least I would be until her demon child yelped at me. Hester’s kid is portrayed really scary in the book and it kind of freaked me out.

And that is my rant to go along with such an enticing church sign that can be found directly down the street from me right now. It’s like there are Scarlett Letters screaming at me everywhere. LG and I even watched that movie A+ last week when there was nothing else new at Redbox. It was kind of good. Too much language and sex, but doesn’t that make it just like every other movie out there? And if LG and I actually watch these movies, does that make us like Brandon Davies or Hester Prynne? And, aren’t we all like them? Isn’t that really the point  most necessarily understood by us all…we all fall short of perfection so really we should give each other grace? I’m glad I never went to BYU so I can criticize the way they have thrown a good young man who made a mistake out to the wolves of society. 
Meanwhile, I am going to make jam with fruit, and I have no idea whether or not it is forbidden.

Southern Drawls

The other day
LeGrand was getting onto Abigail.
How could she have a crush on a boy
who is always misspelling his texts?
I took the opportunity to tell him
that while I was on my mission
every time I read a letter from him,
I would cringe
and resist the urge to edit
with a red pen
and mail it back.
I know
I’m just a tad controlling.
But he had to admit
that I am about
the smartest gal in the world.
Not because I can spell
(for the most part)
but because I chose to marry him
before he could.
And he was in the 14th grade.
Abigail then said,
“Dad, it’s texting,
you don’t have to spell right.”
I am sure LeGrand
was secretly wishing that he
could have dated me via text.

Infinite Love

Even if they don’t seem loveable,
one of God’s greatest miracles
is the love he has for each of us.
He even loves the
rich and famous.
(The Real Housewives
are a whole different kind of star)
I think that has got to be hard to do.
To love everyone.
To know them intimately.
To see their good
even when they often act bad.
The next time I hear about Lindsay Lohan going to rehab,
I am going to choose not to judge,
but to remember that God loves her.
And then I am going to force myself
to realize that
he loves me too.
Even when I do the same stupid thing
for the millionth time.

Sunday homework

I believe I already wrote about our frustrations
with the amount of homework Abigail has in 6th grade.
But the frustrations have been so monumental
that I can’t write about it enough.
I am having a parent/teacher conference
with all of her core teachers about it on Tuesday.
I sent them an e-mail last week
out of utter frustration.
LeGrand laughed on Thursday,
when for the second day in a row
Abigail came home with no homework,
except for the 4 major projects that had already been assigned.
LeGrand said,
“Do you think that this change is a result of your e-mail, Alice?”
The change had been drastic.
Abigail has been doing homework every waking hour
since school started.
My reply with a wink:
“I absolutely think it is because of my e-mail.
Why would you think any different?
You know that
I have influential writing skills.”
We laughed.
Well, here is a church sign that I captured this past week.
I am posting it in honor of the homework
we will be supervising with Abigail all evening.
Supervising meaning
she will have to do the work,
but we will have to make sure she stays focused
and gets it done.
I am kicking myself for living the hell
we call Sunday night homework.
I remember how my parents
used to always beg us to get our homework
done on Friday or Saturday.
But really, I don’t have the heart to
make her do it on Friday night,
when she is completely wasted mentally.
And Saturdays are busy!
Sunday just seems easier,
as all we really have scheduled is
a three hour block of church.
Tonight’s big assignment is a current event project.
I can’t wait.

When I saw this church sign,
I couldn’t help but think about
this post on a blog that I have been frequenting.
The Knoxvillian author of mamapundit
just lost her son to a drug overdose.
I am appalled at what people say to her.
It has some serious religious fervor going on.
It gives you a taste of
living in the Bible belt.
Of course, I put in my two cents.
Well, I believe I will copy and past my e-mail,
(to the teachers, not to mamapundit)
in case any of you ever need
some influential writing.
What is your opinion about the homework thing?
Dear Ms. Parker and 6A Team Teachers,

Abigail Gold is my daughter. And as I know none of you well, I want to preface this e-mail with the fact that I am not one of “those parents”. I will absolutely do everything in my power to support you all in your goals as I will for my child. I know we all have her best interest at heart. Abigail has always been a straight A student and has never had any problems completing assigned homework. I am worried that her Honors classes may be too much for her to handle at such a young age. If we were to take her out of honors, would there be a considerable difference in the amount of homework?

My husband and I are both very dedicated to helping Abigail succeed with her education. We are very concerned because Abigail has had an abundance of homework. We are worried on two accounts. One, is all this homework really necessary? And two, does our child need an A.D.D. assessment? She is having a terrible time concentrating on her homework. I am not sure if it can really be considered Attention Deficit Disorder or if she is just sick and tired of studying all day every day. She understands the material and so I hate to take her out of Honors, but I am worried about her emotional well-being. She doesn’t have a minute to relax anymore…not a minute…until Friday night. This past weekend, we did homework for eight hours on Sunday, where we repeatedly corral her back to her desk to focus. I have thought that our 3 other children were a lot of the distraction issues for Abigail, but on Sunday our other children were at their Grandma’s.

Tonight we did math for 2 hours, social studies for a 1/2 hour, and language arts for 15 minutes. This doesn’t even touch the 1/2 hour reading she is supposed to do for her Reading class. She also has 4 ongoing larger projects that she has only barely started. Today, she came home from school, did homework until she ran out the door to her soccer game and then came home and ate dinner while working on the rest of her homework until 10 p.m. This has been typical since school has started. Even on the nights she doesn’t have soccer or church, she is still doing homework from the time she comes in the door until she goes to bed.

I understand that Knox County has raised the bar, but is homework the answer for these kids? As adults, we don’t want to work all day every day, and I especially don’t think it’s fair to expect that of an 11 year old child. I don’t think it’s healthy. I also don’t know if this is just an Honors thing, but if it is, is it really fair to approach honors by giving the excelled students more work than they can handle healthfully? Our whole family has been negatively effected by the amount of attention is required for Abigail’s homework.

Trust me, I am all for teaching my child good work habits. (Let’s not even talk about the chores she never has time for anymore) Abigail has high goals for college and talks of Ivy League schools, and I understand that she needs to learn good study habits, especially if this is her future goal, but I am sending this e-mail with grave concern for my daughter. I hope you can all shed some light for me. I know all the other parents have said that their kids have a ton of homework too, but I think we may need some medical attention for Abigail. I have been told that the schools conduct assessments when a parent expresses concern, and I wonder if this is true? I know you all are much more experienced with middle school and with a variety of students and I am novice with my oldest child just starting 6th, and so I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.