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Our mothers knew it

Today’s guest post is from my darling eighteen year-old son, Ben. He offered to write a post last Spring, and with the craziness of girls’ camp in my life this week, it seemed like the perfect time to cash in the favor. I’ve left it largely unedited; I love reading the fresh, raw opinions of my boy and his friends.  –Michelle Lehnardt, Segullah Blog Co-Editor

My boxes aren’t exactly packed, but I’ve been sorting through my clothes, searching for a sturdy bike lock and asking my mom a little more often than usual, “How do you cook _______?”

In two weeks I’ll be at BYU, away from home for the first time in my life. As you can imagine, my mom has been pretty emotional about my departure. It probably wasn’t very nice of me, but I took her to Toy Story 3 with full knowledge that she’d cry through the whole movie (I should have brought more Kleenex).

But her influence in my life isn’t over. As much as my mom dislikes driving, I’m pretty sure she’ll make the trek to Provo pretty often to bring me cookies, walk through the art museum with me and, hopefully, restock my fridge.

And as I prepare to go on a mission this winter I’ll also be depending on my mom to navigate all that suit shopping for me (I really, really despise the mall).

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This is normal

By Michelle Lehnardt

Southern Virginia University has an intriguing little calender on their website: Typical Ups and Downs of College Life.

For your reading pleasure– February:

* Feelings of claustrophobia and depression set in with winter
* Potential increase in alcohol and other substance abuse
* Challenges with love relationship at home
* Valentine’s Day brings out loneliness, isolation

Do you even want to read March?

* Anxiety regarding finding roommates for next year
* Excitement and/or disappointment regarding spring break plans
* Midterm exam stress
* Concern over summer employment
* Concern over winter weight gain

As I perused the list with my oldest son and laughed at the tragi-comedic (yet accurate) outline, I thought how comforting it would be for a struggling freshman to read it and sigh with relief– “It’s OK, I’m normal.”

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Our Children Can’t Have Coats!

By Carina Hoskisson

Right around the time when I was starting to get into the rhythm of the speaker’s talk, my 2 year old lost it. His brother, having stolen the black crayon, affected a wide-eyed innocent look that I scarcely had time to enjoy before I whisked the 2 year old out of the chapel. We walked around the building to cool off, playing our favorite game (Find Jesus in The Painting; it’s a classic!) The closing prayer delivered, the chapel clearing, I delivered the babe to nursery and went back to find my husband and 6 year old. They were still on the pew, engaged in a mutual emotional meltdown. Icy, red-eyed stares with a side order of growling, and the 6 year old in tears.

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Scary Teachers, Scary Parents

By Kathryn Paul


I have a child who hates school.   He didn’t always hate school.    The kindergartener who upstaged all the other tyrannosaurus rexes loved school.   The first grader whose portrayal of Medusa delighted audiences at the end of the Greek mythology unit adored school.   His first years of learning were joyous and fun.  What happened to my youngest child?   What destroyed his love of learning?

Sending my first child to school was scary.   My daughter loved her California teachers, but after moving to Utah I learned that all teachers are not created equal.  In a perfect world all teachers would be amazing.  In a state where high schools often hire teachers on the basis of what sport needs a coach that year, you’d better do your homework.  I learned to talk to other parents, but we moved frequently and I had to figure out the politics of four school districts.  I rejoiced when my daughter was accepted to the 5th and 6th grade gifted program at Cherry Hill Elementary School.   For two years I got to relax; my daughter’s teacher was amazing.

Two years later, I cringed as the Honors English teacher chattered about her amazing adventures in Amway, even when I attempted to steer the parent-teacher conference back to my daughter’s progress in her class.  My daughter’s claim that her middle school English teacher was a train wreck no longer seemed like an exaggeration.  My daughter doesn’t suffer silently.  In high school, when her American History teacher, a basketball coach,  popped in a videotape every class period,  my daughter wondered if the state core actually required an eight week unit entitled “The Impact of Professional Sports on American  History.”  Finally, my daughter raised her hand and said, “This is totally stupid.”  I empathized with her complaints, but I kept my mouth shut.  I couldn’t afford to be a scary parent because I taught at that school and we live in a state where we just want everyone to be nice…

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How do I judge thee? Let me count the ways…

By Michelle Lehnardt

Bishop Brown stood in the common, legs crouched, hands held ready. As the disk sailed across the clear blue sky, he leapt and caught it with a loud, “Yes!”

His wife, Peggy, laughed as he held it above his head like a trophy, then readied herself for her own catch.

Soon, they settled into an easy rhythm, chatting and joking as each spinning toss unwound the cares of the day.

The phone was ringing as they walked back into their apartment, and on answering it, Bishop B recognized his neighbor’s voice, “Steve!” the neighbor barked, “How am I supposed to teach my kids to keep the Sabbath holy when you’re outside tossing a Frisbee around!”

Fighting the urge to laugh, Bishop B assuaged his neighbor then turned to his now-steaming wife. “Are people going to judge us all the time?” she asked.

He reached forward and tucked a loose curl behind her ear, “Sadly, yes.”

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Really? I mean, Really?

By Justine Dorton

Overheard while wandering through Borders with my husband:

Young 20-something with a Twilight t-shirt on: “Umm, do you still carry any Twilight umbrellas? I saw them here last week.”

Employee of Borders: “Yeah, I’ll walk you over. They’re here in this display.” (walks her to a large Twilight display)

Twilight girl: “Wow! (looks at display) This is awesome.”

Employee: “Yeah, it is, huh? I just got back from Forks last week. It was an incredible time.”

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Summer’s Envy

By Justine Dorton

sun woman water pictureI do NOT want school to start.

Right now, we’re swimming in the pool every afternoon, we’re leaving rooms messy, we’re reading on the patio in the evening shade. We’re licking Popsicles, dancing to U2 waaayyyy past bedtime, going to week-long bug camps, scout camps, girls camps.

We just got back from a fantastic drive-across-the-country vacation where we stopped whenever we wanted, ate whatever we wanted, slept when we felt like it, stopped at Corn Museum’s and The World’s Largest Egg Beater display, listened to books on CD for hours on end.

Why would I want to end it all?

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By Justine Dorton

I was at my 20th High School reunion last week. It was strange and wonderful and a little creepy all at once. I walked away with renewed relationships and with a heavy dose of disappointment in myself.

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Next to Godliness

By Michelle Lehnardt

img_1435Becky’s house is immaculate. Not just clean, but a place of wonder. There is no junk, no clutter; dust and crumbs are whisked away before they hit the floor or an unsuspecting tabletop.

Her four children are all well-trained to hang up backpacks, jackets, towels; to stow away shoes and dirty laundry; to eat without spilling and to rinse the dish and place it in the dishwasher. They’re not repressed. Cookie baking and art projects are also part of their weekly routine, but without the flour explosions and paint spills that inevitably happen at my house.

Last week, my friend Cindy’s husband went to Becky’s house to help move a piece of furniture. Like most mortals, he was awed by the cleanliness and peace in their home. Returning home, he gushed to Cindy about the perfect order, the obedient children, “Maybe you could start with just one room at a time and make our house like that too?” he suggested.

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It’s Snow Problem…

By Justine Dorton

Am I the only person on this good earth that loves snow? All around me, even in my own house, I’m bombarded with complaints of cold, whines about shoveling, grumbles about snowstorms.

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