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Passion: Helping Our Children Choose Passion

By Lara Niedermeyer


I took a childhood education class a few years back, and the teacher had us take several different personality tests, multiple times (for ourselves, for each of our kids, and for our spouses). As I pondered this new information and what to do with it, Julie talked about how we live in a society where being “well-rounded” is considered a top priority by many. We don’t just want our children to enjoy sports, do adequately academically and graduate from high school and/or college, and learn to express themselves though the arts . . . we wanted them to be successful—often equally; who doesn’t love a straight-A student—in every endeavor. She asked us to think about this; whether it was possible, whether it was worth it, and what we would be giving up for ourselves, our families, and our children, if this was the path we choose to lead them on—the path of being jacks-of-all-trades—instead of allowing them to choose their passion, and supporting them in it.

I’m a dancer and a dance teacher. Ballet is one of my passions and it has been since I was a child. I was in junior high school when friends I had been taking class with for years began to drop out. For many, it was a change of interest, or a financial situation, but for some it was something else. Their parents had decided that their passion wasn’t worth the investment. As one friend tearfully told me, they logically explained that since she wasn’t going to make it a career—because no one does that, really—they weren’t going to pay for her to dance any longer. It was time for her to put away childish things, and focus on that which would provide a safe and useful future by their estimation. To say she was devastated was to put it mildly. It changed the course of her teen years, and not necessarily in a good way.

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Passion: Christmas songs you love, Christmas songs you hate

By Shelah Miner

IMG_4884Over the next two weeks, we’re all going to hear a few Christmas songs. Make that a LOT of Christmas songs. Between next Wednesday night and next Friday morning, I will have the pleasure of attending one junior high Christmas concert, two elementary school Christmas concerts, and two preschool Christmas concerts (in case you were counting, that makes five concerts in 36 hours). By the time they’re all over, I’m sure I’ll be vacillating between cuteness overload and wanting to wear noise-canceling headphones through the New Year.

One thing that most of us can agree on is that Christmas songs are awesome. Part of it is probably because we only listen to them for six weeks out of the year (if we adhere to the “only after Thanksgiving” rule, and I refuse to acknowledge any other kind of people). Part of it is probably because we associate them with all kinds of happy memories. In my mind, Amy Grant equals baking cookies. After performing for a season with The Nutcracker, the opening strains of Tchaikovsky’s ballet will always be linked with the musty smell of my mouse costume as I watched the party scene from the wings. I associate listening to The Forgotten Carols with holiday road trips when I was a teenager (although I gathered my kids to watch a video of the production a few years ago and I was sort of shocked at how bad it was). I’m getting ahead of myself here. 

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Passion: Stoking the Embers

By Kellie Purcill

I’ve been to a wedding celebration. The bride and groom were delighted in each other, and obviously oblivious to most of what was going on around them. They held hands during speeches, whispered to each other, had that unconscious radar tracking and alignment to wherever their beloved happened to be if not in arms reach, …

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Passion: Under Water

By Jennie LaFortune

I’m teaching Hemingway in class.  A Farewell to Arms- where war, love, food, nature, and alcohol litter the pages.  Selling the plot to a bunch of 17- year- olds was quite easy. Like I said, war, love (or let’s be honest, sex), food, and alcohol. But I know, and hopefully they will too, it contains …

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Passion: Finding Myself Again

By Jessie Christensen

Jessie_ShamuIt was pretty easy to describe myself when I was seven years old. Favorite animal? Whales. Favorite colors? Black and white, like Shamu. Favorite food? Shrimp, since that’s what whales eat. What did I want to be when I grow up? I wanted to be a marine biologist or I wanted to work at Sea World. For a few years I had wanted to either be a whale or marry one, but I think that by age seven I had figured out that this plan would not work. I spent most of my early childhood obsessed with whales; I read books about them and memorized facts about them that I shared with everyone, whether they wanted me to or not (did you know that killer whales are actually a type of dolphin?) We lived in Southern California for most of my childhood so I had plenty of opportunities to go to Sea World to visit my friend Shamu.

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Passion: Windows of Agates

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

Cincinnati Death Record
Cincinnati Death Record

Sunday morning

During the passing of the sacrament I decided to prep myself for Sunday School by reading the scriptural passage we’d be studying. Isaiah 54. That first verse caught my attention in a visceral way:

“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”

I know many women for whom fertility issues are a great source of anxiety and grief. My own three children were hard to come by, but relative to those who want children but can never have them or lose them early I can only imagine the heartbreak. And, given Isaiah’s setting where being barren (even though it may have been the guy’s problem!) was deemed “shameful”, the problem was exacerbated by that unjust layer of societal disrespect.

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Passion: Or maybe just a fad?

By Shelah Miner

Running with The Raven on Miami Beach. He has run eight miles on Miami Beach every single day of my life– talk about passion.

Six years ago, I had a routine: get all the kids ready, drop the two oldest  off at the elementary school, then head over to the gym, where I’d put the baby and the preschooler in kid care, and I’d go off to spend the next two hours doing whatever I wanted. Usually, I wanted to take a spin class. I was pretty fanatical about my spin classes. I had teachers I loved and teachers I barely tolerated. Some songs were great for spinning (Latin dance music– who knew?), while some songs made the class almost unendurable– and if you asked (and even if you didn’t), I’d be happy to expound on which was which. In class, I’d sit in the back, right under the fan, with my water bottle full and my game face on. I was the annoying girl who grunted and sweated and tried to race you. It was awesome. If you had asked me what I was passionate about back in those days, spinning classes surely would have been on my list.

Five and a half years ago, we moved, and I can probably count on one hand the number of spin classes I’ve taken since. I haven’t even been on a bike.

Looking back, it’s obvious that spin classes were, for me, just a fad. An enjoyable fad, to be sure. My butt looked amazing, and my abs were much tighter than they’ve ever been before or since. But when we relocated, there wasn’t a gym that had classes at a time that worked, and my kids were old enough that I didn’t need my daily interaction with the girls at the gym (as competitive as it may have been on my part) to save my sanity. 

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Passions: A Fiery Temper

By Sandra Clark

Fire by Kris Krug
Fire by Kris Krug

This post is part of our quarter theme on passions.

“Fire is not your friend,” Dustfinger often cautions in the pages of Inkheart, a young adult novel by Cornelia Funke I’ve been reading to my ten year old son. Yet, even as fire is not a friend, it is Dustfinger’s muse. He’s a fire tamer who juggles, breathes, and plays with the flames that do not love him back. Fire is fitful and takes practiced skill to control.

Do you play with fire?

When I think of “passions” I think of fire, flames, and burning. Raging hormones, untamed desire,  unchecked interest  or angry wrath are all lumpily lodged into the word passion. The heat of the fires they can rage into rolls them into the same hot mess.

Sometimes I feel like one.

As a blessing of having a body to feel it and at the curse of being subject to one, I’ve known volatile passion of my own. There are times I just get really, really mad.

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Passion: Bridle Your Passions

By Rosalyn Eves

The first time I really thought about Alma’s advice to his son Shiblon about passion–“bridle your passions, that you may be filled with love”–it was in the context of a seminary lesson on sexual purity. And for years afterward, I assumed that was all there was to know about this scripture: physical passion is a good thing, in moderation.

But lately I’ve been coming back to this scripture and wondering if there isn’t more to it. The quarterly theme for Segullah is passion, and thinking about passion in a broader context has me rethinking Alma’s advice.

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Passion: When You Shouldn’t Do What You Love

By Christie Rasmussen


I’ve been thinking a lot about how passion plays into a career. As I’ve been actively interviewing for internships next summer, I’ve had to focus on what I want to do post business school. “What I want to do” is a complicated question when you have to keep in mind what you’re good at, what industries interest you, which locations are compatible with your chosen field, how your future career may complicate family life, along with a slew of other variables.

In the back of my mind, I think of the supposed wisdom repeated to me in my adolescence: “Do what you love.” I repeated this mantra as I declared myself a theatre major in my undergrad. Surely loving what you do is the first guideline when settling on a career path. As I supplemented that degree with one in advertising and then worked in the industry for a few years, though, I found that loving what I did was nice, but it wasn’t a guarantee for a successful profession. Or, at least, I might approach a project from a less-than-passionate mindset, but I soon found myself enthralled once I dug into the work.

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