Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sometimes It's The Alarm Clock

I've been thinking about marriage of late.
Maybe it's because Larry and I seem to be really, really, really, married since we both retired.
Twenty four seven as they say. That's how much time we spend together now.
I must admit that on occasion that's nice, but now and then I'm reminded of hard things.
Sometimes when that happens I find that issues from long ago drift to the surface.

One thing that drifted was a time when Larry was behaving like an insensitive lout.
It was back when we lived in the mountains.
I was teaching in a small rural district 17 miles from our little house in the big woods. Larry was driving his beloved 18 wheelers for a highway construction company in a small town about 60 miles away.
So all of us, parents and girls, had a bit of a commute to school and work every day.

Well, Larry had to get up at around 3:00 AM in order to make it to his work on time. The girls and I could sleep till 5:00.
Logically the alarm clock was located on Larry's side of the bed so he could rise and shine when it clanged.
The deal was that he would reset the alarm for the rest of us who then could get those extra two hours of sleep before we had to be up and at it too.

Here's where Larry's insensitive loutish behavior comes in to play.
About twice a week he would forget to reset the alarm!

This caused panic, rushing, missed hairdoing, and or breakfasts among three lovely women he was supposed to care about.

It also caused me to begin to have misgivings and dark thoughts about the depth of love and committment felt by my spouse for me and his entire family.
How could he be so selfish!
How could he not be concerned about our lives and issues!
How could he not care!
And then...even darker.
He never thinks about anyone but himself!
How could I have ever chosen him as an eternal companion!

This biweekly, husbandly, unforgiveably selfish forgetfulness and subsequent wifely murmuring and dark thinking went on for a couple of weeks.

Then there was a breakthrough that I believe was heaven sent.

It was Saturday.
Our family had just made the 50 mile drive down the mountain to do our shopping at the big box discount store in the closest small town. As usual everyone took off on their own as soon as we passed through the doors.
I was drifting through the aisles with my cart when a section devoted to alarm clocks caught my eye.
There they stood all in a row. Wind-up, electric, radio, lighted, plain. One was shaped like a birdhouse.
It was quite a selection.
I slowed down and stopped to think for a minute.
Then I reached out and chose a $6 wind up.

Sunday night I opened the clock box.
I set the alarm for the time when the girls and I needed to get up and put it on my side of the bed.

Then a miracle occurred!

We had no more loutish behavior from Larry.
There were no more uncharitable dark thoughts from me.

I went off to work loving my spouse once again.
He began to look cuter to me.
He seemed to speak more kindly.
Now there was love in his eyes where before there was only selfish indifference!

Now for some very profound marital advice from someone married 50 years.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mrs. Wagher's Rules

Dear Kind Readers,
I've been blessed with some adversity of late.
Included were a couple of hospital stays that put a kink in my usual writing routine.
So for now I'm continuing to revise some older posts that are full of typos and other errors.
Here's one from five years ago that had lots.

Bless you for your patience. Hope to be back at it full geezer strength soon.
Thank you especially for the kind comments. They give me hope that I may still be of use.
May Heavenly Father always hold you close.

Mrs. Wagher's Rules

I’ve never been a fan, as a teacher or a parent, of having lots of rules.
It’s always seemed better to teach procedures instead.
Procedures simply are the way we do things in our particular classroom or family.

For instance, at school, if you want your paper graded and posted, it goes in the tray by the door, never on my desk.
Everyone understands that if you put it anywhere but the tray it may magically disappear and no amount of "I put it on your desk, Mz Dub! " will get you credit.

At home, if you’re going out on Friday night, tell us where you’ll be, when you expect to be in, and be sure to call if you’ll be late.
Everybody knows, including your friends, that if you're late and don't call you may be embarassed by your father who's come looking for you in the wee hours after the one when you said you'd be home.
That sort of thing.

So we never had curfews for our own kids and the rules in my classroom were generally only two. The rest were procedures.
These were the rules.

Mrs. Wagher's Rules
     1. Do your job.
     2. Let everyone else do theirs.

I never found a classroom situation from pencil sharpening to spit wads that wasn’t covered by these two simple sentences.

However at some schools it was policy to post a detailed list of every single expectation. This included hoops to jump should you need the bathroom. They wanted specifics. Administrators would look for them when coming in to evaluate the teacher.

This was terribly annoying but I came up with a list that was dutifully posted.
Not even one has anything to do with permission to go to the bathroom.
And because these rules were right there in front of me every day I also decided to used them as required lesson plans. Two birds you know.

Anyway the list was based on years of observing my kids and the problems they faced. Many of which, it seemed to me, occurred because nobody was modeling basic fundamentals about how to live a productive life.
Sadly, some of my students lived with the effects of drugs, alcohol, incarceration, and promiscuity in their parents and siblings every day.

We had many an interesting discussion on these topics I can assure you.
Here they are. They're not listed in order of importance.

Mrs. Wagher’s Rules That Lead to a Happy life

1. Treat every person you meet the way you want to be treated.
    This one's been around a while.
    It's in direct opposition to "Get yours first then get out fast," which was the favorite
    philosophy of one of my students.

2. Don’t ever do ANYTHING that might get you sent to jail.
    (And perhaps not even the principal.)
    Don’t Hang Around People Who Do.

3. Get someone wonderful to marry you.
    Treat this person right. Don't cheat. Don't get divorced.
    Hint: Remember that wonderful people usually like to marry someone who's also
    that way. This can mean a lot of work for you.
    Hint Hint: You probably won’t find wonderful hanging out on a bar stool.  

4. Be of service.
    Do this every day.
    Help other people, animals, the earth, whatever.
    Just lend a hand.
    Your own happiness depends on this.

5. Don’t do drugs. Ever.
    Don’t drink alcohol if you're underage.
    Then, as an adult, if you must choose to use alcohol at all
    never drink to excess.
    No matter what your age never drink even a little and then drive.
    Smoking isn’t a good idea either.

6. Remember that whatever else you become matters less than being a good
    spouse and parent.
    Make this a priority. It will be hard, inconvenient, and expensive but still do it.

7. Have fun with your family.
    Have more fun with them more often than with any of the other people you know.
    If you have to sacrifice to pay for the fun, do it.
    Don’t put this off.

8.  Get a piece of paper that says you know how to do something that pays well.
     Try to make this something you like to do.
     This could be a college diploma or a trade license.
     Doctor or plumber, it doesn't matter.
 9.   Learn how to work.
       Show up on time. Show up every time you're supposed to show up.
       Don't goof off. Don't quit until the job's done.
       Then Get Up And Go To Work Every Single Day Even When You Don’t Want To.

 10.   Believe.
         Find the truth. Have faith. Go to church.
         A church that teaches people to love and serve others will lead toward
         (Research backs this one up.)

11.  Learn how to do some useful things.  (Cook, fix a car, build a cabinet, sew, etc.)
       Keep learning more useful things all your life.
       This will be a blessing more often than you can imagine.

12.  Learn how to handle money.
       Don’t go into debt.
       Save even if you don’t make much.
       Give money away regularly.

13. Never forget that casual sex and pornography will not lead to

Of course these rules are not the same ones I could post for a class of students who were all members of the church.

For them I could say that the first rule of happiness would be to pattern their lives on the Savior.
Have faith in Christ, learn of Him, and follow His teachings always.
This leads to joy in this life and for all eternity.

But for those of Father's children of many faiths, or perhaps no faith at all, who came through my door each day, the class list of simple ideas proved to be useful.
Some of my students even found them revolutionary.
And one or two were kind enough to say they made a difference.
I hope they still do.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Are All Men Created Equal?

"All men are created equal," is an idea that changed the world. 
Yet, despite it being such a lofty principle, special ed teachers like me may have a little difficulty with that “created equally” thing.  

It’s because we work with precious kids who might seem to be a little bit “less equal” right from the start. 
You see, some of our students are blind or deaf. 
Some have broken bodies or are unable to think or communicate. 
Some have been abused and have been left to deal with emotional issues. 
Many have been affected by alcohol or drugs even before birth. 
Virtually all of them have difficulty dealing with traditional school. 
So for sure, that “All Men Are Created Equal” thing doesn’t always ring true for us.

I really struggled with this for a long time. 

It tested my faith to be honest.
Because often I just couldn’t figure out what God was thinking. I thought He loved us all the same.
Then one particular day at school I began to consider some possibilities at a time when I needed understanding most.

I was working with a young girl in a wheelchair who had multiple disabilities. 

In addition to not being able to walk, she also couldn’t hear or speak and had limited vision. 
She’d been my student for months now but suddenly one morning my heart began to ache for her. 
She started to drool and as I leaned over to wipe her lovely face my thoughts cried out to Heavenly Father. 

“Why, Father? Why is this precious young girl living her life like this? 
I thought you loved all of your children. Do you love her? She’s perfectly innocent. Why is she like this? I don’t understand you!”

Then, through that angry aching at our Father, from somewhere inside my head, came thoughts or impressions. 

Maybe they were things I’d heard or read, or felt.  I don’t really know. It didn't really matter.
Right at that moment this is what went through my thoughts.

“Some of these are valiant spirits who volunteered to come to earth in this manner so that “Great things may be required at the hands of their fathers.”

“Some came only to get bodies as they are mighty, proven spirits who didn’t require the lessons of this life.”

“Some are mighty warriors being protected from the adversary who knows them but has no power to tempt them as they now are.”

Slowly a calm feeling began to replace that ache in my heart. 

And even though I didn’t know if any of those things were true or even possible, it made no difference.
That wasn't the source of the calm.

Peace came because after those thoughts I was given a great gift of knowledge.
And that knowledge made all the difference. It was true and unshakeable and it's sustained me ever since.
Now I was absolutely, positively, undeniably sure of one thing.

It was simply this.


Yes, there are facts we don’t have. 

But Father has all the facts and he knows everything. 
He’s promised that He is a God of justice and will take care of what we see as injustice from our perspective in this life. 


Father says that he is no “respecter of persons.” He says that all of his children are of equal “value” to him. He says we are all precious and loved by Him.


Then I thought about the scriptures…… Heavenly Father's thoughts.  Isn’t that what they are?
In the Book of Mormon we’re told, “Thou shall not esteem one flesh above another.” 

Now there’s an enlightened and life changing idea for you! 
That one goes light years past “all men are created equal” doesn’t it?

Blind, deaf, broken or whole. Rich, poor, male or female. Powerful or humble. Strong and healthy or weak and frail. Educated or unlearned. Black, white, red or yellow. Perhaps even born and unborn.

All of equal VALUE. 

All esteemed the same by our eternal Heavenly Father and so should be by each of us. 
That’s what it says.

Yes, on that day I began to believe that we’ll see each of God’s children restored, their bodies and minds whole. 

He made that part of the plan. 
I began to believe that great blessings will come to each of my special kids and all will agree that Heavenly Father showed perfect love and perfect justice to every one of them. 
Including my beautiful student in the wheelchair.

Love. Justice. Equality. 

Opportunity for growth. 
Every one of God’s children will have it. 
Everyone loved with perfect love.  We'll all see it clearly one day.

Knowing that helped me. I hope it helps you too.