Friday, April 8, 2011

If you give a man a fish . . .

It's all so exciting I think I'm going to burst!!!!!!!! Do you ever feel like that about life and where you can make it take you? There are so many beliefs out there about life and who is in control of it. Fate. The Gods. God. You. The Government. Other people. Hollywood. I'm sure there are a million beliefs out there about it. I know I'm in charge of my own life. Yeah, God is there, he knows what is going on, and most of the time he just let's us little people figure things out on our own. That's pretty obvious if you watch the news. I'm a firm believer in choice. Free agency. Use it right, and you will be happy. You may not become a millionaire but if you keep choosing from what's available to you and choose right, you can find happiness and make others happy in the process.
Jonathan is in the US right now to present his study at a TESOL conference. I can't remember what the title of his study is, but it sounds something like "teacher modeled language learning", which means he's learned Arabic during our stay here in Doha for the purpose of helping his students understand and stop making common errors in English that stem from being a native Arabic speaker. Also, every assignment that he has assigned the students in English, he has done the same one in Arabic. I think it's a smart study and could be useful for many teachers. But will many teachers go to the effort of learning a particular second language? Obviously it's only for those teachers that teach a class that has one native language in common.
I wish language learning was more of a priority in America. I think it promotes understanding of other cultures. I think the US needs that. You may ask why since the US is very multi-cultural already. If you want to learn about any culture, you could find someone from any country in the world and talk to them about their culture. Let me rephrase, I think the world needs that. Understanding. I have trouble understanding other ladies from my own background, let alone people from another country that speak a different language.
I've been listening to some talks that were given by the leadership in the LDS church and one in particular stood out to me and has been poking at my brain throughout the day. In it, Elder Henry B. Eyring lists some principles on how to help people in need. Here is the first one:

First, all people are happier and feel more self-respect when they can provide for themselves and their family and then reach out to take care of others.

How true! It's always humbling when you know you need to take what someone is offering you or your family will suffer. But you feel grateful, and you say to yourself, when I am financially able, I will find a way to repay this good deed, either to the same person, or to someone else in need.
So, I've always wanted to volunteer to help people. So, I've thought of how I'm going to do this. Yes, I know, I know, I'm raising my own kids and if I raise them right they can contribute good things to this world and help people too. But, I want to help people.

"Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."

Yeah, I can go down to the soup kitchen and ladle out some soup to the homeless people. But, I want to give someone a skill. What do I know how to do? Well, not much when it comes to teachable skills. But I can read. And that is a skill that some people don't have. So, when I move back to Provo/Orem I am going to volunteer with Project Read. It's a big commitment of time for a mother of four, but its a skill I want to share and learn. Really, teaching reading might sound easy but I'm sure it isn't. Getting someone to understand and enjoy written text must be difficult or more people would be doing it.
This desire of mine to teach people to read leads back into my earlier thoughts about the lack of understanding in the world. If people don't know how to read, they are limited on what they can understand about the world. If they are single mothers and don't know how to read, they will most likely raise children who care nothing for reading. If I can help stop this pattern in at least one family or help just one person feel better about themselves and become more marketable it will make me happy. Sounds kind of selfish, but I can get something out of it too, right?
If you could choose how to help people, what would you choose to do?

No comments: