Saturday, August 27, 2011

A New Chapter

A new chapter in my life has begun as another has come to a close. I have just finished working at New Haven Residential Treatment Center as the Spanish Teacher. I worked there for two and a half years. Over that time period I have met and worked with many girls who struggle with things like depression, learning disabilities, harmful addictions, and other mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. I worked with girls from Australia, England, Canada, the Bahamas, Panama, New York, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Washington D.C., Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Wyoming, Hawaii, Georgia, Colorado, Utah, and a few other places.

Many of us prejudge kids that are in a treatment center as being the rabble of the earth to avoid, thinking of them like criminals. I admit, I tended to think that way when I was growing up in Hurricane with several girls' homes nearby. I remember that girls from Crosscreek Manor in LaVerkin attended Hurricane High School, and I tended to avoid them as much as I could. I don't think I intentionally tried to judge them as bad, but in the back of my mind I thought of them as that way, even when I was asked to Sadie Hawkins dance by a girl at Crosscreek. Outwardly I tried to be nice, but I think that deep inside I held a personal judgment of them as bad. I realize now, after having worked at a treatment center for two and a half years, that these judgments were flawed. I came to enjoy and appreciate my associations with many girls, admiring the good I saw in them. And, I think that is what they needed from me. That is certainly a more Christlike approach, after all, they too are daughters of our Heavenly Father. Even if they have problems and have made some bad choices in their lives, they too deserve a second chance. They too deserve to be treated as and thought of as a child of God. That is how I now see these girls. While I am happy to move on into the new chapter in my life, I will miss the associations and friendships with, and the opportunity to teach these girls. My heart goes out to those struggling with these things in their lives. I will also miss the wonderful associations I had with co-workers there. There are some FANTASTIC people working at New Haven. I think it is one of the best treatment centers that exists, with its family approach, including the family in the treatment process. Goodbye New Haven!

The new chapter of my life now includes a new job at Utah Valley University as a Web Developer for the Distance Education department. I am blessed to work with some AWESOME individuals there! I don't know why I've been so blessed to have such wonderful work environments, but I have! I thoroughly enjoy this new job. I highly enjoy doing web coding all day! I don't know why I didn't find this out until later in my life. Maybe it's because of the lives Heavenly Father needed me to influence as a teacher. Maybe it was to help me grow as an individual. Maybe it was both. Whatever the reason, at least I am now getting into something I more highly enjoy! Thank you Heavenly Father for this new chapter!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reflections on my

I am extremely grateful today for my family! As I write this, I am holding an adorable little girl of 18 months on my shoulder - she is fast asleep. She fell asleep while I was holding her, as she watched one of her favorite YouTube videos, I Am A Child of God:

How is it possible to have such a perfect little gift, such a perfect little angel of innocence from heaven sent to me? I am such an imperfect person to be the father of such a perfect little spirit, of such a beautiful little angel. It feels so good to feel her snuggled up against her daddy! I relish this moment because I know that it won't be long before this little girl is grown. I cherish the moment while it is now!

I am also grateful for my wonderful wife and eternal companion! Jill continues to serve our family and do so many things for everyone even when she doesn't feel well at all, without complaint. She is an amazing example of selfless service and strength, and that is the very essence of love. She exudes this love and this service daily! How I long to be like her in this way - filled with such compassion and caring. She truly embodies what President Eyring talks about in this YouTube video on families - joy from putting the welfare of others first. Why am I so blessed? I thank Heavenly Father daily that he allowed my closest friend to become my eternal companion. I just pray that I can live worthy to have her in the hereafter.