Gratitude Journal April 2018

5 minute read

Here’s my updated thoughts on a few things that I’m grateful for:

Healthy “Munchies”

(“Munchies” are how Amanda and I refer to our children. I don’t think anyone else uses that word. It originated from how “munchy” they were as babies and has stuck ever since.)
Our 4-year-old and 2-year-old girls are healthy and usually happy. That’s a huge relief. Last night, while they were peacefully sleeping, Amanda and I watched the film Wonder, about a child with a number of health issues, among which was a deformed face which of course caused all the other kids to ostracize him at school etc. And who knows, some day we may have to face issues like that, but for now we’re good, and that’s something for which I’m really grateful. I often realize that this peaceful state could be disrupted at any moment from a thoughtless driver or some rare illness, so I try to remain grateful for what I have. (I suppose the recent talk “One More Day” from the recent LDS General Conference also spoke to this theme.)

I’ve Become a Good Time-Filler for 4 Year Olds

For a couple months now, I’ve been co-teaching sunday school to some of the 4 and 5 year olds at church. I’m the youngest of my siblings and only recently have nieces and nephews, so I’ve historically not been great with kids. But somehow I think I’ve gotten pretty good with teaching them.
Well, let me rephrase that- I think I’ve at least gotten pretty good at filling the time and keeping them somewhat amused. I’m not sure if my teaching is having a significant positive impact on them or anything (and besides, in LDS teachings, it’s the spirit who’s the real teacher).
For example, today the other class teacher was too unwell to teach, and so I was last-minute I was asked to teach (normally I teach every other week). I had skimmed the lesson the day before, so had some material to work with. But mostly I got pretty good at filling the time.
The class is about 50 minutes long, iirc, but here’s a few time-filling activities I’ve learned to use:

  • opening and closing prayer ~5 minutes combined
  • talk with the kids about their week ~7 minutes
  • everyone go get a drink of water from the water foundation ~4 minutes
  • sing a song ~3 minutes
  • colour a piece of paper ~10 minutes
  • “time machine” (where we get under the table, pretend its a time machine, and then “travel” to a situation that they act out or imagine, which situation has something to do with the lesson) ~15 minutes

So, after doing all those time-filling activities, there’s only about 15 minutes of regular “lesson time”, where I’m trying to teach them something or tell them some stories, etc. So, teaching them has become something I don’t fuss about too much anymore.
(Conversely, I do try to remember the one teaching I recall from my old LDS Patriarch, Fraklin Smith which was something along the lines of “When teaching a class or giving a talk, we should realize they’re Sons and Daughters of God, on a temporary time here in life, so we’re under great obligation to not waste their time.”)

No Migrains or Illnesses Myself

Along the same lines, my co-teacher told me the reason he missed class today was because he often gets debilitating migrains. I’m not plagued with anything along those lines. In fact, 5 years ago I even got laser eye surgery to make it so I didn’t need glasses anymore. How pampered is that! Of course I’m sure my health will deteriorate, maybe slowly or quickly, but for now I’m really well-off.

Adult Bouncy Balls

Amanda bought two of these, in addition to the kids ones the girls have. Our living room hasn’t been the same since. This is where you can find the one we bought.

Lack of Crisis of Faith

I have plenty of friends who’ve had crises of faith, which caused them to seriously doubt all the theology they had been taught and grew up with. I think at a few points in my life I’ve had small ones, but nothing like that. I find the older I get, the more the LDS Church makes sense to me (a big part of that was starting to differentiate between “culture” and “doctrine”) and is a source of direction and purpose for my life.
There are lots of reasons for having a crises of faith- I don’t know if I would avoid them had I been in the situations of many of my friends. I also believe my friends of other faiths may also be enjoying a lack of crisis of faith, and that’s also probably also something for them to be grateful for. I’m just saying that “is everything I’ve learned a lie?” isn’t a worry I have, for which I’m grateful.

Non-Toxic WordPress Work Community

I work with WordPress, and for whatever reason it’s the most bizarre, friendly community. I often wonder why, but mostly it is.
I recently started a “WordPress meetup” in my local community, and the attendees have come a wide range of experience, but they’ve mostly been really friendly people (I’m not the only one saying it, group members have commented that to me, and I’ve also seen that published all over from other WordPress community members from elsewhere).
Also for instance, one of our local community members works for a company that is a direct competitor of mine. Although our encounter was pretty brief, he was really friendly too; there was absolutely no one-upmanship or anything.
The community does preach quite a bit the idea “a rising tide lifts all boats“- that is to say, while there may be lots of competition within the WordPress community, overall we’re not fighting over every last client, but instead we try to make the entire community get bigger so that everyone benefits.
My remote co-workers at Event Espresso are also strangely friendly. We’re always updating each other on what’s going on in our lives, who recently had a baby, whose aunt passed away, who going on a trip to the lake, etc. Totally not what I had expected in a tech community (one of my previous bosses specifically cautioned me that tech people are often very grumpy and harsh… I believe that may have been his experience, but not mine right now.)
This was especially highlighted for me when I heard about the toxic, really mean online mattress business. Many companies put out these novel mattresses that you can buy online, that are much cheaper than in-store alternatives and are supposed to be so comfortable etc etc. But the companies selling them are at each other’s throats! They’re always slandering each other, suing anyone who gives them a bad review, and trying to drive their competition into the grave.
Why isn’t the WordPress community more like that? I have no idea. But I’m just grateful it isn’t.

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