Sunday, September 30, 2007

An Accepted Ordinance

As I've said before, I am an unabashed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are a temple-building and temple-going people. Temples are unique and wonderful places not used for general worship services, but are instead used for sacred ordinances, such as marriages that can last for eternity. In a booklet called "The Holy Temple", Boyd K. Packer stated:

"The temple is a great school. It is a house of learning. In the temples the atmosphere is maintained so that it is ideal for instruction on matters that are deeply spiritual."

One of the things that occur in the temple is called the "endowment". It has been said that the endowment ceremony "consist[s] of symbolic acts and covenants designed to prepare participants to officiate in priesthood ordinances, and to give them the knowledge they need to pass by angels guarding the way to heaven."

For me, it is my privilege to be able to serve in the Los Angeles Temple, where I am what is called a "veil worker". Once a month, I make the hour drive to the temple to help facilitate people receiving their own endowment. One of the marvelous blessings of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is that these endowments not only can be received by living people (and all are invited to do so!), but they can also be received by our ancestors who have passed on to the next world. In the holy temples, this is done by living people, who receive the endowment on behalf of those who have already passed on. They act as proxy for those who are dead in much the same way that the Savior Jesus Christ Himself is a proxy for all those who receive a remission of their sins -- as he took upon Himself the sins of the world.

Typically, members of the church research their ancestors then go to the temple to perform sacred ordinances (such as baptism and eternal marriages) on their behalf so as to make it possible for them to receive these things in the afterlife. It is considered one of the most godlike and loving things to be able to provide these saving ordinances to our deceased ancestors.

Serving in the temple is to me, therefore, a most special experience. Sometimes a day of service goes by without any notable event -- just a simple day of service in the temple, helping people do their thing. This last Friday, however, I had an experience that was most profound to me, and I decided to record it here.

In one of the most sacred portions of the endowment ceremony, there is a two-way "conversation" between one who works in the temple and one who is receiving the endowment, either for themselves or for one who is dead. During one of these conversations, as I was speaking with a woman who was receiving the endowment for somebody who had passed on, I felt a tremendous feeling wash over me, a feeling of warmth and a tightness in my chest. I get these feelings when I am particularly moved emotionally.

This intense feeling caught me by surprise, as there was nothing unusual (in the context of where I was at the time) about what was occurring. Nevertheless, as I continued the conversation, I could hear the voice of the woman with whom I was speaking crack. She faltered in her speech, and I could tell that she too was feeling something special. As we concluded the endowment, I had the chance to look this good woman (whom I didn't know) in the eye, and we nodded our understanding to each other about what had just happened.

You see, the temple is the place where the separation between this world and the next is the thinnest. These holy temples are dedicated houses of the Lord, where, should they decide to do so, God the Father and Jesus Christ would walk and talk with those who are on Earth. We also understand that this is the place where the spirits of those who have passed can mingle with the living and confirm their acceptance of the holy ordinances performed on their behalf.

I believe this is what happened. I believe that the woman, who is dead and whose name I don't even know, for whom the woman I faced in the flesh received the endowment, was there at that time, and was telling us that she was grateful. I felt distinctly that feeling of gratitude, as if she had been waiting a very long time, and was finally free of her burden.

What a special moment it was! This experience was a simple yet beautiful confirming one for me, helping me to understand the divine mercy of God, who makes all things possible to His children, even those have passed on. This good woman, dead for over a hundred years, had finally received the knowledge and understanding that she so desperately sought, and it was my privilege to take part in providing that to her.

This Gospel is true. These temples are marvelous places. Our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of His children, as the scripture in Alma 11 says, "... both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous ...", indeed, both the living and the dead. Boyd K. Packer also said:

"It was never intended that knowledge of these temple ceremonies would be limited to a select few who would be obliged to ensure that others never learn of them. It is quite the opposite, in fact. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience...

"The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred."


They are, indeed, and I am grateful for them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Late, Late Night

Here I am, finally finished with work tonight. It's been a nightmare. One of the giant 70-meter dishes that we use to talk to our spacecraft at Mars had a problem last night. Apparently some kind of seal broke and water flowed into one of the bearings, displacing the special oil that protects it. With such a giant antenna, a glitch like that can be extremely costly and slow to repair.

For the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we actually were scheduled to transmit data back to Earth on that antenna every single day for at least the next two weeks. No longer. Today I built one command sequence that would prevent the spacecraft from transmitting data back to Earth during that time period this afternoon (it's pre-programmed). That sequence has already been sent to the spacecraft; and just now, I finished building another sequence that will allow us to transmit data down to some alternative antennas in the next two days.

It took me six hours to build these sequences. I'm pretty fast at my work, and the leader of my team that does this work, so the fact that it took me six hours of intensive labor is an indicator that this was really complex and difficult work. I don't even know if I got it right.

I'm just tired. I think I'll go to bed ... I have to get up in five hours ... and I have to do it again tomorrow ...

The Shows We (Don't) Watch

My wife and I are pretty picky when it comes to watching television. Every year, we feel relieved when the TV season ends so that we can have our evenings fully free. To that end, we also are somewhat leery about the start of each new season. Generally speaking, my wife is content to not commit to any new show that hasn't been "grandfathered" in from the previous season. Therefore, she sometimes gets annoyed with me when I want to "try" new shows to see if it's worth committing to.

Those shows that have been "grandfathered" in include:
-- Lost (January's way too far away ...)
-- Jericho (We're very glad it got renewed, even if it doesn't survive much longer.)
-- Survivor (We're devoted fans, through thick and thin.)
-- Amazing Race (We love this show, but sometimes it rubs us the wrong way.)

Um ... that's about it. Last year we gave up on Smallville as too time-consuming, and we missed all the episodes for The 4400 (which I've downloaded, so we can watch them ... eventually). It is a very rare event for us to give up on a show because we tend to be disturbing devoted to it -- we always want to know what happens next! Because of this, we're often surprisingly pleased when a series runs its course to conclusion.

So this new season I figured we should try a few new shows that looked interesting. We watched the first episode of "Back to You" and were sorely disappointed as it is sex-obsessed; we'll be skipping that one. We also recorded Kid Nation, but didn't watch it as we decided not to commit to a new reality series, even if it does look interesting. There's a few others that might be of interest to us, like Journeyman and The Bionic Woman, but we have decided to steer clear of those, too. If you haven't already noticed, we lean towards science fiction as the main genre of television we watch.

Which brings me to The Big Bang Theory. The very title is a double entendre, as the show is about two uber-nerds (who are roommates) who have a new, attractive female neighbor. While the two guys are regularly talking about the desire to have sex, it's in such an intellectual way that it generally is inoffensive, if you understand it at all. The dialog is quick and witty, something that reminds me of why we enjoyed Frasier so much when that was on (how I miss it!). The circumstances also make me laugh, and it is not inconceivable that had my wife not come along and saved me, my best friend from college and I might have ended up as role-models for the two uber-nerds. As a fairly nerdy guy, I understood all the jokes in the show, and as a somewhat socially awkward guy, I felt empathy for their plight.

In any case, we're not fully committed, yet. The first episode was a hoot that had my wife hiding behind a pillow in embarrassment (despite what it sounds like, it's a good thing), and had me snickering every few seconds. We'll definitely try it again, but we still have to see if it's worth fully committing to.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Oldest Son's 8th Birthday

Today is my oldest son's birthday. He's a mighty eight-year-old now, and, as you may have read in earlier posts, he has both the talent and the attitude to show for it. But today has been a really good day. We got up this morning (I slept in because I didn't have an early meeting to attend) and had breakfast together and then we had him open one present before he went to school. He opened his paternal grandparent's gift, which actually was four gifts -- four books, even! He received a book about baptism (since he'll be baptized in a few weeks), a book of remembrance for his baptism, and two books from the "Liahona Legacies" series. He was in heaven, and he was just getting started.

After school, and after I got home from work, we sat down and opened his other gifts. His maternal grandparents gave him a set of Harry Potter computer game's, which he's playing with right now; my wife gave him Harry Potter #5, which he can't wait to read; his younger brother "gave" him a book on silly jokes, which he thinks are hilarious, but which go over the head of his younger sister. And said sister gave him a book from which a movie they had just seen was based, called "Hoot". All in all, he got a lot of books, and is ecstatic about it!

Me? Well, I realized that he really seems to enjoy Transformers, so my wife went looking for one on amazon.com, and she found an updated version of Jetfire! Now, if you recall the earlier post on this, it would be no surprise that I was ecstatic about the possibility to give my child an updated version of the very Transformer that I loved and adored as a child.

When he opened it, it was obvious that he absolutely loved it, too. This is something special to me, as it was really the first toy that he has ever really got excited about in his whole life. It's crazy, but true. And to have him excited about something that I myself was excited about ... well, that was just extra special. And to top it off, he's been flying it around the house -- keeping his nose out of a book, no less! -- pretending to blow stuff up. It's a proud moment.

And of course, all the kids ate (meaning: inhaled) cake and ice cream tonight and will hopefully sleep pleasantly this evening! It was a good and casual birthday.

P.S. -- Now for all you readers who may be thinking we're horrible parents because we didn't give him very much to actually play with, fear not. He will be having a birthday party on Saturday with about a dozen of his friends, each of whom will no doubt give him toys of which we don't approve.

Crazy Confession

I was watching "High School Musical" with the kids a week or so ago, and in it there's a scene where the various kids confess a secret liking, hobby, or talent to their friends. Their friends, clearly aghast, all join in singing an ode to "keeping the status quo." It's very funny.

So I got to thinking about what would be my secret confession. I spoke with my wife about it, and she immediately nailed the obvious one (to her) when I mentioned it to her (which I won't talk about right now), but I've got another one -- a really weird and wacky one. Okay, here goes:

I can sing Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone", and hit all the notes -- even the absurdly high one -- in falsetto. Yes, that's right, folks -- in falsetto!

It's a special talent I have. I can't deny it. It brings me great pleasure to be driving to work with the music cranked up loud and crooning the song in the privacy of my own car. It's only by the astonishing mercies of chance that a policeman hasn't pulled me over for disturbing the peace or for breaking (shattering!) noise ordinances.

It seems I can only do it in the morning, when my vocal cords are most relaxed, and I have to work into it, but when I get revved up and go for that note ... well, let's just say that it's truly a marvel to behold, even if I do say so myself.

Just don't ask me to do it for karaoke, because I'd probably hurt myself ...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ignoramic

Ignoramic. I have no idea what it means, but my mother-in-law in Utah just used it when talking to my wife on the phone. My wife teased her mother for a minute, then told me to write it down. Can you come up with a good definition for this new word?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Awe Inspiring (To Me)

It occurred to me that all my latest posts have absolutely nothing to do with space, so I figured I'd take a moment to show a few pictures that impress me. The irony isn't lost on me, however, that one of the two pictures you'll see here isn't from space.

I found this first picture on the "Astronomy Picture of the Day" website where I usually go when I want to see something new or interesting. The capture reads:

Volcano Tungurahua erupted spectacularly last year. Pictured above, molten rock so hot it glows visibly pours down the sides of the 5,000-meter high Tungurahua, while a cloud of dark ash is seen being ejected toward the left. Wispy white clouds flow around the lava-lit peak, while a star-lit sky shines in the distance. The above image was captured last year as ash fell around the adventurous photographer. Located in Ecuador, Tungurahua has become active roughly every 90 years since for the last 1,300 years. Volcano Tungurahua has started erupting again this year and continues erupting at a lower level even today.

Simply awesome.

This second picture is from my very own spacecraft that is orbiting Mars right now. The caption for this one reads:

False-color image of gully channels in a crater in the southern highlands of Mars, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The gullies emanating from the rocky cliffs near the crater's rim (upper left) show meandering and braided patterns typical of water-carved channels. North is approximately up and illumination is from the left; scale, 26 centimeters per pixel.

Looking at this image, there seems little doubt that these structures were formed by a flowing fluid of some kind. Pictures like this look so very familiar, as if they were taken from a camera flying over a desert here on Earth. Yet these images are taken from Mars, where the geological and aeolian history is not well-understood.

Here on Earth, the forces that form the land are dominated by the motion of the tectonic plates and by erosion as the result of rainfall. Not so on Mars (at least not anymore), where the primary forces of change seem to be the wind, thermal cycles associated with seasons, and impacts from meteorites. Since this is our understanding, features like this are all the more perplexing (yet pleasing to see if we're ever to send people to Mars).

Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence that Mars was once a much-wetter, much-warmer world where more Earth-like processes could have occurred. And there's still plenty of water there on Mars, it's just locked up in the soil, frozen at the poles.

So how did these channels form? Were they formed suddenly or over the course of millions of years? When? Were they formed by water or by something else? Why do we see these formations scattered across Mars, but not globally, like one would expect? How did the lower gravity on Mars (roughly 1/3 of Earth's) change how these look compared to how we'd see them on Earth?

So many questions.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yet Another Lost Tooth

Tonight my daughter was showing me how she could wiggle her (remaining) top front tooth forward and backward. It was somewhat eerie as she was able to move her tooth so far backwards that I couldn't see it anymore! In any case, after a little coaxing, she moved it around enough that it was very evident it needed to come out tonight. She was bleeding pretty badly, and after some trial and error, I just went for it and pulled it as far forward as I could - very suddenly - and it popped right into my hand.

It hurt her badly, I could tell, as she initially started to squeak and cry, but after she realized the tooth was out, she was too excited to cry and just kept laughing. Looking at her funny smile made her laugh even harder. She now has both of her two front teeth missing (okay, the other adult front tooth is already visible, but still ...), and two more on the bottom that haven't grown in yet.

She's looking quite seasonal, and I'll probably tease her a little about being our little jack-o-lantern. What's even more funny is that she now has a very pronounced lisp. I kept asking her to say "this and that" and she kept saying "thithintha". It was very funny. I'm sure she'll be the talk of her class tomorrow.

So I guess tonight we'll be expecting a visit from the tooth fairy. The last few times, the tooth fairy brought her a "golden" dollar coin, which she absolutely loved. The trouble is, I read somewhere that the tooth fairy was running out of golden dollars, so I'm not really sure what she's going to do for my daughter tonight ...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Conversational Snippets

Yesterday, after I got home from work, I pulled the garbage cans in from the front street and put them on the side of the house. I decided to take a quick walk to the back of the house just to see what condition the back yard was in and found my oldest son's shoes and socks in the middle of the yard. Now I'd like to say that this surprised me, but it didn't because he has a tendency to leave his shoes and socks wherever he happens to be when he takes them off. So, I picked them up and turned around to go back around to the front of the house to go inside. My oldest had apparently heard that I was home (the noise from the garage door opening is the general clue for them) and came out looking for me.

When I saw him, I said, "Take your shoes inside. It's supposed to rain tomorrow."

His reply? Referring to the weathermen, he said, "They don't always get it right, Dad."

"Well, you still shouldn't leave them in the middle of the yard," I explained, "because even if it doesn't rain the sprinklers will go off."

His reply to that? He rolled his eyes at me! Now, at what age does a child learn that kind of behavior? Clearly, it happens before a child turns eight -- but it caught me flat-footed yesterday. The only thing that was lacking in his demeanor was an utterance of, "Whatever!" and his hand held up with his palm facing me in a "stop talking to me" position.

Compare that to my daughter. This morning she got up early and headed to the bathroom. I was just getting ready to leave for work and normally everybody is still asleep when I do. Nevertheless, since she was up, I decided to go tell her goodbye. Here's how the conversation went:

"I'm on my way to work."

"You are?" she asked, incredulously. "It's so early!"

"Yes, it is."

"You must be tired," she said, empathetically.

"Yes, I'm very tired."

"It must be a long way to work!"

"Yes, it is. See you later!"

"Bye, Dad!"

She sure hit on a lot of truths in that brief interchange. It was very early (it always is when I go to work), I was very tired (I still am, and can't ever seem to catch up), and it is a long way to work (it takes me about an hour each way).

They're funny kids.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Plane!

Last Friday I was at soccer practice with my daughter and had my youngest son with me, as well. She practices at her elementary school's field, so I was over by the playground following my son around while she had her practice. We were balancing and walking along the concrete edge to the sandy area where the swings and other play equipment are when he stopped suddenly, looked up, and said, "Plane!"

I looked up, and sure enough, there was an airplane, way up in the sky. It was smaller than my pinky when held out at arm's length. But he saw it, and was very excited by it.

I got to thinking how it was that he managed to see such a little thing that was so far away and so far above his head, when it occurred to me that to his little two-and-a-half year old body, pretty much everything is up.

Then I got to thinking about how little kids have a tendency to notice things that we grown ups are either too busy to look at, too unobservant to notice, or too uncaring to consider. We don't often spend much time just looking around to see the planes soaring through the sky, the ants walking across the sidewalk, or the flowers waving in the breeze. Children seem to have a curiosity and a connection with the world around them, and I think it's a shame that we tend to lose that quality as we age, some far more than others.

Something to consider.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Girl Club

Yesterday I was getting my daughter ready for bed when I asked her how school went. She told me that it went "fine", in the usually uninformative way that all kids normally respond to that question, but then she told me that she had been part of "the girl club" during recess. This got my attention, and I asked her what "the girl club" was.

"It's a bunch of girls," she told me.

"Really? And what do you do as part of this club?" I asked.

"We chase the boys," she replied without missing a beat.

"Oh, really?" I said with a laugh. "And who started this club of yours?"

"I don't know. I just saw a group of girls and I asked if I could play."

"Well, was it fun?" I asked.

"Yes!" she proclaimed.

It doesn't really surprise me that she has joined "the girl club". Last year when she was in kindergarten, they outlawed that kind of behavior because the playground wasn't big enough to accommodate that and the other kids zipping around on tricycles. She always did like playing chase, and it is only natural that she would slip into that.

However, it is a surprising thing in a few different ways. First, it's remarkable that she got off the monkey bars to do anything else. Second, once she was off the monkey bars, it's remarkable that she got out of the sand to do anything else. Third, it was surprising that she actually took our advice and looked around to ask other kids if she could join them in playing what they were playing -- this is something we've been struggling to get her older brother to do, who could accurately be described as a well-read sand hermit.

As a side-note, she was taking a shower last night and had a bunch of sand in her hair. When I asked her why she had sand in her hair, she told me that when she sits under the bridge at the playground at school, sand falls from the grooves in the walkway above her when kids walk across it. I asked her why she sits there then, if she doesn't like sand in her hair. She replied with the fully logical to a near-six-year-old answer of, "Well, there isn't enough room to sit under the slide."

Huh.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Lost Tooth

My daughter lost another tooth last night -- her left lateral incisor. This is the third tooth in as many months, so she's looking something like a jack-o-lantern right now (it's almost seasonally appropriate!).

Anyway, last night she actually took her tooth out all on her own! It was really loose, and my wife had wiggled it quite a bit, but some screaming and crying later (due to the pain), my wife asked if I could come in and take a look at it. My daughter was in a lot of pain with the tooth just hanging there, so I asked if I could take it out. She let me try, but my big fingers just didn't fit in her little mouth well enough to get a good grip on the tooth, so I ended up basically pulling it forward with the tip of my finger until it was pointing forward. I could feel things tearing in there as I did so, and she gasped in pain and immediately started bleeding. At this point, the tooth was just hanging there, and after she swished and spit bloody water a few times, I asked her if she wanted to try. She bravely gave me a look that said, "All right, Dad, I'll trust you!" and immediately reached in and tugged ever so gently. And, what do you know, the tooth came right out!

You should have seen her face! She lit up with excitement and started repeatedly shouting, "My tooth came out!" All the while, I'm trying to hush her a little because her younger brother had just been put down to bed, but it was such an exciting moment for her that I couldn't honestly squash her enthusiasm. I think she enjoyed a variety of things at that moment, including the personal satisfaction of being able to pull it out all by herself.

A few days prior to this, we had read a book together called "Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder" -- part of the Junie B. Jones series. It's about Junie losing her first tooth and her questions surrounding the tooth fairy. Junie was afraid that the tooth fairy was really an evil witch who liked to eat the teeth she collected (kinda gross, I know, but witches do stuff like that, don't they?), but after much deliberation, Junie decided the tooth fairy was really a fairy after all that was just recycling the teeth from older children to babies. She reached this conclusion after her younger brother got his first tooth the same night that she finally let the tooth fairy have the one she'd lost. That's a fairly logical explanation that would make perfect sense to the mind of a child, I thought.

In any case, last night as I was putting my daughter to bed, I was asking her if the tooth fairy is really a witch or not, and she stated unequivocally that the tooth fairy is a fairy. Then she asked me about the tooth fairy, asking, "Dad, does the tooth fairy make sense to you?" I beat around the bush a little -- teasing her, really -- and told her that a lot of things in life don't make any sense to me. She saw right through me and knew I hadn't answered her question. "But Dad! Does she make sense to you?" Hmmm, how to answer that? "Well," I said, "I guess she does sorta make sense." And she sorta doesn't make sense, too, I thought. It was a sufficiently ambiguous answer that appealed to her, and she immediately smiled in satisfaction, rolled over, and cuddled up to go to sleep -- her tooth safely stowed in the envelope beneath her pillow, waiting for the tooth fairy to exchange it for some cold, hard cash.

It was quite the evening. Children are amazing creatures.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

First Soccer Game

Today was my daughter's first real soccer game. It was also my first time refereeing a game after my training class. I'm happy to say that it went very well for both of us. I knew all the right things to do, and was far more authoritative than even the coaches. I really enjoyed being out on the field, encouraging the kids to keep running (on both teams), giving them high-fives, waving them thumbs-ups, and offering congratulatory smiles. It was great.

As for my daughter, she had a wonderful time, too. She scored four goals, two of them were all her, the other two were sort of kicked in by the other team as she was right up next to the goal. It was awesome. She loved being out on the field and playing hard and kicking and pushing and running beside all the other little girls.

I was a little nervous about how it would go. She had watched her older brother play for a few years, and I could tell she really wanted to try it out. However, she also gets tired easily, and during last spring's "season", she took to laying down flat on her back in the middle of the field and panting up at the sun. It was quite dramatic, and funny in it's own way, but it drove me crazy.

But today, I couldn't have been more proud. She got tired, yes, but the peer pressure, I think, drove her on and she just doesn't like to let others get the better of her. So she did everything today I'd hoped she would: she really enjoyed herself, she played every minute she was on the field, and she even scored a few goals. It was a wonderful time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Stinky

Okay, I hate to follow the last post with one like this, but it's a milestone I must record. I'm working from home today, and my youngest son just came in and clearly said "Stinky."

"Are you stinky?"

"Uh huh!" he answered, which is how he answers pretty much any yes/no question. (One I asked him the other day: "Did you just see a purple hippopotamus fly over the house?" ... "Uh huh!" was his reply.). Sure enough, though, a very unpleasant stench followed him into the room.

This is a good milestone, because to-date he's never been particularly concerned about wearing a "stinky" diaper for any appreciable amount of time. Toilet training can't be too far away!

The Good Samaritan

My daughter gave a talk in church last Sunday during "Primary" -- the meeting where all the youth are gathered together. She's not quite six-years-old, and is just learning to read, so even though what follows may seem pretty simple, it is quite an achievement. She stood before roughly 80 people, both kids and adults, and carefully walked her way through the handwritten text in her innocent and sweet little voice. She did marvelously! The pictures you see here were shown during her talk. Here's her talk:

I Show My Faith in Jesus Christ When I Serve Others

Jesus served others his whole life. He did many miracles. He blessed people. He told us of a story about a Samaritan. A man was hurt on the side of the road. Two men saw him and did not stop to help. A third man came by. He was a Samaritan. He stopped to help when others did not.

I am trying to serve. When I was in kindergarten sometimes other kids fell off the tricycles. I would help them up. I felt happy when I helped. I am trying to be like Jesus.



I really enjoyed sitting and watching her speak. I was so very pleased that she was able to work her way through it, reading every word carefully and clearly. Even the other adults in the room seemed impressed, and it was heart-warming hearing her share her thoughts.

When the children have been assigned to talk, my wife has a pretty good strategy for helping them write them. She will sit down with them and ask them questions about the topic, then write down their answers on a piece of paper. She'll then go through and, with their help, organize it into a coherent talk. In this case, my wife sat down with my daughter on Saturday afternoon and just asked her questions, such as:

"Can you tell me the story about the Good Samaritan?"

"How do you help other people?"

"Can you think of an example of when you helped others?"

"How do you feel when you help other people?"

Afterwards, she talks with them a little more about the story, even asking her why it was that two people would pass by without helping. It was a very good experience, and I think she learned a lot. The hard part now, is in helping her apply it. As a young child, mentally she's still pretty self-centered, but I will watch with interest as she learns to think of other people.

References:
-- Scripture: Luke 10:25-37
-- First Image: Artist, Del Parson, © 1992 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA
-- Second Image: Artist, Walter Rane, © 2002 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA

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