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August, 2014

  1. Outrage!

    August 26, 2014 by Ryan

    Imagine that you are a school lunch cafeteria manager.

    Imagine that it is the first day of a new school year. There is confusion among everyone, as each person – student, staff, and manager – are trying to learn their roles.

    The bell rings, indicating that the last lunch service of the day is nearly over. For students, it means that they have 10 minutes to find their next class. For the lunchroom employees, this means that it is time to start cleaning up.

    Then, you, the lunchroom manager, are called to the serving line. There is a problem to deal with.

    You stop what you are doing and step forward. An eighth-grader with learning disabilities and diabetes, and her assigned aid, are standing in front of you.

    The situation is explained. The young lady was late getting to lunch because she was administering her insulin dose. The girl had reviewed the lunch menu, decided she wanted pizza, and taken the correct amount of insulin to account for the food.

    You look around. The leftover pizza, still in its boxes, have been put in the trash can.

    Lunch service is officially over.

    What would you do?

    “The girl insisted on having pizza,” said the news reporter. You, the lunchroom manager, feel compassion on the girl. It is the first day, and everyone is running around, confused and trying to find their footing in the new school year. You offer her some of the leftovers that had already been thrown away.

    All you need to do is take the top box off of the garbage can, open the box, and reveal the completely untouched pizza inside.

    Yes, you are breaking health regulations. But the young lady “insists” on being served the pizza that she had mentally and physically prepared to eat.

    If she doesn’t eat it, she goes away hungry with too much insulin in her system. If you can find an alternative option that can account for the same insulin dosage, you can offer it – but how long will that take and how effective can you be?

    Top it all off by recalling that she has less-than 10 minutes to get to her next class.

    The lunchroom manger gives her the slice of pizza. It is perfectly suitable-for-human-consumption, except for a technical rule.

    There is no pattern of misbehavior or rule breaking going on in the lunchroom. This is an isolated incident, taken out of compassion for the girl. The young lady, and her assigned aid, have presumably also learned the amount of time to plan for future lunchroom visits.

    Later, the girl off-handedly reports to a school administrator that she was served lunch out of a garbage can. It sounds disgusting and sensational to tell it that way, and so what else is a middle-schooler to do? It gets heads to turn and brings her attention.

    She also tells her mother.

    Her mother is “outraged.”

    The story is now all over the local media. The headline reads, “Parent outraged after diabetic student served pizza from trash.

    = = =

    out·rage ( ˈoutˌrāj )

    1. to arouse an extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation.

    I’ve heard the word “outrage” used in various forms in the news recently. One woman experienced outrage when she learned that photos of herself had been edited and were being printed in publications that she had not agreed to. Some communities felt outrage when police actions left dead people that they believe were innocent. Some nations felt outrage when other nations fired missiles into their cities, hurting innocent women and children.

    In another case, a mother experienced outrage because her daughter asked to be fed pizza for lunch, and her request was granted.

    In some cases, “outrage” may be justified because a person had no control in a situation. In other cases, the word “indignation” would be more appropriate.

    Indignation (ˌindigˈnāSHən/)

    a display of anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment.

    The choice to experience either reaction is made by an individual.

    = = =

    The lunchroom manager and staff receive training, crammed into their schedules before the next day’s food preparation and service can begin, so that they can understand the rules of food handling. Even though there clearly was no misunderstanding of the rules to being with. There was a compassionate “lapse of judgment,” as a district spokesman put it.

    The girl is reassigned a new aid, one that “is medically trained and knows more about appropriate carb counts.” Presumably, this is done so that the girl can continue not learning any lesson about time management and self-accountability. She can carry on, late to lunch again-and-again in the future, this new aid can conjure up what alternate foods can be served to the girl.

    Except that the aid won’t make the food appear. The lunchroom manager will then be privileged to drop what she is doing and bring her entire attention to the girl’s needs, preparing an alternate menu as her carb-counting helper dictates.

    The girl can go and be late to her next class. It will be the lunchroom manager’s fault.

    And the parent can continue to be “outraged” over that too.

    Sounds like a great plan to me!

    = = =

    Now, what I believe should have happened. The lunchroom manager, the parent, and perhaps the principal should have met in person or over a phone call.

    The parent should have thanked the lunchroom manager for serving her child, and promised to work with her daughter to better understand her role and responsibility in being on time, or at least in sending word to the lunchroom, before the bell rings, to save her a slice of pizza.

    The lunchroom manager should have apologized for not following proper protocol and assured her that it is not her regular practice.

    All should have shaken hands and agreed to continue on with life with a cheerful attitude, kindness, and compassion for each other’s difficult roles and responsibilities.

    Having been appropriately worked out, you and I should never have read this story online, nor saw it on the evening television newscast.

    It could have been possible, if the parties chose to do so.

    Compassion motivated one party. Outrage blinded the other.

  2. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil

    August 24, 2014 by Ryan

    Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil…. (Exodus 23:2)

    The temptation to be popular may prioritize public opinion above the word of God. Political campaigns and marketing strategies widely employ public opinion polls to shape their plans. Results of those polls are informative. But they could hardly be used as grounds to justify disobedience to God’s commandments! Even if “everyone is doing it,” wrong is never right. Evil, error, and darkness will never be truth, even if popular. A scriptural warning so declares: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”

    After World War I, a rather risqué song became popular. In promoting immorality, it vowed that 50 million people cannot be wrong. But in fact, 50 million people can be wrong—totally wrong. Immorality is still immorality in the eyes of God, who one day will judge all of our deeds and desires.

    – Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Let Your Faith Show,” April 2014

  3. What Is Behind Curtain Number 1?

    August 2, 2014 by Ryan

    I could be a game-show junkie. Fortunately, I don’t very often take time to watch game shows. I fear though that if I ever receive the “Game Show Network” on my TV, I’d become hooked.

    One recent morning, I had some extra time and so I picked up the remote control and a copy of The Book of Mormon. My goal was to do some reading for about 10 minutes while I waited for “Let’s Make A Deal” to begin. I tuned into my local CBS station and waited with the volume muted, as I read a little from the book.

    I was reading The Book of Ether, Chapter 12, verses 3-4, just about the time that the show began:

    … by faith all things are fulfilled – Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

    On the show, people dress in elaborate costumes, hoping to be noticed and chosen by Wayne Brady, the game show host. If picked, they are generally offered a secret prize – a small box, or an envelope. They can then choose to trade that prize away for something else (a larger box, or “what is behind curtain number 1, 2, or 3”), in the hopes that the next prize is better than the first.

    What a contrast to what I was reading. “Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world.” Not vie for the attention of the host in hopes of being a handful of people noticed and picked to play along. If lucky enough to be chosen, not to then rest on the hope that they won’t get a worthless “Zonk” prize behind the curtain. Certainly not betting on the slim chance that you’ll be the one person in the auditorium able to trade away everything you have been given for a possibility of picking the “big deal of the day” worth even more (or even less, if chance is not in your favor).

    Once you have that belief, faith, and hope that God has provided some better thing for you (see New Testament | Hebrews 11:40), you gain “an anchor to the souls of men” – your own soul. That understanding works within you, and the Spirit of the Lord begins to swell within your breasts (see The Book of Mormon | Alma 32:28). With that anchor mooring your life firmly, you find that your behavior changes. You gain the realization that you don’t need to act out in competition for the attention of the world. Instead, your own inclinations change to be “always abounding in good works” – not of a desire to “level up” to a better prize, but because you feel the love of Jesus Christ and desire to “glorify God” in thanks for the gift of His atonement. You hope to reflect that love to others in your influence and bring them to the same prize.

    The love and blessings of God grow and increase. There is plenty of it to share, and everyone in the auditorium can enjoy it. When that faith and hope is placed correctly, you recognize that you don’t need to attract the attention of the host. Instead, He already sees you, knows you, and hopes that you will choose to come unto Him.

    Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen…

    Because of the faith of men

    He has shown himself unto the world,

    and glorified the name of the Father,

    and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.

    Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.

    The Book of Mormon | Ether 12:6, 8 – 9 (paragraphing and punctuation altered for better emphasis)