Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And It Continues...

moving right along...
15th Principle:
The Highest level of Prosperity Occurs when there is a Free-market Economy and a Minimum of Government Regulations

Boy, tell me about it! Have you tried to make food and sell is at your local farmers market? The wait for approval takes forever, and that's with a supposed 4-5 applicants in front of you.

Apparently our Founding Fathers turned to one Adam Smith of Scotland for his doctrines of free market economics. There was a major area of concern when the federalist and Anti Federalist were having their debates.

Four laws of economic freedom.
1. The freedom to try.
2. The Freedom to buy.
3. the Freedom to sell.
4. The Freedom to fail.

Sadly after WWI the ideas of Socialism and strong centralized government started to influence society. We don't need someone us to take care of us. You are responsible your your family.

There is an interesting talk by Oliver DeMille on the concept of Tribe verses Nation. I have my notes in the Annotations section if your interested.

This is so interesting to read and hear just a small amount of how this should be if following the Constitution was adhered to completely.

Let us not forget that if the Constitution is "outdated" it's because it was created for a moral and virtuous people. It's the people who are out dated.

16th Principle:
The Government Should be Separated into Three Branches- Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

It was Polybius who tried to use the concept of three departments with check and balance responsibilities toward each other. When he died, so did his ideas until 1700's when Montesquieu brought the idea of "mixed government" back. For a time John Adams stood alone on this concept as well.

17th Principle:
A System of Checks and Balances Should be Adopted to Prevent the Abuse of Power.

The failure to use checks and balances properly has allowed the judiciary to create laws, has allowed the presidents to make thousands of new laws, instead of Congress. This lack of checks and balances has allowed the legislature to imposes taxes on us never contemplated by the Founders or the Constitution. Ouch.

18th Principle:
The Unalienable Rights of the People are Most Likely to be Preserved if the Principles of Government are Set Forth in a Written Constitution.

The first written charter in America was the 1620 Mayflower Compact. How interesting that in 1639, Connecticut charter makes no reference to the Crown of England as a source of Ct. authority.

Let Learning In...

Here I am in the kitchen,reviewing my thoughts and planning my learning schedule up to September. This afternoon I will post the remaining 19 points in The 5000 Year Leap. If you find anything I have said interesting or just plain weird, GO GET THE BOOK AND LEARN FOR YOUR SELF.

10th Principle:
The God-given Right to Govern is Vested in the Sovereign Authority of the Whole People.

No king would like to hear this statement! As a matter of fact, King Charles II did not like it at all when Algernon Sidney said that very thing! Algernon was beheaded for insisting that the right to rule is actually in the people and therefore no person can rightfully rule the people without their consent.

If we Americans understood that "rulers are servants of the people and all sovereign authority to appoint or remove a ruler rests with the people." Maybe if we all knew this and felt confident is our power as citizens our local, state, and federal leaders would care more and do more, because we would pull them out of office.

Key point? The Consent Of The People.

11th Principle:
The Majority of the people may Alter or Abolish a Government Which has Become Tyrannical.

Many of the 28 principles have seemed similar to teachings and examples found in the Book of Mormon. We all came to to this land (ancestors) as minorities. Yet majorities grew as people flourished. My question is this. The colonist did not make up the majority of the British kingdom when they decided to separate. I imagine there must have been a majority of Patriots verses Tories in the colonies however. Just a thought.

12th Principle:
The United States of America Shall be a Republic

A democracy requires the full participation of all the people in the decision-making process of government. This doesn't work well because everyone is trying to survive. A republic governs through elected representatives and can be expanded indefinitely.

TODAY me, and every other average American uses or has used and no longer will use, the term "democracy" to describe America's traditional Constitutional republic.

Read this chapter! There is always someone stirring the pot, leading people astray.

13th Principle
A Constitution Should be Structured to Permanently Protect the People from the Human Frailties of their Rulers.

"How can you have an efficient government but still protect the freedom and unalienable rights of the people? This was the fear of our Founders for good reason. They feared the greatest danger arises when a leader is so completely trusted that the people no longer watch him or her and feel no anxiety.

I have been a non questioning person when it comes to this subject. I use to ask questions as to why we were doing a given job when I was in the army. No leader likes to have a little person question them. I think then that leader is hiding something and not really there for the people.

"free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence"

I see my weaknesses too. I wonder if i am strong enough to turn from the temptation associated with political/government leadership. Madison said people have a tendency towards ego-mania and self-aggrandizement.

Key; human nature.

14th Principle:
Life and Liberty are Secure Only so Long as the Right to Property is Secure.

I have never read John Locke so I have enjoyed the quotes attributed to him throughout this work of art.
Here's an interesting idea. If property rights did not exist, four things would occur to frustrate the Creators command to multiply and replenish the earth.

1. Incentive would be destroyed.
2.Why try if you can't claim it as property. Deprived of the fruits of your labor.
3. Gangs
4.Man would live at a level of hand to mouth survival as any accumulation would invite attack.

I don't know how much right I have to my property these days. But I'm glad not to experience the upon 4 points. Wait a minute, what about all the money we pay in taxes? Is not that taking of our property without consent? Boy I just don't know yet. So much to learn.

Response To Comment On July 24th...

I and Gove talked about how to respond to a comment made by a friend. I would have responded with too much emotion. Gove helped me to be more logical, and I might add friendlier in my explanations. Here it is:

Mac, Thanks for posting your comments, Gove and I have had the opportunity to talk about your points. We both feel that we have been edified by talking through these issues. Here are my responses to your main points.

(Mac) while both children might read at the same level by age 13, how much has the other one learned from reading in the five year head-start

Does the child who desires to learn to read at five (and does so) have avenues for learning open to her that are not available to the child who does not gain a desire to read until age nine? Yes, without question, the younger child has a few years reading that the other does not have, a few years that might be filled with reading that is of interest to a child ages five to nine. Does this translate into a life-long advantage? For us, the answer to this question is unknown, although it seems clear that Gatto would argue that the four-year jump-start does not lead to a long term advantage. However, this is not the right comparison. The right comparison is between the child who is forced to learn to read at age five or six (who is not developmentally ready to learn that skill) and either of the other children who learned to read when they wanted to, and were ready to. For the child who was forced, he or she may develop a life-long aversion to reading, never reading for pleasure. For this individual, the greatest avenue to self-directed learning may remain ever closed.

(Mac) I would want to see objective research on before I accepted even the notion that not learning to read as soon as possible benefits the child.

When one asks for objective research to consider an alternative method, why is it only the alternative that must be supported by objective research? Presumably, those who accept well-conducted, objective research as valid evidence (among whom we count ourselves), would want such evidence to support the the norm as well as the alternative. Such a one should also ask, "where is the objective research that says that learning to read early is good for the development of the child?" In searching for that research, be sure to consider the relationship between the funding source and the researcher.

We agree that the education of the child during the early years is extremely important, but we do not agree that self-directed reading is critical during this time. We believe that what children learn during these early years will form the scaffolding upon which all future knowledge will rest. For us,the most important development at this time is moral development. Children must learn to discern the difference between truth and error, right and wrong, being lead by Christ or being deceived by the adversary. This is fundamental for preparation to make the covenants of baptism. We want our children's foundation for all learning to be one of trusting in the living god. It is not that we feel that children should not learn to read before age nine, rather that early reading is not critical to developing a life-long education.

Somehow when Gove learned to read, he learned in such a way that led him to dislike reading. The result is that he did not engage in any reading that was not required by school until age 12. From age 12 until after he completed his PhD, he estimates that the number of books (small or large) that he read outside of required reading to be around 10. Why did Gove learn to hate reading (the use of the verb "to hate" is not overly strong)? We are not entirely sure; however, we are sure that being compelled to learn to read before he had an interest was not helpful.

What is the difference between teaching a student who wants (or even yearns) to learn a particular subject and teaching one who does not want to learn it? The difference is night and day. Rather than deciding what academic content our children should learn and then making them learn it with or without their cooperation, we see our responsibility as helping to inspire them to desire that learning and guiding them as they seek to master that content themselves.

(Mac) I believe that the majority of your education should come from your family, that school should be an augmentation of the processes of learning, support, and training that you receive at home.

I'm a bit confused by the meaning of this point. If one believes that most of a child's education should come from the home, but sends that child to modern communal schools (either public or private) for 6 hours a day (requiring perhaps an hour or two of daily homework), does this mean that the family would provide seven to eight hours of instruction after school? There's simply not enough hours in a day, assuming a priory to ensure that the child gets the sleep that growing bodies need.

To us,the most important question is, "what is being taught at school?" And we do not limit that question to official curricula. What is learned on the playground? What is learned between classes? Gove and I both learned about sex at school. Gove learned on the second grade playground, I learned in the sixth-grade classroom. What is the right age to learn about sex? What is the right age to learn about illegal drug use? What is the right age to learn what it is like to be bullied? Certainly, there is no age that is universally the right answer. It must at least be determined by individual development, spiritual, moral, academic, and social. For these, age might be used as a surrogate, but it is clearly a poor one. For us, the time that our children should learn these lessons is an individual matter. But in no case do we feel that our children should learn these lessons until they have received the gift of the Holy Ghost and have begun to learn to rely on his guidance.

(Mac) I do believe that schooling serves a valuable purpose: diversity of ideas, socializing, healthy competition, consensus building, and learning to function outside the home.

We also agree that school can serve to teach these lessons. But for us, there are two important question that must also be asked about these lessons as taught in communal school. When is the right time to learn them? What else is learned as these lessons are taught? John Taylor Gatto speaks directly to this point in the prologue to his “The Underground History of American Schooling.” in a section titled “Bianca, you animal, shut up!” The text can be found at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/prologue.htm It's worth a few minutes to read.

(Mac) Why will homeschoolers insist on the flaws in schooling but then send their children off to college?

First, we should be clear that not all homeshooled kids attend college. We will be pleased if our children choose to attend college, but it is more important to us that they seek their lives' missions and actively work to attain the education needed to fulfill those missions. If this involves a collegiate education, then we will welcome their attendance at a college or university. If that mission requires an apprenticeship, we will welcome that as well. Consider the life of Johann Strauss II and Johann Strauss I (known as the father of the waltz). The father, who had struggled in life as a composer and musician was determined that his son would not suffer the life of a musician, choosing for him a career of a banker. However, Johann II secretly pursued his musical education—music was his calling. Johann the first fought actively to prevent his son's music career, but Johann the second persevered eventually eclipsing his father's fame. See the full story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Strauss_II.

A life's mission is an individual thing. Communal schooling cannot hope to prepare individuals for their missions. The communal system simply cannot work with that level of individualism.

For us, the problems with modern communal schooling center largely around how such schooling affects the developing child, this is the reason that collegiate education is not a concern for us. Whether this reasoning holds for other's who choose to educate their young children outside of the communal system can only be a matter of speculation. In fact, this summer, we allowed our two oldest children to attend a college class and they plan to attend another this fall. How could this possibly be acceptable to us? Isn't it a communal education setting? Yes it is, but in their attendance, they are not subject to the influence of their peer group. At ages 9 and 11, they are substantially younger than their classmates. They attend that single class and do not interact with their fellow students outside of class. Most importantly, the subject matter is of their choosing. They asked for permission to attend this class. It is subject matter that they have intrinsic motivation to learn. As such, we are confident that such classroom time will not be wasted.

Simply put, collegiate education is adult education, not childhood education.

Mac, I'm glad you asked these questions as it has given me and Gove a chance to discuss why we feel strongly about the educational choices we have made for our family. While we have no question that homeschooling is the right choice for our family, we know that it is not for everyone. We believe that there are many who send their children to communal schools only because they have never actively considered any alternative; some do not even know that any alternative exists. It is our hope that all parents will take seriously the educations of their children and seek out the methods that are best for their individual circumstances as they discharge their God-given responsibility to educate their children.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Fish Story...from Eli

Once upon a time...Three kids went fishing with their home teacher. They went to Utah Lake. One of the girls (older) caught a white bass. The second girl (younger) caught a yellow perch. The boy got a white bass too. Then a yellow perch was caught. But this really is not the whole story.

Up on shore, sister number one saw brother's fishing pole bend. Brother realized there was something very strong on the end of the line. It took me 30 minutes to reel it in, said brother.

30 minutes later a blue catfish (channel cat) was pulled up on land.

Here it is...

July 24th...

In Utah, the 24th of July is a state holiday. We celebrate the arrive of the Mormon Pioneers into the great Salt Lake Valley, lead by the prophet of God, Brigham Young.

I took the kids to a park for a taste of the past. We all used a feather pen. It really works!

Days are hot now. We went home for rest and comfort.

Even the oxen were shod. Can you see the shoes on the post? A special device was made to hold the oxen as this beast of burden can not balance on three legs like a horse can.

All Nature Denotes There Is A God...

Saturday morning, while pulling Crooked Neck Squash for the Farmers Market, I found this Quail next. There were 7 eggs. This morning I see 10 little brown speckled eggs. We love to see the quail chicks run through our yard. I hope nature will bring each to life.

Here is a pictorial update of our garden. Between eggs, basil, beets and or squash, we earn about $20 each Saturday at the market.

The money is intended for next May when we will return to Virginia, a conference for Gove. The kids long to return to Williamsburg. With the increase cost of travel, we are not going to France this winter. The kids are more interested in America. Good for them. These little patriotic citizens!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seeds, Saplings, and Trees...

I refer to Alma chapter 32, verses 28-43 in my attempt to explain the exciting feelings I have been having while reading the 5000 Year Leap.

This is incredible! I encourage everyone (that's you) to read this book. Somewhere, after the 20th principle, I started to catch the excitement for these teachings. I was enjoying what I was learning up until then, but something happened to me. I feel/believe that I can do something to change the 17th Amendment. Isn't that crazy! Yet I feel I have a part to play in my nations history. The nation may never hear of me, but so what. If these feelings for gaining understanding of our Constitution and laws governing man is where I need to go because I feel prompted by God then so be it.

It's euphoric and hopeful that positive changes, and a return to social manners, virtues, and morals can regain the upper hand in America. Well, I can be optimistic right now any how.
I have a flutter in my chest just thinking about this. I am sorry to be so inadequate with our English language. It is my hope to improve over time.

Back to the point. This morning I awoke at 5am and felt I should read in preparation for Sunday School. I started with Alma 32 and found the neatest experience. I realized that the reading I am doing in order to be ready for this Fall's government class, is the planting of a seed. This seed has started to swell in my breast and represents to me a sign of truth from God. As I read on, I came to see that my mind, (the earth so to speak) is malnourished. I will improve the growth of this seed into a sapling and then a tree as I seek understanding and eventually wisdom.

John Adams calls politics a "divine science" not to be taken lightly but with years of study of the teachings of such people as Blackstone, Locke, Hume, Cicero, and many more I don't even know the names of.

I have been given words of truth, or that are true for me. I'm sure they would be true for you if you sought to know. If I will nourish these thoughts with study, group discussions, writing, and even by faith, diligence, patience, and prayer. I know the time will come when I might bless others with courage to stand up for founding truths that allowed America to be created under the hand of God.

These thoughts bring tears to my eyes. I now feel that one person such as myself, can make a difference. And with the same breath, I hear in my mind, "but can you Nickie?" I hope I can.

My first step is education. The Founding Father's wanted a general basic education offered to all Americans so that each citizen in turn could go forth with self-education. In 1831 when Alexis de Tocqueville came to America, he was surprised that everyone with or without a Harvard degree could discuss government, the Constitution and many subjects at equal levels. I hope I can make it to such a level before I die.

I am further making this effort so that I can teach my children that which they will never learn in the "public school" system. They may get an overview of the Founding and the Constitution but I don't believe they will get and in-depth view with the hand of God involved and the belief of " Manifest Destiny".

Ezra Taft Benson said in his writings that some people think they don't need to do anything to defend the Constitution until someone calls them to do so. President Benson said that's the wrong attitude to have. He said there may not be any grand call to arms because it will divide the people.

If I don't study and gain the learning, who will? We can't leave learning for someone else to do.
I don't know how much has been taken from us the people, and given to the federal government against the articles of the Constitution.

But not forever...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I have a neighbor, (bless her heart), who is concerned that my 7 year old child is not reading at the standard set for children her age in the public school system. It was she who asked me to read the Mem Fox book that I've mentioned in an earlier post.
She would like to tutor my girls.

How do I help someone appreciate the faith I have in letting our children read when they feel motivated to do so? Why must someone tell me when my children need to accomplish a given skill?

Thank goodness for John Taylor Gatto's insight after 30 years in the public school system. Here is his letter to the Wall Street Journal...

I Quit, I Think

In the first year of the last decade of the twentieth century during my thirtieth year as a school teacher in Community School District 3, Manhattan, after teaching in all five secondary schools in the district, crossing swords with one professional administration after another as they strove to rid themselves of me, after having my license suspended twice for insubordination and terminated covertly once while I was on medical leave of absence, after the City University of New York borrowed me for a five-year stint as a lecturer in the Education Department (and the faculty rating handbook published by the Student Council gave me the highest ratings in the department my last three years), after planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fund-raiser in New York City history, after placing a single eighth-grade class into 30,000 hours of volunteer community service, after organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative, after securing over a thousand apprenticeships, directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries, after producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind, writing two original student musicals, and launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students within a larger human reality, I quit.

I was New York State Teacher of the Year when it happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally did me in. To test my resolve I sent a short essay to The Wall Street Journal titled "I Quit, I Think." In it I explained my reasons for deciding to wrap it up, even though I had no savings and not the slightest idea what else I might do in my mid-fifties to pay the rent. In its entirety it read like this:

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its "scientific" presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion, School is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood. School is too vital a jobs-project, contract giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be "re-formed." It has political allies to guard its marches, that’s why reforms come and go without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel "learning disabled" and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, "special education" fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.

In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

5th-9th Principles of Liberty...Oh, Just Read It and Get It Over With...

You might be wondering where in the world did Cleon Skousen come up with these ideas. Simple really, he used over 150 volumes of the Founding Fathers original writings, minutes, letters, biographies and the like. And that's how The 5000 Year Leap was written.

Now we know the rest of the story...yea right, in my dreams maybe.

In the fourth principle, I learned that the Founders believed that all religions could relate to 5 basic truths, and that these truths are part of natural law. Today I read the 5th-9th ideas of liberty. I will cover each principle.

5th Principle
"All Things Were Created by God, Therefore upon Him All Mankind are Equally Dependent, and to Him They are Equally Responsible."

John Locke, was one of the philosophers which inspired our Founding Fathers. He said that if a person calls himself an 'atheist" then that person is merely confessing that he has never dealt with the issue of the Creator's existence.

All things point to the fact that there is a God. Besides, "nothing can't make something". George Washington, on 67 separate occasions acknowledged the hand of God during the Revolutionary War.

6th Principle
"All Men are Created Equal"

Obviously we are not all equal as to how we look, the things we have, our likes and dislikes. However there are ways in which all mankind is equal.

1. We are all treated as equals in the sight of God.
2. We are equal in the sight of the law.
3. We are equal in the protection of our rights.

I read something funny under the heading for "What It Means to Have Equal "Rights". There is a list and then it comes to, "At the pulpit, to enjoy freedom of religion." and then "At the podium, to enjoy freedom of speech." So it's the pulpit at church and the podium for everything else.

It's hard to read that all men are created equal, yet slavery was ongoing at that time. If we are created equal, then we should be given equal opportunities for growth, but not expect equal results. We should have equal freedom, but not expect equal capacity. We are provided with equal rights but not with equal possessions. We should be provided equal protection but not equal status. We ought to have equal educational opportunities but not expect the same grades.

7th Principle
"The Proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not provide Equal Things."

These wonderful people (everyone has hangup's) who helped create our nation recognized that the people cannot delegate to their government the power to do anything except that which they have the lawful right to do themselves.

How many times has this been violated? Take from the haves and give to the have nots. It's wrong. I see this now. Liberty does come with inequality, otherwise there is no liberty. The founders wanted to guarantee the equal protection of all the people's rights and thus insure that all would have the freedom to proser. Which means there will be rich and poor.

Sadly I think the government has hindered people with the welfare system. I really felt that the wlefare system that we saw so over used in New Orleans was just another form of slavery. Why live a moral and virtuous life when your city officals aren't. See principle 3.

Here's a few words little used in the American ethic today: hard work, frugality, thrift, and compassion. Franklin said in a letter to someone in England that the provisions for the poor were encouraging idleness.

There's "calculated" compassion, and there's "counter-productive" compassion. The later breeds debilitating dependency and weakness. I wonder if this is the plan.

"By excluding the national government from intervening in the local affairs of the people, the Founders felt they were protecting the unalienable rights of the people from abuse by an over-aggresive government."

8th Principle
"Men are Endowed by Their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights."

Our Founder's did not believe that kings, emperors, or governments bestowed the basic rights of mankind. They knew these rights to be gifts endowed by the Creator. Exclusively from God.

These unalienable rights are also called natural rights. No one can take these rights from us without being subject to God's justice. Oh, I just wonder how many times I step on the unalienable rights of our children when I'm acting as dictator.

Vested rights are created by government for our protection or well-being. So long as these are rights that we can give away. And provided we aren't having our properties taken to give to others with less.

Our three most know unalienable rights are;
1. life
2. liberty
3. pursuit of happiness

There are many others not listed in the Declaration of Independence. However, there is one called, The right of self-government. I am starting to listen to Nicholeen Peek's tape on this subject of self-government within the raising of a family. It's not just the kids who need learning and shaping. We the parents stand in just as much need for self-government.

9th Principle
"To Protect Man's Rights, God has Revealed Certain Principles of Divine Law."

Well, I can think of 10 right off the bat. You know, the 10 Commandments. Not only do we have unalienable rights, we also have unalienable duties. There is public duty and private duty.

Public duties are part of the public morality codes, and usually sypported by local and state ordinences.

Private duties are those which exist betrween you and your Creator. I like this name,'principles of private morality'. The only enforcement agency is yourself. Blackstone said, provided you keep your wickedness to yourself then you are out of reach of human laws. (But not God's laws mind you.)

Apparently Utah has a law that requires offenders to indemnify their victims. That seems like a logicall way to handel a crime. Did the Hebrews and Anglo-Saxons do the same. Yet there are states which actually encourage crime by not making the offenered responsible for damages.

Does the majority of American citizens deny that God's law is the supreme, divine law of the land?


I am behind on my reading for 5,000 Year Leap. But hopefully I can catch up today with writing some thoughts that are probably small in your eyes but big steps for me in thinking and understanding. Or I hope so anyway.

It's funny that I'm seeing how ignorant I am as I'm reading more. For instance, I was reading the June Imprimis from Hillsdale College. It's an address by John O'Sullivan, executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He is at Hillsdale talking about the lecacy of freedom via the work of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I have heard of Reagonism, I had no idea that there was Thatcherism. And frankly I don't know what they mean. I'll go to Wikipedia for an outline idea.

It's an interesting article. This statement, "All these changes were a revival of what Shirley Robin Letwin, the distinguished Anglo-American political theorist, called the “vigorous virtues” in her important study of Thatcherism. These are such qualities as self-reliance, diligence, thrift, trustworthiness, and initiative that enable someone who exhibits them to live and work independently in society. Though they are not the only virtues—compassion might be called one of the “softer virtues”—they are essential to the success of a free economy and a civil society, both of which rely on dispersed initiative and self-reliant citizens." brought to my mind the work of Wm. Wilberforce and his friends with regards to Civil Society. It might not have any relation but it did in my mind.

I also thought the following quotes interesting and related them a little to the issue with the Articles of Confederation and the want of an United States instead of the sovern states during the period when the Constitution was being argued for and against...
"She believes in international cooperation between sovereign nation-states rather than global governance by transnational institutions." and
"Ironically, however, these virtues are threatened in Britain by growing statist regulation under New Labour; by the nation’s absorption into a European political structure built upon a very different tradition of constructivist rationalism; and by the failure of many conservatives to see the dangers in a European and global governance that lacks democratic accountability and threatens liberal freedoms".

I'll have to look up the meaning for constructivist rationalism. Thank goodness for WikiPedia.

If you can answer any of this for me, please do help expand my learning.

It's Hot...I'm Tired...But Hey...It's A Dry Heat...Yea Right...

Well, I guess it's now too hot to really cool things down in the home with the swamp cooler. It is working, yet the air is seeming humid indoors. Does this mean more windows need to be open? I decided to use the air conditioning on the main floor this afternoon.
I do try to remind myself that it's not New Orleans. Yet I'm tired and drained.

Boy, you should see our squash! I do believe I have cross pollination going on with the zucchini and summer squash. There is a huge zucchini looking yellow squash out there in the garden. I'm letting it grow to see how large it gets. It might just be the mother load. maybe we'll get the grand prize at the State Fair.

Our kids are participating in a theatrical kids camp this week. It's 3 hours each morning, and they are tuckered out when I pick them up. Fortunately, it's a fun and exciting tired.
Today they tell me and showed me how to slap, pull hair, and sword fight without hurting each other. Pretty neat.
On Saturday evening the kids are participating in a 30 minute musical selection from the play Seussical.

I did say they are tired when they come home. I've noticed an increase in the grouchies. At this very moment, each one is taking a 1.5 hour quiet time. I have not had then take quite time in two years. How nice.

The other nice encounter for me is being able to read for 3 hours each morning this week. Well, I went clothes shopping for the girls Monday morning. Yesterday I was able to read Mem Fox's book called Reading Magic. She encourages reading to the children with a great deal of emotion. Which I do but it's good to be reminded. I did not care for her idea that children can receive education only at school and not from parents. The idea that education has to occur away from the home and parents is just crazy to me.

We just finished Great Expectations. I and Gove are now taking a serious turn with John Taylor Gatto's, The Underground History of American Education.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Elusive Belted Kingfisher...

This morning I took two families out to Spanish Fork Canyon. We were on a mission to discover the Belted Kingfisher.

Prior to our search, we found the Red Ledges. An area of red cliffs. To think we have our own little arches here in Utah county.

We walked along the creek for one and a half hours in hopes of seeing the neo-tropical Kingfisher, who usually resides in branches along, or over hanging the creek.

We did see a lot of birds. Such as swallowtails, gold finches, yellow warblers, and the ever present robin.

But at last, no belted kingfisher. To bad, so sad.

Well, it really was not that sad. We all played in the creek for a time and then picniced.

Family Fun...

Our cousins returned home this past Monday. I found myself tired most days. And was quite thankful to Aunt Holly for caring for the majority of the meals.

I took the kids up to South Fork.
Mattia and Brynne are bubble girls.
We all went to the Days of 47; Family Fun Day at This Is The Place Monument.

Here are some pictures to sum up the days past.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alexis de Tocqueville was a French judge who came to America in 1831. He came to learn more about the judicial system. However, he quickly learned that the American government was doing great and prison numbers low (compared to France) because of RELIGION.

Fourth Principle
Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

In 1787 the North West Ordinance was passed. Would you believe that our nation at one time said that schools needed to teach 1. Religion, 2. Morality, and 3. Knowledge. How we have fallen from that path now.

President George Washington cautioned America to not suppose that morality can be maintained without religion, at his farewell address.

If you say you are moral but don't believe in religion, then I ask who's standard of morality do you follow.

The Founder's established 5 fundamental points of all religions that could be taught in schools.
1. There is a Creator.
2. The Creator revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living.
3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for how we treat each other.
4. There is life beyond this life.
5. In the next life mankind will be judged for their conduct in this life.

I like these 5 points. I tried to wonder what all faiths could have in common. These 5 points feel correct to me.

So here was America, trying to teach moral values, religious values, private and public virtue in order to keep our nation free. de Tocqueville said it was popular in Europe to teach that religion and liberty were enimies of each other.

Did you know there were 7 states that had offical religions established for their state? It's true. Our Founder's did not want offical religion like in Europe. There needed to be equality for all religions.

I don't understand this quite yet, but Jefferson coined the phrase "a wall between church and state". It was ok for him as state govenor to pass an ordinance for a day of fasting and prayer. But as President of the United States and because of the 1st Admentment which seperated federal government from church he could not be involved with the passing of such a law now.

This is all new thinking for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who Will I Vote For...

Wow, It would appear that Benjamin Franklin was rightly concerned when he warned that "high salaries for government offices are the best way to attract scoundrels and drive from the halls of public office those who possess true merit and virtue."

I believe Franklin felt so strong about this subject of payment in public office after the years he spent in Europe where offices are bought or given for a favored person, or even sought after because of the prestige and wealth involved.

He also said that there is a natural inclination in mankind towards kingly government! Ouch. I don't think I feel this way. I hope I never do. This reminds me of the king-men in the Book of Alma 51st chapter, of the Book of Mormon. It is unvirtuous people who seek to have someone rule over them physically as well as spiritually. Essentially, Satan can rule you spiritually and a monarch can rule you physically. Thus you then ignore natural law and God's law and end up unhappy.

This reminds me of the lesson I read this morning in preparation for Relief Society. It's chapter 13 of the Joseph Smith manual. Basically, it said it doesn't matter what nation you live in or government you must abide by. You will be a happier person when you obey the commandments of God. Yet, obeying the commandments is more then just believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

Man is that he might have joy. I'm sensing my joy is related to my understanding of natural law, all laws of God, and following through with obedience to those laws.

Today I learned about the virtue of moral leaders within our society.

Principle Three:
The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders.

If I were ever to participate in an office within our local government, I would do good to remember these words spoken by Samuel Adams. He said that public officials should NOT be chosen if they are lacking in experience, training, proven virtue, and demonstrated wisdom.

How do you get experience and training? I have not thought before that I need to do my own leg work when I am preparing to vote. Frankly I have not voted since the last national election. I am not going to set aside my responsibility to vote locally any longer. I've decided I want my grandchildren voting and so I must show my children the importance of the procedure. Plus I have personal responsibility to participate. What do I do when I don't find either candidate worthy? Do I choose one of the lessor evils?

Jefferson said there was a "natural aristocracy". Jefferson felt it should be the goal of the whole nation to use education to stimulate and encourage citizens who exhibit s special talent for public service. The other aristocracy, he said, was founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents.

The following quote has been my way of thinking up until recent weeks. "The natural tendency of nearly all people is to encourage others to run for office, but not get involved themselves."

Well, I have miles to travel and years to make-up. I'm going to try. Little by little, I can learn more about my government and I can begin to participate at a lower level; maybe the library.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Second Principle:
"A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong."

The first time I heard the words, PUBLIC VIRTUE, I was attending my first Face to Face with Greatness seminar in California. It was February of 2006.My husband was asking for us to return to New Orleans since the power was finally restored to the home. I held off returning just so I could attend this seminar.

Public Virtue is the force that changes society. If it wasn't for public virtue, I imagine our Founding Father's would have lost the Revolutionary War.

In the Britannica Online enyclopedia there is the following quote by Montesquieu.

"...a necessary condition for the existence of a republican government, whether democratic or aristocratic, is that the people in whom supreme power is lodged possess the quality of “public virtue,” meaning that they are motivated by a desire to achieve the public good...."

I believe public virtue is the willingness to give up all my possessions and even my life for a greater cause which will affect my community and my nation. This reminds me of the covenants I have made as a disciple of Jesus.

Robert Morris understood this virtue as did many of the founding generation. Today we don't even hear the words. Yet, Morris was probably one of the wealthiest men in America at the time. It was because of his voluntary giving of all he had and all that he borrowed to George Washington that the battle of Trenton was won. People would not loan to the Continental Congress but they would loan to Robert Morris. After the war he and his family were destitute. He spent time in debtors prison because of his understanding of the power of public virtue.

Where is my public virtue?

Am I only 20 percent willing or 100 percent willing to give for my country? Freedom is not free; someone has to sacrifice. Every generation has a challenge to face. What is our challenge? And who will be taught the keys of freedom in order to lead and influence effectively and righteously? How about morally?

I'm going to sacrifice my free time. Time that I might watch a movie and just do nothing, so that I can learn, teach myself, and be ready to help, to lead, or mentor someone else who will have to fight for freedom, liberty, and God's law.

Benjamin Franklin said: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

Public Virtue...did you get your cups worth today?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Self Guided Learning...

I'm reading The Five Thousand Year Leap in preparation for an up coming class. Cleon Skousen has outlined 28 Principles of Liberty using over 150 volumes of the Founding Fathers.
As I learn about a principle I will share it here.

First Principle
The Only Reliable Basis for Sound Government and Just Human Relations in Natural Law.

The founding fathers turned to Marcus Tullius Cicero for his wisdom regarding true law, natural law, or god's law. Cicero said that "true law is right reason in agreement with nature;...it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions..."

Perfect reason is God's law. When perfectly understood it is called "wisdom". When wisdon is applied by government in regulating human relations it is called "justice".

Oh all the animals created by God, only man shares with Him the ability for reason and thought.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be"
by Thomas Jefferson

( The above painting is from the 1400's. It depicts the young Cicero in personal studies)

Pictures Are Worth Seeing...

Just recently, my old friend Margaret found me again!
We lost contact somewhere between Minnesota and New Orleans.
Then something amazing happened about 2 years ago.
Margaret was looking through the Church News and saw a picture of LDS church members 8ish months after Hurricane Katrina.
Surprise, surprise, there was Nickie and her family!
She tried to locate us but failed.
Recently, a friend from when we were nannies in Scarsdale, New York, inquired about me. Margaret was determined to find out our whereabouts since that picture told her I was alive somewhere in the world.
Thanks to the internet and BYU, Margaret has found me.
How great to hear from my friend of many years ago. Margaret is now a mother of two young children and happily married. It was a pleasure to listen to her talk of her family and love for her spouse.
Two old friends are brought together and all because of a picture.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why I'm Seeking Leadership Education...


My purpose in attending George Wythe College is quite simple; my children aren't getting any younger.

I have been feeling the need for spiritual and personal character improvement over the past four years. My path of improvement has been slow, scattered with potholes at times, yet I have trusted in God. He has been my support and guide.

Just last year, I felt I should attend the newly revamped seminar in the Face to Face series. I prepared for this event by reading Les Miserables. The largest novel I've yet read. I was so excited to participate. I left with two vital ideas to implement.

First, was the Family Executive Council, Weekly Interviews, and Six Month Inventory/No's. Each of these concepts have helped to redirect our family goals, educational desires, and strengthened our parent/child relationships.

Secondly, I and my husband realized that we need to participate in leadership development for our selves and within our community of Provo. The opportunity quickly came. We started a weekly colloquium series. Our group is called the Provo Area Leadership Mentoring Society, established October 2007.

During these ensuing months, I've often looked at my children, questioning the examples I'm leaving them. Before I know it, they will be transitioning to scholars. I don't want to be left behind.

I attended a Statesman Retreat during the same summer. I received a number of personal epiphanies about our children's value and missions. I realized more about my own weaknesses and my tendency to not follow through to the end. I was intrigued with the 4th Turning model. We have since discussed this book in a colloquium.

I often think about my family and our future generations. How will my actions influence my children to improve upon the concepts we are seeking to teach and exemplify? Will the values of classics, georgic, providence, freedom, liber, and public virtue be flourishing in two or three generations? What can I do to help? I know the answer is to create and develop the qualities of statesmanship within myself.

Attending George Wythe is another branch of my life long learning. I hope to develop friendships, meet future mentors, and receive positive influence in my quest as mother, wife, leader, friend and stateswomen.


A City Mother

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

busy, Busy, BUSY...

Busy. That's our name. I'd like to wear busy out and go back to relaxed and enjoyable.
But that ain't happening until later this year.
Winter is our families calm season. I love to read to the children in the living room with the fire going. (I'd like a wood burning fire, but you take what's in the house)
There are less demands for our time when it's cold and snowing.

Our family dynamics are like the cycles of the seasons. Fall leads to more out door, fresh air activities, getting ready to semi hibernate when winter comes along. No gardening, and for the most part yard work. Spring brings life back to the family and out we go to view birth of the earth. Then Summer comes along and it's o.k. to start with, however it gets hot real fast and I realize I don't really want to be outside. Yet there is always an endless supply of home improvement work.

So what's really bothering me?
Lots of reading for our bi-monthly colloquium, stake picnic to organize and perform with 3 weeks notice!, more reading in preparation for a government class I'll start in September, Colonoscopy next week.
Now, that being said, we have gone camping, cleaned our two car garage and can get two vehicles in if we had two small ones to put in. The sprinklers are now working at mother's home. There seems to be some growth under the environmental blankets we had applied to our hill sides. I hope it's the wild flower seeds and not just weeds.
Oh brother! Here I am complaining. No! things are good. We are active and using our leisure time for education. Our kids are healthy. We should be selling bread soon with the kids.
The point is Nickie, your life is fine. Your just tired right now. No, I'm not going to sleep, I'm going to type my essay for the admissions process for George Wythe College.
Then glorious sleep.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Our garden is flourishing!

The concept of square foot gardening has been a good learning experience for me. I'd like to say the kids too, however it's really Beth who is taking great interest.
Which is fine.
I believe once everyone has something they can eat that each specifically wanted, interest will improve.
Beth ate her first strawberry this morning after weeding. She said it was "tasty".

I see now that the squash needs to be planted in the end box and with training I think I can get the vines to climb up the hill. The problem this year is that we were not home for 4 days when they all grew a great deal. next year I am going to try growing corn along the back of each garden box. I also just found a supplement on how to square foot garden in the winter. Would you believe it includes a garden electric blanket. This I really want to try for the hope of freah lettuce and herbs. Basil in January. I can smell it already.

Thank You, Founding Father's and Mother's...

For Those I Miss...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


When pigs fly; watch out.

Colonial Days Are Here Again...

Don't miss Colonial Days on Center street in Provo.
It runs through the 5th of July.
Today we listened to Abigail Adams, talk about the hardships of giving all that you have for freedom.
We listened to George Washington share his ideas about honor and courage.
He called my son up on stage to answer a myth.

Did George Washington cut down the cherry tree? Do you know the truth?

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Independence Day!

I decided to celebrate on the 3rd as it was on the 2nd of July when the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Virgina Resolution. They waited to announce it until the 4th of July waiting for a formal declaration to be prepared. It was John Hancock who signed on the 4th and his name alone stood until August 4th when an embossed copy was prepared.

So, there's your little bit of trivial for the week. I am listening to W. Cleon Skousen present a 12 hour presentation on the Miracle of America. It's simple to follow with the student study guide, yet quite interesting regarding our founding.

For instance, did you know that the federal and state legislatures, under Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 and Section 10, states that neither can grant nobility status. Good thinking after dealing with the whole European status code. Just a little something I learned today.

The Miracle of America is a great way to introduce yourself to the greatness of beauty of America.
Try it. You might like it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How Much Smell Is Too Much...

We went camping this week at Duck Creek above Cedar City.
It was fresh air and blue skies.
I did not take a shower for four days. I would have taken one but there wasn't a facility. That means no one took a bath. We sweated everyday. The ground is a powdery red dirt, so it's all over your body. The soot gets on your hands when you touch the cast iron dutch ovens. You sit and breath the dirt. All in all we had a lovely time.

There was a plethora of signing birds. And they started every morning at 4am. I would awake and lay there trying to pick out all the different calls. It was to much to sort, or recognize.

The cousins from California arrived Monday afternoon. The kids loved the dirt. They loved being together.

We did not see much wild life however. There were the ever present chipmunks, though they were quiet shy. One Horny Toad was caught and released. A number of humming birds zipped bye but much to fast to get a good look.

All the cousins climbed in and out of Mammoth Cave and thought it great to discover ice melting deep in the cave. Personally I did not want to go again as I got slightly paniced the first time. I cared for the baby instead.

Amazingly, I was able to read from the 5,000 Year Leap and listen to a one hour lesson for The Miracle of America each day.

My question for you is this: How long can you stand the smell of your spouse and children?