Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Edumacation Week

Last week I went to some classes at BYU's Education Week, Women's Conference's older, dandruffy sister. I sat through a day of organization classes. You'd think it would be boring. In fact, looking over my "notes" some of it was boring. But that first day I went from 8:30am until 3pm. The time flew by. I stayed in the same classroom the whole time. I had a big drink hidden in my bag and internet access on my iPhone. No one bugged me. Bliss. There was a lot of talk about decluttering. I'm in favor of less clutter. I think it's interesting that we value "decluttering" so much now. It used to be a value to save things that you might need for later. I think this change in values is a result of national wealth in general, although poor people (see Hoarding: Buried Alive) also seem able to afford clutter.

I wrote down, "Clutter is nothing more than postponed  decisions." That makes sense. It's why I can't do menus--because I don't want to decide what to have for dinner. Because what if I don't feel like it?

The last speaker on Monday was Marie Ricks. I love her and I'm very intrigued by her. She is the reason I signed up for Education Week. She was very lively and entertaining. I've been dying to see her in person. She sounds like Olive Oyle. She talked about how the choice to keep is abundant in today's society and encouraged everyone to give away half of everything they own--even perfectly good stuff  in order to counter our tendencies and ability to buy and accumulate. I thought that was interesting. Since we accumulate faster than we can use up, giving away our stuff to DI or Salvation Army is a good way to clothe the naked and help the poor. She also talked about stuff or clutter in terms of talents that we might be hoarding instead of sharing, which I liked because I have no real talents. She has books and cleaning cards and all kinds of stuff that I love and think will change my life. She is also inspiring and creative. Her class was my favorite. I know this kind of thing isn't for everyone, but I have to say that it didn't feel good when I was poring over Marie's books and some bimbo walked by and said "I don't need to read a book about all this stuff. I just do it." People--they're the worst.

Tuesday I didn't go to any classes and it gave me a feeling of elation not unlike skipping class in college. I suggest doing this in order to maximize the positive effects of Education Week. Wednesday I only went to a couple of classes. One was a worthless class about once a month cooking. Here's the summary: You can get recipes online for once a month cooking and then you can do once a month cooking. The next step in this process is to decide a day on which to do your once a month cooking. The teacher was waylaid by a vocal minority interested in the minutia of, incredibly, bottled bread in a jar. Want to know more about bottled bread in a jar? Oh shut up.

I went to a pretty interesting class about how important it is for teenagers to learn how to be friends with the opposite sex. Good friendships between boys and girls aren't modeled in the media. Probably because audiences don't get interested until the main characters start falling in love. But in real life you will only (ideally) be in love with your spouse. Everyone else should really only be your friend. But people don't know how to do this. I've often thought this is a problem. Most adolescent angst comes from seeking out romance instead of being happy with and valuing friendship. Most adolescent making out comes from this too. So that's interesting to worry about.

Then I went to this old guy's fitness class for old people. I really enjoyed it. He taught me, "When in doubt, under do it," and threw a medicine ball at me. The other fitness class I went to was much more specific but essentially taught me not to loathe my body but also not to worship it. Thinking about your body and how fat or skinny it is or thinking about and talking about food all the time with everyone is just like worshiping it so that is actually bad for you in addition to being incredibly boring, which is also a bad thing (IMHO). That teacher was really great and inspiring but then I bought her book which turned out to be a self-published pamphlet with lots of typos and no clear thesis or progression of ideas. So now I don't now what to think or do. Or eat.

The last class I went to was Sheri Dew talking about leadership. She told a story about becoming the president of Deseret Book. She felt nervous and unqualified. She told President Hinckley she didn't know if she was smart enough to run the company and he said, "Just hire the brains!" I guess she's a great leader because apparently she took the job and didn't get hung up on the fact that President Hinckley thinks she's dumb. That's the spirit!

On Friday I only shopped. It was a great way to end the conference. I bought two scarves because I'm finally really going to be into scarves this year. I'm doing it! I also bought suckers for my kids who had to babysit themselves a lot during the conference. It really was fun and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, one of the things I learned was that I'd rather be bored than home. But mostly I wasn't bored. Mostly I had fun. And thanks to my friend's teenage sons for dropping us off and picking us up, I didn't have to walk very far. Perfection. You should consider going next year.


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this recap. You picked many of the same classes I would have picked and now I know what you know. Thanks for sharing.

    I also liked your editorial thoughts about the classes. Let me know if you need my help. I can probably figure out something for you to eat. (No promises on how healthy, but it will taste good.)

    Thanks for always making me smile and sometimes laugh audibly. (Sorry, I hate lol) I think you're very talented at that!

  2. I think what I want to attend next year is your blog post summing up education week.

  3. So when I read the first sentence I thought you said, "I went to some classes with my older, dandruffy sister." And I was totally offended because I thought you meant me and just didn't bother telling me that I had dandruff. I read through the sentence again and then it made more sense.

  4. I love it when you tell people to shut up and YES, people ARE the worst.

    The thought of going to either of these conferences makes me stabby. I don't like sitting and listening to people talk.

    (This makes church problematic. Also college.)

    (But it's o.k. because I already know everything.)

  5. I am not even slightly interested in bread in a jar, but I am interested to know what you would teach at Education Week because you could teach a lot of interesting classes. I want you to think about that. And then write about that.

  6. You do so have talents! =)

    I'm glad you got to go and I love your fun summary. I don't get to go very often (they don't like nursing infants), but when I do, I love Marie Rick's classes (Her cooking ideas are way better than that once-a-month class you went to).

  7. I "did' Education Week for several years in a row and loved it. I loved discovering Mary Ellen Edmunds. Then I started teaching school and never could work it in with my back to school duties each August. But just two weeks ago, a good friend said she was going after a several years hiatus. Maybe I will too. It would be worth it to hang around the bookstore with you, for starters!!

  8. I run into that bimbo all the time.

  9. Oh, she hired the brains all right! :)

  10. Imagine, while you were attending classes on de-cluttering your life, I was actually in the trenches, de-cluttering my life! And it sucked.

    I think I would have laughed at bread in a jar with you and I would have been interested in the adolescent opposite sex relationships discussion. Because some of my best friends in highs school were boys I didn't make out with, and I can still hang out with them and not feel weird, which is important.

    Can't wait to see an all-picture post of the scarves. Seriously.

  11. I think there are multiple bimbos that walk around saying that. Either that or she's everywhere.

    Bread in a jar? Yuck.

    Self publishing can be all kinds of wrong.

  12. I was in the lectures by Marie Ricks too! Bummer I didn't recognize you (amazing considering all of your overexposure :> ). I'd have liked to say 'hi'. Not that I would have, because that would have seemed dorky.

    Anyway, I was super impressed by her crazy mad organization skills, but I just kept thinking how glad I am that she's not my mother-in-law. Can you imagine?

    Next year you should think about attending some lectures by Douglas Brinley (marriage and family genius). I also really liked the lectures by C. Robert Line (justification and sanctification). Good stuff Vern!

  13. I liked the parts where you skipped out on class and yet still considered it a viable part of Edumaction Week. In other words, this is what I learned by not going. That's just too cool for words...

    It's one of those paradoxes of life that when you miss something, you feel like you gained something. There's a lot to be said for that. Highly psychological, like everything else. They say that 90% of life is just showing up, but I tend to think that a good portion of life is changing your mind and not showing up. I think you should cover this topic maybe sometime around February. If you need a booking agent, have your people talk to my people.

  14. Anonymous1:51 PM

    How does the bread get out of the jar? That's my question.

  15. I like the comment about clutter being postponed decision making. That makes complete sense. I love to organize and "declutter." I could do it anytime at anyones house. I think it is fun. It is a weird sort of therapy for me.

  16. i lurk but i laugh out loud every time i read. i'm not a commenter, but thought you should know. thanks!

  17. I. love. this. post.

    You just sound like someone I would like to be friends with. I love Marie Ricks, too. But probably wouldn't want her to be my mother-in-law.

  18. Menu planning is the devil! I can barely decide in the morning what I want to take for lunch, and I'm supposed to plan what I want to eat every night for the next week?! Of course, without a plan, I go to the grocery store and come home with Red Vines and Act II Butter Lovers (must be the Butter Lovers, not just Butter). I compromised with myself and settled on menu brainstorming. I list things I might want to eat in the next two weeks or so, buy the groceries, and then proceed to eat Taco Bell.


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