Saturday, December 27, 2008
Mat's nephew's Ross, Rogan, Tad and Peter have decided that I'm okay (after much persuasion and coaxing with treats and playdates). We've bonded through raisins, tickling and, as my family calls it, "The Holey-Doley Store" (kids game). They'll even come and sit on my lap at Mat's volleyball games!
While in Kentucky (I went to see my brother who is in residency and U of K) we took the kids to a Shaker community. Has anyone ever learned about Shaker's before? They have some....interesting...beliefs. The kids stay in one part of the house (hmm....i'm liking this idea...), the men in one room and the women in another (wait...not liking this anymore...) they don't use technology (no blowdryer? cellphone? laptop? not cool...) but here's the one that threw us all for a loop: they live a life of celebacy. hmmm... I wonder what God thinks about that one? I think they missed the "multiply and replenish the earth" part in the bible... but that kinda makes you wonder though. How does a community like that thrive?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
1) being introduced as "Amber" by my boss
2) BYU catering brownies with nuts
3) the sun
4) knowing I'll be home in 2 days!
5) not ever having to name another bird again!
6) Christmas shopping
7) bundling under a blanket
8) Not having to plan study groups for at least a month!
9) helping women with strollers get through big puddles
10) temple sealings with family
11) watching my boyfriend get teased because of me (i mean, really, did i need the rest of the list?)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Randy Bott doesn't sugarcoat the challenges his Brigham Young University students will face when they serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He tells it like it is during the missionary preparation courses he teaches, with a mixture of wit and wisdom, and they love him for it. They love him so much that Bott is the highest-rated professor in America in 2008 at RateMyProfessors.com.
"Everyone says before you leave BYU, you have to take a class from Brother Bott," said psychology major Cassandra Lawyer, a 22-year-old senior from San Diego...This year alone, 3,149 have taken Bott's classes. That's a full 10 percent of BYU's student body.
"It's ruined my life," Bott said with customary deadpan humor. "My colleagues ask me if they should bow or curtsey. I am by no stretch of the imagination the top professor in the United States."BYU ranked seventh on the Web site's list of highest-rated faculties, but Bott's place at the top isn't a surprise...Students consider him a mission coach and self-help guru. At the start of his mission prep class on Monday night, Bott asked which of a couple hundred students had received mission calls in the prior week. One woman stood to announce she will be going to Portugal in February. A man was called to go to Brazil in April. Bott also asked if anyone got engaged during the week. None had. "Huh," Bott said, shaking his head in sadness at a sorry group. "Anybody manage a date?"
Short, stout and 63, Bott wore a white, long-sleeved shirt and tie. A low-lying crown of white hair circled his head topped by a wisp of white on top. The packaging made him wonder at the RateMyProfessors.com rankings. "I'm a bland person," he said. "I'm not audio-visually friendly." The smile came after the joke.
To his students, Bott is like a cool older uncle or grandfather who makes you laugh, makes you feel good about yourself and sometimes tells a family secret when parents won't, but only to teach you and help you love the family more. He peppers his teaching with highly relevant stories drawn from those sources and his own mission to Samoa.
"Those lessons stick, said Ken Alford, who joined BYU's religion faculty this fall after nearly 30 years as an Army officer. "I have a son on a mission in Fiji who took a class from Brother Bott," he said. "He raved about him then, and he's raved about him even from the mission field."
Bott's ministry extends beyond the classroom. He spends four to six hours a day responding to e-mails from students and former students who ask him for help with life problems. The issues range from the silly — an Armenian woman was told by missionaries he could help her prepare a Relief Society lesson — to the heartbreaking, like handling the divorce of parents and moral trouble. "You get known for that type of stuff," Bott said. "Now I get e-mails from parents and friends of students, too."Getting an "A" from Bott is easy, according to the ratings on RateMyProfessors.com. Lawyer said tests are open-note, open-book. "It doesn't have to be a hard class to be a good class," she said. "Missionaries all over the world will tell you they are using things he taught them."