seventeen again.

1 04 2011

No post yesterday. Sad day. The internet at our apartment died…. But don’t worry, today we’re back!

I subbed a dance class last night for Kandice Smith (I love subbing). I usually get to know the kids while we’re stretching. I ask the standard getting to know you questions; Name? Fav. dance style? Grade in school? Other interests besides dance? Age?

Age is always been a fun one. I have never looked my age. In high school it sucked. But now I’m beginning to appreciate it.

The kids asked how old I was and I told them to guess. They whispered back and forth and decided 17!
17! Hahahaha! I’ll take it! I don’t look 17, but those little 8 year-old girls made my day! I spent the drive home thinking about being 17 year old me. I’ve seen lots of people write letters to their future selves.
Dear 30 year old me“.

Have you ever wondered what you would say to yourself if you could go back and talk to “young” you?

Here’s what I would say to 17 year old me…

(my friend Clara and I when I was in high school)


Hey – it’s me, 27 year old you. You’re stubborn and seem to only learn things the hard way. Pay attention and I’ll save you some troubles along the way. I’ve also got some things you need to do to make life easier on me/you.

You’re about to move (surprise! You’ll find out in a couple months). Embrace it. You will only get your Senior year of high school in Singapore but don’t waste your time moping for the first few months. (you’ll regret it, I promise) Go somewhere warm for interim semester. Soak in as much warmth as possible! ( I regret to inform you it looks like you end up living somewhere with lots of snow) You’re going to start breakdancing about now – please, please, practice POWER moves now. They get much harder to learn later and it’s really starting to hurt.

Don’t date Allison long distance when you go to BYU! You will love Allison a TON but for both of you it is just best that it ends when you leave. (she becomes a measuring stick for future girls, enjoy dating her)

Your mission is AWESOME! It will be the hardest yet MOST rewarding thing you will ever accomplish. (well, for a little while at least)

When you get home from your mission life changes completely. Luckily you still have Brandon and Paul. They’re good friends, keep them around. I really need you to do well in school. Applying for grad schools has been a real pain because we didn’t exactly care about grades. Just try to do A’s and B’s.

You’re going to want to start gambling. Don’t! It’s not worth it. (but if you do decide to play just one game, put EVERYTHING on BYU to make the sweet 16 in 2011 – we’ll be rich!) Just kidding, gambling is bad.

You get married to a beautiful, successful, talented woman who is your best friend. Please don’t party too hard – you’ll wish you hadn’t.

Grandpa is going to pass away during one of the most depressing and difficult times of your life. Talk with him now. Send cards to loved ones. Stay in touch with as many friends as you can. Relationships are a top priority. Family is important! (you might end up moving back home with them some day, but don’t worry, it’s for the best)

You’re gonna have good/bad/fun/sad/rewarding/trying times to face during the next ten years. The MOST important thing to remember is to keep the Gospel close to you. I am positive you will avoid a lot of heartache if you’ll just do this one thing. I know you don’t like some of the rules and they’re hard to obey. You have to try and be more obedient. It’s taken me 10 years to understand that blessings are truly predicated upon obedience.
“And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:21)

Good luck, you’ll be fine! Just smile and enjoy the ride….


? What would you tell yourself if you could offer advice to “young you”?

one step ahead.

20 03 2011

Today was my first day with the Teachers quorum.
The teaching assignment rotates through the quorum, but the kid that supposed to teach this week wasn’t there.

The advisor (not me, I’m the assistant) took over and just went through the manual.

Teachers (14-15 year old guys) are NOT the most mature. In fact they might be the most immature. Deacons are just excited to be out of primary and are soaking up the new experience. Priests are older and looking towards college and missions. Teachers are right in the middle and just act however they want.

But it would be a mistake to confuse immaturity with a lack of knowledge.

I watched a class today make a game out of predicting the next question to come from the manual – both correctly predicting questions and then providing answers. The youth (no matter what level of maturity) are intelligent. We talk about chosen generations and the youth being more valiant than ever. I believe it.

I have never been a big fan of giving lessons from the manual (not that there’s anything wrong with it). But each class is different. Each group of individuals might need to be presented the same material in VERY different ways. I think the manual obviously has great content, pure doctrine.
“I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying…” (2 Nephi 31:2)
However, that’s about all I use it for.
I like tailoring the questions/discussion to the needs of the group.

I think there was a time when asking the usual Sunday School questions and getting the usual Sunday School answers was good.
But I don’t think that’s what the youth need now.
I think they need the doctrine (provided by the manual) presented in a stimulating discussion. They need to know the “why” and the “how”. It’s not enough to just know that we need to pray.

I could use the following words to answer almost any question correctly:
Faith. Repentance. Baptism. Go to church. Repent. Jesus Christ. Atonement.

But without understanding WHY we do some of these things and how to truly make them active principles in my life, the answers are just regurgitated words.

I am SO excited to have the opportunity to work with these guys (SUPER overwhelmed as well). They seem light years ahead of me when I was a teacher (which really wasn’t that long ago – ok maybe it was).

Hopefully I can help contribute something positive to the quorum….

? What are your thoughts about the youth in the Church?

two cheers for the slacker.

21 02 2011

20-something “slackers” have changed (and are changing) the world.
Stop trying to rush them into growing up, getting a wife, starting a family and settling down.

This is the premise of one of the latest pieces published by The Wall Street Journal.

Oooooohhhh, good stuff.

The author uses some pretty powerful examples to make his case:
Mark Zuckerberg. Age 26. Created Facebook. (changed my life)
Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. Created YouTube. (changed my life)

Who needs marriage, family and adulthood?
I’m in the process of creating something better!
(This is the war cry of today’s 20-somethings).

Heck, it was my war cry – and that of my friends (still is for some). The belief is that we are figuring ourselves out. We want adventures, accomplishments and accolades without being “tied-down”.

“Do we really want more generations of 23-year-old men who drink themselves to sleep every night dreaming about what they might have done if they hadn’t gotten married and had kids right out of school? Do we want to repeat the mistakes of our fathers or learn from them?”
The assumption in this quote is that our fathers really messed things up by getting married at a younger age.

I don’t buy it.

I think a 23 year old can be married and still be creative.

I have come up with my own list of individuals who accomplished great things while married.

George Lucas. Created STAR WARS! Married.
George Washington. FOUNDED America! Married.
Michael Jordan. WON 6 NBA titles. (Didn’t win ANY till after he was married)

I think each of these accomplishments helped change the lives of generations of youth!

Looks like you don’t have to be a “shaggy, hangdog 27-year-oldr dressed in a baggy college sweatshirt and cargo shorts, taking empty pizza boxes and beer bottles to the dumpster” in order to accomplish greatness.

Oh, and one more pretty important guy….
” I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife…” (1 Nephi 16:7)
(although to be fair, the age at which he was married is a bit unclear)

? Do you need to put off marriage to be able to create great things?

decade of decision.

24 10 2010

At Stake Priesthood meeting tonight we were reminded of a talk given by Elder Hales entitled: “Preparing for the Decade of Decision“.

Elder Hales describes a series of incredibly important decisions that will be made.
All of these life-altering decisions will be made in a very busy, relatively short period during your 20s—during what I call the “Decade of Decision,” Hales said.

I started thinking about all of the decisions I’ve made during the past 10 years of my life.

Church. (It’s true- I just need to figure out the whole obedience thing)
College. (BYU – also decided 5 years would be more fun than 4)
Mission. (England, Birmingham 2003-2005)
Major. (Public Relations)
Career. (Blickenstaff’s Toy & Candy)
Marriage. (Leah my beautiful wife)

Yep, there they are – 6 HUGE decisions.
But now that they’re made what do I do?

I sat there in the meeting tonight wondering what comes after the “decade of decision”?

I feel like you are taught, groomed, trained and advised on how to make wise choices during your “decade of decision”
“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth…” (Alma 37:35)

BUT – everyone failed to mention what comes next.

“Decade of decision” sounds so exciting and life changing.

I’ve been brainstorming names for my current point in life:
“decade of revision” (a chance to fix any mistakes I made)
“decade of submission” (a time to submit to the consequences of the past decade)
“decade of “provision” (a time to become a provider)

Hhmm… yeah nothing stands out.

? What comes after the “decade of decision”?

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